Note from Ben: I added the exclamation point, because after reading this post I really felt that the exclamation point was need to denote the ridiculousness that ensues in the post.

Charlie Kindel writes for GeekWire, in what I assume is a guest opinion post, that mobile apps “must be cross platform”. Hmm, really? Let’s take a look at his argument, shall we?

Wait no, first I should mention who Charlie Kindel is, from his bio on GeekWire:

Charlie was previously the GM for the Windows Phone 7 app platform at Microsoft. During his 21 year tenure at Microsoft, Charlie built a broad range of products and technologies ranging from Internet Explorer to Windows Media Center, Windows Home Server, and Windows Phone 7.

That’s his past, not his present, but it’s all you really need to know before writing this post. He knows mobile, yes, but he knows mobile as it exists in the Microsoft sphere — the sphere that held the iPhone funeral a while back.

Ok, on with his post:

Maybe there are a few Robert Scobles out there who still believe that a significant number of successful apps in the future will be unique to any one client platform.

Count me among the few, how often do you see apps launch, at least initially, only on the iPhone? A: A lot. How many do you see that for Android? A: Not many. Windows Phone? A: ha.

So Kindel is swinging at balls right out of the gate, then he follows up with:

Connected experiences across all devices is where the growth is and it would be insane for anyone, from a major brand to an early-stage startup to believe they don’t have to build for at least iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets, and Windows 8 tablets.

I agree that ‘connected experiences’, if I understand that term correctly, is important, but what herb are you smoking to believe that Windows 8 tablets — they that have yet to ship — are on par with the iPad in importance? I am ok with including Android, but including an as-of-yet released tablet is just stupid.

Kindel goes on to talk about three options for coding for multiple platforms, and gets to HTML5, where he states:

However, HTML5 is not in Apple’s best interest and they are obviously dragging their feet with compatibility and performance. Why? Because websites that run as apps break Apple’s strangle-hold on their walled garden.

Now that link takes you to an Ars Technica post from a year ago about the problem. I agree that Apple may be dragging their feet on this issue, but to say that such implementation would “break Apple’s strangle-hold on their walled garden” is utter crap. Let’s not forget that Apple initially tried to sell developers on making web apps instead of native apps, and had to reverse course on it because no one wanted them.

If anything Apple is dragging their feet on this because it simply doesn’t matter to Apple’s customers.

What’s funny is that later on Kindel mentions how poorly Android is fairing in HTML5 support, yet doesn’t lambast them for “dragging their feet” — must be because Android is open.

Kindel’s purpose with this post is to show that the best way forward is what he calls “Mixed Model Mobile Apps”. Built with tools like Mono — using RDIO as the prime poster child. Indeed RDIO is a nice app, but I counter with Instapaper — built specifically for iOS and Android, native on both platforms. Those too are nice apps.

Kidnel’s main problem is that he passes off “Mixed Model Mobile Apps” as the best way forward, when it is simply the second best way forward. The actual best way forward is to create native apps for each platform, and despite what Kindel says, it just may be the case that not every app should run on every device.


Posted by Ben Brooks