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Does the rise of WebRTC apps mean the end of mobile and Web apps?

As more enterprises adopt WebRTC apps, will mobile and Web apps become a thing of the past? Expert Dave Michels explains.

With the emergence of WebRTC apps, will mobile and Web apps become obsolete? Are there drawbacks to exclusively using browser-based technology, such as WebRTC, rather than an application downloaded to a tablet or smartphone?

WebRTC is only part of the issue relating to Web-based applications versus clients. The debate over local applications versus browser-based interfaces has been raging for years. WebRTC apps enable real-time communication within the browser, so a local application such as one on a mobile device or desktop may no longer be required. However, there are benefits of using a local application over WebRTC.

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Browser-based applications are attractive because they don't require much customization for different operating systems, nor do they have to be distributed. However, WebRTC apps tend to only work well with a good Internet connection. Something as simple as a single keystroke may require a round trip over the network. Local applications offer a faster user interface and can be functional when offline.

Local applications such as email clients make a lot of sense. I often process my email on a flight, for example, and then sync when I land. Real-time communications may not have much utility without a network, so other functions of an application are also a factor.

Learn more about WebRTC apps:

  • When is the right time to deploy a WebRTC app? Learn why you don't have to wait for WebRTC to become a standard to deploy it in your enterprise.
  • What WebRTC apps will and won't do for your enterprise: Learn what processes and systems WebRTC can improve and what legacy systems it won't replace.
  • Enterprises are ready to adopt WebRTC: Learn why enterprises are deploying WebRTC and how it's already changing enterprise communication.


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We could look at this in the same way as if we were to say "will ChromeBooks mean the end of PC?". As long as the requirement is that the user be online at all times, the answer is "no". As to the idea of WebRTC vs mobile apps, I personally like the small footprint and immediate focus of the apps I use, several of which I like using when I'm on a flight or away from a WiFi or Cell signal.