Longtime Internet pioneer, AOL (s aol) today matured its mobile platform with two new applications for Android handsets and an HTML5 version of the AOL Mobile website for smartphones. The new site — still found at http://m.aol.com — now supports richer content and media on handset browsers supporting HTML5. While it’s not surprising that AOL is looking to support advanced devices such as smartphones, the selection of Android (s goog) over iPhone (s aapl) for the new software title is notable.
I spoke yesterday by phone with David Temkin, the new VP of Mobile for AOL, and asked why the company chose Android over the iPhone. “Momentum is the key reason,” Temkin said, and I have to agree with him. Even with a record quarter of iOS4 devices, Google is on pace to have more Android activations than Apple will have iPhone activations this year. Temkin was quick to point out that several AOL apps are already available for iOS4 devices and that the new AOL portal app should follow in the future.
While the new AOL portal app is Android-only for now, the new AOL Daily Finance app for Google phones joins a version for iPhone and BlackBerry (s rimm) devices. With it, you can manage a stock portfolio or catch the latest news in the financial world. AOL’s new portal app provides access to similar features and data found on the mobile site, but as Temkin told me, “Apps can offer a better package and experience for end users.” I said the same earlier this year: Until HTML5 and other web standards improve, a custom application often trumps a website. I still personally prefer the polish of a well-written, dedicated app, but if you disagree, AOL has you covered with either a site or an app — those of you with an Android device, that is.
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