The Browser Is Dead: Long Live the Browser!

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in internet on (#3M2)
story imageGeorgio Venturi over at the Ubuntu User Experience Blog posits that the browser as we currently know it can't go on in the smartphone age . OK, fair enough: a traditional browser on a smartphone isn't going to be a great experience.
With the unstoppable rise of mobile apps, some pundits within the tech industry have hastily demoted the mobile web to a second-class citizen, or even dismissed it as ‘dead’. Who cares about websites and webapps when you can deliver a superior user experience with a native app? Well, we care because the reality is a bit different. New apps are hard to discover; their content is locked, with no way to access it from the outside. People browse the web more than ever on their mobile phones. The browser is the most used app on the phone, both as starting point and a destination in the user journey.
Venturi goes on to describe innovations to the Ubuntu phone browser interface that make it more useful. Not exactly the only new browser out there though, so I don't get all the fuss. LinkBubble , Opera , Dolphin , and others all make alternative browsers that try to improve the user experience on a phone. Why all the hubbub?

A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 2, Insightful)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2014-05-18 07:59 (#1PZ)

There will always be a need to have a basic method for accessing information.

Web browsers can degrade nicely. Standard HTML can be displayed and purposed by modern computers. A mobile device with a 7" screen is capable of showing web pages just as well as a laptop. The main difference is in the UI.

We still have a range of protocols and tools which could be described as being redundant or well past their use by date, yet we still use them. FTP, telnet, http (as opposed to https or spdy), vi/notepad, text passwords all have place. Nothing is going to be thrown away just because the new shiny way of doing things has come out. Some countries still use older technology like cassette tapes.

So, the answer is no. Web browsers are not dead on mobile phones. If recent improvements like HTML5 with native video support are any sort of indication then they definitely will not be going away soon.
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