HTML5 will revolutionise mobile computing

Research analyst McKinsey is predicting a mobile computing revolution thanks to HTML5. The company is warning executives to take note because of the knock on effect in the way that consumers buy goods or services.

“The next generation of the Internet standard essentially will allow programs to run through a Web browser rather than a specific operating system. That means consumers will be able to access the same programs and cloud-based content from any device—personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet—because the browser is the common platform.

“This ability to work seamlessly anytime, anywhere, on any device could change consumer behaviour and shift the balance of power in the mobile-telecommunications, media, and technology industries.” says McKinsey.

The company reports that the adoption of HTML5 will have ramifications for both consumers and industry.

Consumers

“Consider a simple task many consumers currently use mobile devices for: reading news headlines. Today, that requires accessing a specific Web site—often a sluggish exercise in frustration—or separately installing an application on every device used and, for those that charge a fee, paying each time.

“With Web-centricity, a single application can theoretically be accessed from any device through a browser—pay once and you’re done. And because all content is stored in the cloud, billing information and preferences can be seamlessly shared and accessed, and all devices remain in sync.

“A consumer can start reading an article on a tablet and then switch to a laptop, picking up where she left off. In a more advanced example, she could start an instant-messaging or video-chat conversation on her desktop computer and continue it on her smartphone.

“The bottom line for consumers: Web-centricity represents a major step toward genuinely “smart” devices that offer the same simple, relevant, and personalized experience everywhere.”

Industry

“These changes to consumer behaviour may affect the economics of industries ranging from telecommunications and media to technology and even advertising. As Web stores selling applications that can be used across devices proliferate, for example, cutthroat competition may leave ad agencies reminiscing wistfully about the days when they could claim up to 40 percent of every dollar of mobile-advertising revenue.

“Consider, briefly, the implications for the following players in a world where content is everywhere and the relative importance of operating systems and Web browsers for creating and distributing programs and applications is shifting.”

The full report can be read here.

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.