An interesting discussion has popped up on Branch that caught our eye, started by its own co-founder, Josh Miller. Josh starts the thread by proclaiming boldly that "mobile isn't the future," spurred by this post by venture capitalist Fred Wilson. Here's how Josh puts it:
It's awesome that I can now check Twitter or browse Instagram when I'm on-the-go, but that doesn't mean I want to use mobile apps when I don't have to.
We sorta agree with Josh there. After all, the responsive web will outlast native apps. There are limits to mobile native apps, which Josh seems to be acknowledging. He laments the time when he left his computer at work and only had his iPhone to do things, which took much, much longer than had he had his computer. He also doesn't see mobile apps replacing wholly web-based applications. He doesn't want to do critical thinking on his iPhone.
Don't get Josh wrong, even he states that his proclamation might be a little naive and he's not dismissing the value of mobile devices. Josh isn't saying that we should go back to a desktop future. But he does bring up an interesting point, there will still be a few things that are best done on a desktop. For now.
Think about it, mobile web traffic is overtaking desktop traffic. On this very subject, Josh Elman, formally from Twitter and Facebook, brings up a good point in the thread:
What is important is that computing now happens at many times beyond just when you are sitting at a desk. Tablets bring computing into the living room in a meaningful way, and phones bring it everywhere.
We want to be able to access anything everywhere and anywhere at anytime. Mobile allows us to do that. And there will be a day when our tablets and phones are no longer just devices for consumption. That day is happening now and is upon us. Which is why responsive web design is important, especially for those web-based applications that Josh mentions.
The last comment in the thread is that we have to think more about how we can better do critical thinking away from the desktop, especially as tablets and phones outpace laptops and desktops in usage. That makes a great deal of sense. But we'd take it one step further.
Here's how we'd put it: we have to figure out better ways of building better products that can be used across all devices. Because the fact is that we can no longer go back to a desktop future. Mobile is the future, and it's already here.