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Is WAC whacked-out already?

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For those who may not be familiar with WAC(Wholesale Application Community) tries to monetize Service provider networks by allowing application developers to work on a single application on any network using the web.

Are we trying to reinvent the wheel here?Probably not. What is so fundamentally different about it is that it harnesses the power of widgets. Widgets also called web apps, are client-side applications built using web standards — HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

There are two kinds of mobile applications — native applications and widgets. Widgets can be integrated into the features of a device or network, but this requires an additional layer of interoperability, typically through an API. Native applications are client-side applications that make full and direct use of all of a device’s features without any intervening layers. Native applications are commonly associated with smart-phones and are written in complex programming languages, like Java, C++, and Objective C.

Currently, mobile applications seem to be limited to smart-phone users. Until now, the rest of the rest of the mobile subscriber world have had to stand by and watch since their phones are not powerful or fast enough to handle mobile applications.Developers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the limited reach and growing cost of launching and maintaining mobile apps. Smart-phone apps typically are custom-built by smart-phone platform in advanced programming languages, limiting the available pool of developers and driving up costs.

The advantages of widgets then seems to be in tapping the huge number of web developers who far outnumber other types of developers.Additionally (and perhaps more significantly), they allow application developers to access a much larger addressable market of mobile devices and consumers beyond the smartphone sector.

If some analysts are to be believed then, mobile widgets will grow from 4% of all mobile applications downloaded in 2009 to 66% of mobile apps downloaded in 2015. Native application downloads will continue to grow until 2013, but then start to decline, due to several factors.

So is WAC going to lead us to the holy grail of one application on all devices? OR are we going to witness further fragmentation based on new device platforms? I suspect a combination of both. Any thoughts?

P.S. GSMA MWC (Feb 2011) will declare WAC as officially open for business.

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