It’s hard to remember a time without your smartphone. They have become such an integral part of our lives that we find it hard to separate ourselves from them for more than a few hours at a time. Part of the charm of the smartphone is the mobile app. Mobile apps took the world by storm in the late 2000s with the introduction of the iPhone. They provided a simple and easy way to interact with businesses, products, services and entertainment in ways that were never possible before.
The app stores for the two dominant mobile operating systems (iOS and Android) are chock full of applications (approximately 4 million combined apps). These apps allow us to post to social media, message our friends and family members, check our bank accounts, purchase goods and products, watch tv and movies and everything else in between. Apps are our lives.
So, with society relying so heavily on these apps, how can they possibly dying?
Well, according to an article from VentureBeat, Google has made an interesting update to the Android operating system; this update allows users to create shortcuts to their favorite websites and save them on their home screens using the Chrome browser app; the websites will, in essence, look almost indistinguishable from their native app counterparts. For example, the Facebook mobile website will look incredibly similar to the Facebook app that users can download from the Google Play store.
This isn’t necessarily a new feature. iOS and Android have been able to save shortcuts to home screens for quite some time, but now, Google is focusing on making the transition as seamless as possible. The reason these shortcuts never took off is because native apps are designed specifically to take advantage of the features of a smartphone, whereas, the mobile websites are designed to run like desktop sites on a smaller scale. If these mobile sites can be designed and optimized for smartphones, then we could see the end of the need for a mobile app, at least for certain services.
Now, with Apple and Google integrating certain services (such as Apple Pay and Android Pay) into their mobile browsers, app developers can utilize these services and blur the lines between the mobile website and mobile app.