06 Mar We're "Jaman": Purpose-driven browsers drive next wave of Web applications
In the weeks since DEMO 2007, I’ve had the chance to play a bit more with the independent and world cinema site, Jaman.com. Launched at the conference, Jaman.com offers a growing library of films to “rent” at no cost or buy at prices that average about $6 per film.
While you can browse the Web site directly, the core of the Jaman.com experience is the downloadable player, a desktop application that’s part media player, part purpose-built browser. The player manages downloads and digital rights, presents films in high definition full screen, and assures a great user experience.
While the start up could have used several commercially available media players and concentrated on amassing a great film library, the founders of Jaman.com recognized that the player was an essential element of the customer experience and chose wisely to create a dynamic player that bridges desktop viewing with the online components of the service: browsing the library, downloading films, and even reviewing films.
While the player is positioned as the desktop component of the Jaman.com service, at the core it’s a Web browser. This is also a harbinger of the next wave of applications: purpose-specific browsers that tap the power of a desktop central processing unit to provide a high-performance user experience. This may sound like Back to the Future. After all, hybrid applications sound a bit like the client/server architecture of the 1990s.
But the generation of purpose-built browsers will balance the load more evenly and seamlessly between desktop processing and displaying Web-based information gathering and storage. Certainly, this model is at the heart of Adobe’s Apollo platform, which also previewed at DEMO 2007. I’m also beginning to see it in several media applications and information discovery tools.
Not every Web experience is ripe for hybrid architecture. Pure information access applications – such as news and data services – have little need for a rich client. Immersive, interactive, rich social applications, however, are prime candidates for this design approach.
The biggest hurdle for these new applications may not be the design, but a mindset that has settled on general-purpose browsers in which data, processing, and communications all sit on the server. The idea of propagating an access device with a library of purpose-built browsers runs contrary to that thinking.
Yet that is exactly the mindset that will limit the creativity and capability of rich Internet applications.
So, with apologies to Bob Marley, we’re Jaman to this new style that blends browser and application. It’s the way rich experiences get even richer.
Recent articles by Chris Shipley
• Chris Shipley: High tech in the U.K. Do the Brits forgo Web 2.0?
• Chris Shipley: Age of empowered individuals: People power behind robust computing
• More enterprise software predictions for 2007
• Chris Shipley: Reader predictions would make 2007 quite a year
• Chris Shipley: Bold prediction: Web 2.0 goes away in 2007
Shipley has covered the personal technology business since 1984, and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. She has worked as a writer and editor for a variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine, and Working Woman.
She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, she has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the No. 1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.
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