Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Chinese Competitor for Android Doubles Down on Web Apps

Developers are about to have a billion new reasons to deploy apps on the web rather than natively to any one platform

Alibaba, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms, is launching its own mobile operating system. Details on the OS are sketchy, but one in particular leaps out: early reports are that it will rely on cloud-based web apps rather than native ones.

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma at a company event

Alibaba has no history in the hardware or OS business, but it does have a history in the one area that seems to count: payment platforms. Frictionless purchasing and the possession of 200 million credit card numbers via iTunes has proved to be the secret sauce that drove developers to create apps for the iPhone, and if Alibaba can come out of the gate with its own easy, built-in payment system, it just might have a chance at attracting application developers.

Just as Facebook appears to be entering the web app fray, backed by its own mobile payments system, Alibaba’s other advantage is that by betting on web apps, its phone can tap an ecosystem that grows larger every time a vendor piles onto it: the web.

The ranks of companies trying to make web apps work also include Google’s Chromebook and web app store. As developers colonize the web with for-pay apps everyone in this space has a powerful incentive to use standards-compliant browsers that can run web apps without modification.

What’s happening, in essence, is that Android and iOS are gaining an entirely new competitor, one whose growth cannot be limited by hardware availability, patent trolls or licensing arrangements: the whole of the web.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.