Google releases tool to let devs bring Chrome apps to iOS & Android

Google-Apache Cordova-Chrome

After letting us know last month that it was getting ready to release a toolkit to let developers easily bring their Chrome web apps to iOS and Android, today Google released a developer preview of the tool. In its blog post, Google explains the tool is based on open-source framework Apache Cordova, which allows devs to build native apps for iOS and Android using CSS, HTML, and Javascript. It’s also making a lot of its own core Chrome APIs available to developers through the preview. It essentially means devs will be able to bring their Chrome web apps to the App Store and Google Play, but it will also let them build new cross platform apps in CSS, HTML, and Javascript. Google explained how it works: Read more

Apple announces iWork for iCloud, new apps for Mac and iOS coming later this year

Confirming our earlier suspicions, Apple today showed off some new features for its iWork suite of apps, which includes both Mac and iOS versions of the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps. While Apple confirmed that new versions of the apps for Mac and iOS would be coming later in the year, it spent its presentation today showing off brand new web versions of the apps designed to run right in the browser through iCloud.com. The new web apps, available initially only to developers starting today, will be dubbed ‘iWork for iCloud’ and bring web apps to iCloud that will compete directly with Google Docs and Google’s other suite of web apps.

Apple execs spent much of the time on stage showing off the new Pages for iCloud app, demoing how users can drag and drop Microsoft Word files and other documents directly into the iCloud.com UI in their browser to begin editing a document. Apple also briefly demoed presentations and spreadsheets running in web versions of the Numbers and Keynote apps.

During the demo of the new iWork for iCloud apps, Apple also made a point of noting that the new apps run in any browser by showing off the apps running on Windows 8.

The new apps are available as developer beta starting today. A public beta of the new iWork for iCloud apps will be arriving later this year. Apple didn’t mention any details regarding pricing, or whether or not the web apps will be a separate purchase from the apps currently available on Mac and iOS.

Amazon launches iPad Kindle Store on the web, feels like a native app

Amazon today launched touch-optimized Kindle Store for iPad as a standalone web app accessed through the iOS Safari browser. You may remember that the online retail giant released Kindle Cloud Reader in August —also a web app that works great on Apple’s tablet, but this is an entirely different experience. Available on the iPad at www.amazon.com/iPadKindleStore, the web interface totally feels like a native app. It is smooth, natural and supports familiar touch gestures, like swiping left and right to brows the store’s virtual shelves. The design calls for big cover images, large buttons and elegant typeface that’s easy on the eyes, unlike some other HTML5 web apps that feel cluttered on a 9.7-inch screen and cause eye strain…

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Mozilla wants web apps to compete with native iOS apps

Apple and Google are clearly the two front-runners competing for market share in the mobile world, which is why it’s no surprise we think of iOS and Android when we think of apps. With the growth of the smartphone industry also came the resurgence of native apps (thanks largely in part to Apple’s App Store which still dominates the space). However, Mozilla hopes that web apps will soon mature to provide a comparable experience for end users and an even better alternative for developers.

“We are aiming at providing all the necessary APIs to build a basic HTML5 phone experience within the next 3-6 months”

While Chrome OS has shown promise, it isn’t the only browser-based platform planning on entering the web app space… If Mozilla has its way, developers can use the results of their new WebAPI project to build an “HTML5 phone experience” that’s compatible across all operating systems (whether it’s Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc).

report from CNET claims Mozilla has plans for the APIs to “interact with a phone’s dialler, address book, contacts list, and camera”, essentially giving you access to the same functionality of native apps but directly in your device’s browser.

The WebAPI project certainly isn’t trying to create a full-blown operating system. However, working hand in hand with Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko project, which aims to build a “complete, standalone operating system for the web”, it could create a potentially compelling alternative to Google’s browser-based Chrome OS.

It appears that Mozilla is serious about the project, as a report from CNET claims they’re in the process of hiring full time programmers and plan to have the basics in place by February…
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