Web apps have become increasingly powerful and capable as web standards have evolved, giving greater access to native features of the device they are running on. Web apps can now take advantage of your location information via Geolocation APIs, graphics hardware via WebGL, multiple threads via WebWorker, notifications via Web Notificaitons API and a lot more.
A lot of mobile applications that might have needed one to write native code and go through the devices application store approval process to make it to the customers can now directly be published as a web app. However there is a still a lot more that native applications have access to using a native SDK such as the Android SDK or the iOS SDK. For those people there are tools such as PhoneGap that extend the reach of web applications by giving them access to more device features, such as contacts, files, the accelerometer, etc. Mozilla is in fact working on getting such APIs standardized, so that it is possible to have a mobile device that is built completely on open standards.
Essam Abadir , CTO, Chairman and Founder of appMobi had the following to say on the matter: "With MobiUs on the scene, the 'walled garden' is now a public space. There are many good reasons why app publishers might still want to use the walled garden app stores, but for the first time, MobiUs gives them a real choice between distributing by app store or the open Web. The appMobi platform and MobiUs allow any HTML5 developer to create and market mobile apps on the open Web that are indistinguishable from native apps in performance and functionality. MobiUs truly empowers Web apps and opens up the entire World Wide Web as the new app store."
appMobi 's MobiUS web browser integrates the PhoneGap API among other things such as:
- Mobile-optimized Web app caching for instant access to Web apps even when the device isn't connected
- DirectCanvas for supercharged game speed and performance
- Web-based Push notifications for user engagement
- Built-in eCommerce capability through appMobi's 1Touch digital wallet technology
- Mobile-optimized tabbed browsing
- Full screen browsing
- Orientation locking
- In-app access to device hardware functionalities such as the accelerometer, GPS, compass, vibration, microphone, camera and more
With their browser one can simply run web applications that can access native features thus giving web applications an edge. You might wonder that this could have security and privacy consequences, considering that PhoneGap gives you access to private information on the device, however the browser will ask the user to explicitly give permissions to any app they use. Of course the user needs to make the judgment as to whether the application is trustworthy or not.
MoiUS is already available on the iPhone App Store, and can be downloaded from here. Android users have a while to wait when the app launches in January 2012.