I say this as someone who’s currently a pretty frequent user of the “native” iPad version of the Kindle app, downloaded directly onto my device. I’m certainly curious to see what sort of experience I get reading e-books in a browser instead.
More important, I think this could be a seminal event in raising non-geeks’ awareness of the potential for mobile browser apps as an alternative to ones downloaded from iTunes and the like. While the merits of “native” versus HTML5 as app platforms are a really hot topic of debate among developers these days, I’m not sure if the average Joe is even aware of the difference.
I think most non-geeks either don’t download mobile apps at all or they’re pretty frequent downloaders, prompted by big marketing pushes from Apple, Google’s Android team, and in some cases the cellular carriers. I don’t think the average Joe has thought much along the lines of, hey, could I skip downloads and still add a bunch of cool functionality to my phone by some other means? Basically, can I eat my cake and have it too?
A move by one of the most popular native mobile apps out there into HTML5 would definitely provoke a lot of that sort of discussion. If Amazon ultimately phases out its downloadable Kindle app altogether to support HTML5 as its only app platform, as a lot of tech pundits are now predicting, that would be even stronger, more visible proof of concept to the wider market.