Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Death of Offline Web Apps

I love my Google Reader (especially the VI hotkey navigation). I really love the fact that I can take my RSS feeds offline with me when I'm about to jump on a plane. However, what happens when the concept of being disconnected from the Internet disappears?

I tend to be a ridiculously early adopter of technology and therefore end up with hopelessly outdated technology that costs 5x more than it should. I have always thought that connectivity should be independent of wires & location. From OmniSky (for my Palm Pilot in 1999) to Intel Anypoint (1.5 mbps baby) to digital phone cards (PocketPC) to EvDO cards... there's almost never a reason not to have an IP address except on an airplane, a submarine, in a faraday cage, or in deep space. Since I'm unlikely to encounter three of those situations it's really about the ability to access the net at altitudes of 30,000ft.

I just read today that Delta has announced it is going to provide WiFi on all domestic flights. And it seems JetBlue has been offering limited access since 2007.

As competition forces the cost of mobile connectivity to decline, offline may be a stop-gap solution that eventually becomes a solution in search of a problem. Now this doesn't mean that some of the advancements that have been associated with offline will also disappear (local data storage, desktop integration, etc.). However, the idea that my user interface needs to be stored locally will soon seem quaint.

note: cross-posted at my work blog

No comments: