The launch of Apple’s iPad has only broadened the debate that’s been raging along with the increasing number of smartphone users. Should web developers spend their time creating mobile versions of their websites, or should they focus on mobile web applications?
A large part of that debate is over the App Store’s “closed” application approval process versus the “open” state of desktop and mobile websites. With Apple’s model, applications are developed to Apple’s standards, and are distributed through its own channel, for its own products. With the open nature of the web, web content is available that is designed to be displayed with a standard web browser, be that browser on a desktop computer or mobile device.
John Arnold at Entrepreneur still leans towards the web model. “If you’re just beginning to create your mobile marketing footprint, most experts agree that it’s better to start with a mobile Web site. That’s because well-designed mobile sites can easily be turned into apps later. If you just have to reach iPhone users, find a programmer with a good reputation, multiple deployments and good ratings from users.”