General Question

qualitycontrol's avatar

Will phones like iPhone, G1 and Blackberry that have apps lead to the end of traditional browsers?

Asked by qualitycontrol (2570points) April 2nd, 2009

More and more phones are gaining the ability to do what used to only be possible on a pc in a web browser. The emergence of apps has made opening a browser, typing in the url and looking for the link as simple as clicking a button (or screen). I find that I can get what I need done on the internet just as easy or better without even having to use my computer. Do you think this make web browsers obsolete? Will further advances in mobile technology lead to people not needing a traditional browser? If so, how can the browsers we see now be improved or optimized? We’ve seen things like google chrome and firefox emerge as the leading browsers. Where will they go from here?

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7 Answers

willbrawn's avatar

I can see that happening, I mostly browse on my iPhone cause its always with me. But I do need my notebook when its a flash site im trying to look at. And with AT&T launching their 4G network in a year or so mobile browsing will get faster. Which is much needed.

Side note, there will always be computers atleast notebooks. No way in hell Im editing photos on a phone lol.

jrpowell's avatar

The slow browsing isn’t really the network. The CPU in your phone is similar to what you would find in a ten year old computer. I’m on wifi and Mobile Safari is still so much slower than my iMac on the same network.

The network isn’t the problem. The speed at which the hardware can render the page is.

willbrawn's avatar

@johnpowell im sure in the future apple will have a faster CPU in the iPhone.

dynamicduo's avatar

I think, in the not-too distant future, humans will interact with computers in a radically different way such that many things including a traditional web browser will no longer exist in their current forms. The introduction of such devices as iPhone and Blackberry et al only serve to highlight how powerful and valuable having the Internet around us all the time makes us. I’ve already seen some interesting demos regarding a “wearable” Internet, and I’d say within the next decade we will start to see such devices more commonly used.

Sadly, you are very wrong about Chrome becoming a leading browser in any way. Most people downloaded Chrome, played with it for a week, and abandoned it. It’s now starting to gain some more browser market share and is currently hovering around 4% as indicated by W3 Schools, but their data is not representative of the market, as more technologically-inclined folk are the ones to access their site and thus the percentages for alternative OSes is much higher in their data than it really is in the market. Even Firefox took years to get where it is.

qualitycontrol's avatar

@dynamicduo It may not be a leading browser but it is new and different. I still use it now everyday on my work computer because it’s faster than Firefox. I also like the simplicity of it. If you look at apps they are very simple and easy to use. The more content a website has the longer it takes to find what you are looking for. I think google chrome is more in line of what the future will bring for web browsing but at the very basic stage.

willbrawn's avatar

I want contacts to serve as my browser

StellarAirman's avatar

I think it’s a combination of network speed and the CPU that contributes to slow browsing on mobile phones. Have you ever used a laptop tethered to a 3G cell phone? Yeah, not so fast.

I don’t think traditional browsers or computers will be obsolete for many years. I don’t believe the way we interact with computers will change that much either, at least not for a very long time. This isn’t for technical reasons, but human reasons. Many people have a hard enough time dealing with computers as they are now and most people don’t adapt to change well. There is still going to be screens, text on screens, graphics, keyboard, mice, etc for quite a while in my opinion. Sure touch screens were supposed to change how we used computers but tablet PCs never really caught on in a mass-market way. The iPhone and other touch screen phone/computers is the closest to that reality, but I still don’t really think that’s a major shift from clicking a mouse instead of touching a screen. Touch screen desktops are a horrible idea in every incarnation I’ve seen so far. I don’t want to wave my arms around out in front of me for 8 hours a day and have smudges all over my screen.

If anything people are starting to be satisfied with the speed of computers and their abilities now. Take netbooks for example. People are buying them like hot cakes because of their low price, despite the small size and very low performance or whizbang features. There is of course a subset of people like gamers that are always looking for the next performance boost, but for many people the computer is now as fast as it needs to be for them to accomplish all the tasks they need to do. That’s not to say I don’t think computers will always continue to improve in speed, they will. But right now I don’t think it’s as important for most people’s needs. Virtual reality and embedded computers and all that type of stuff are a long ways off for practical usage. Even talking to your computer rather than typing is still far from perfect and I for one would rather type than talk to my computer, especially in public places. If anything I think the desktop computer will start to serve as more of a server, as more and more devices are networkable and able to connect to the internet such as game consoles, portable devices, media centers, home control systems, etc. Traditional computers and desktop browsers are going to be around for quite a while. But what do I know, I’m just a guy on the internet. :)

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