In the Lord of the Rings .. Saruman the white wizard said to Gandalf the Gray .. The hour is later than you think ..
I was using the same quote in discussions with a Mobile Operator at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – specifically in the context of the launch of Google Gears on the mobile phone.
But despite my optimism, even I did not anticipate writing this blog so soon ..
This is a very significant development which I have been tracking and anticipating for some time now – and I believe that it is disruptive to the existing players – who have been dragging their heels in the task of giving access to device APIs.
The time for delayed access to browser APIs is fast running out with this announcement.
In a wider sense, the announcement is more than ‘offline’ and it is more than Windows mobile.
Look at the Gears wiki in Google code ..
Besides offline browsing – which is clearly needed – reading between the lines – the Gears API can do a LOT more .. for instance Location API, secure file system access APIs as per the Wiki
Let’s see what else needs to happen next ..
There are no standards for browser extension. HTML 5 is the only body looking at them as far as I know.
If Google launches a product taking gears to mobile phones as browser extensions, then the whole space gets a boost(both Google and Opera are heavily involved with HTML5 initiative) .
All we now need is one or two major browser vendors like Opera etc to take up the standards.
And we have access to device APIs through the browser
I expect that Google and others may have their own certification, security models – hopefully they will have a pragmatic balance between access to APIs and security
To conclude .. as Gandalf would say .. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
And this will be the question in the minds of every developers .. How do we best utilize the time and resources that we have? Will we see finally a more uniform API across browser vendors enough to get critical mass?
In a nutshell .. Should they go with Google and co for a whole new class of mobile applications?
Certainly .. interesting times ..