Google: mobile browsers are dead

Google claims that every phone manufacturer will offer full web browsers within a year, hailing the end of mobile-specific browsers.

Google: mobile browsers are dead

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Speaking at the company’s London headquarters, Google’s mobile engineering director Ann Mei Chang said that the full web browser on the Apple iPhone had transformed the industry. “The iPhone is paving the way but the whole industry is moving to full browsers,” she claimed. “Within a year, you’ll see all manufacturers have full browsing, at least on the high-end phones. This is a turning point for the industry.”

Google produced an illuminating graph that showed the usage of the Google search engine on various mobile operating systems. The iPhone was by far and away the most used mobile device on Google search, even though its userbase of around four million pales in comparison to the 11m BlackBerry owners or 14m Windows Mobile devices.

Google is of course preparing to launch its own mobile operating system, Android, which will ship with a browser based on the open-source WebKit platform, which is the basis of Apple’s Safari among others.

The company claims that the widespread move to full web browsers will ease the creation of sophisticated web apps. “The majority of development going forward is on web-based apps for mobile,” said Chang. “The Google experience on the iPhone was built by one engineer in a couple of months. We can [now] write apps once and run it anywhere. Apps for the iPhone can run on Android – we don’t really have to change it.”

And Chang claims that a mobile version of Google Gears – the Google software that allows web applications to be used offline – will help the company build even more sophisticated web apps. “Mobile Gears will enable you to have offline access to data and cache data to give you faster access to your information,” she said.

Click here to read about an embarrassing Google slip-up at this briefing on the NEW PC Pro blog

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