For what seems to be an eternity, we have been promised seamless connectivity, high-speed connections that appear auto-magically out of thin air, giving us access to the wonders of the web — and of course, our data, including the unending stream of emails. Today, we have 3G networks, Wi-Fi in coffee shops and our homes, connections in office, trains and in some cases, even in planes. You would think that we are almost always connected.
And yet we have a growing number of companies — many of them with vested interest in the desktop PC paradigm — that are convinced we need to have a hybrid strategy when it comes to applications.
Adobe Systems (ADBE) is about to officially announce its desktop-webtop hybrid technology AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) and related products for making rich Internet applications. Others have similar ambitions. Mozilla with its Prism initiative, Google’s Gears, Sun Microsystems’ JavaFX and Microsoft are trying to come up with ways in which our data lives in the cloud but is available on the desktop, aka locally.
I, for one, have been in this hybrid camp because it is hard to predict when we will have ubiquitous broadband. I first wrote about this trend back in March 2007 for Business 2.0 and pointed out that “the ability to work offline is crucial to overcoming consumer resistance to Web-based applications. The new offline mode will doubtless help with the adoption of many Web-based applications that are debuting right now.”
In December 2007, Anne Zelenka reminded us that despite all the hoopla, the initial attempts at hybrid apps didn’t prove to be all that compelling. Many of our readers felt that the hybrid applications need to present a new kind of value proposition that goes beyond offline access to all the familiar web apps.
Hopefully we will see some of them soon enough.