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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Imagine a World Without Apps

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A smartphone releases its apps.

Are apps necessary?

Credit: Sean Dong

Allow me to ask a wild question: What if we played games, shopped, watched Netflix and read news on our smartphones — without using apps?

Our smartphones, like our computers, would instead mostly be gateways to go online through a web browser.

Why bother changing, you ask? Because the downsides of our app system — principally the control that Apple and Google, the dominant app store owners in much of the world, exert over our digital lives — are onerous enough to contemplate another path.

There remain technical obstacles to using smartphone websites for everything. We're also used to apps. But in recent months, Microsoft's Xbox video gaming console, the popular game Fortnite and other game companies have moved ahead with technology that makes it possible to play video games on smartphone web browsers.


From The New York Times

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