2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

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freakazoid
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2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#1 Post by freakazoid » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:39 am

Interesting article on how desktop apps are becoming increasingly irrelevent:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jwherrman/2012- ... p-app-died

Nowadays, it's more about what iOS / Android apps are you using and less about the apps we know and love on desktops.

What do you guys think?
is it stealth? ;)

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SYSTEM
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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#2 Post by SYSTEM » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:40 am

I've already thought about this myself.

First of all, developers are unbelievably naïve.
2012 has been a rough year for desktop clients. The promise of mobile, a brand-new multibillion-dollar app industry where consumers actually pay for apps and new millionaires are minted on a regular basis, has drawn scores of developers away from the hairy, disorganized world of traditional desktop apps and software licensing.
Question: why nobody pays for desktop applications?

Answer: because there are so many of them. This website alone has over 2000 free and portable applications in its database, and there surely are tens of thousands of free Windows applications. Nearly whatever you want to do, there are already multiple free applications for that.

That will never happen in mobile because...?

It is crystal clear that mobile apps are a bubble. I wish developers realized that...

----

Web applications, on the other hand, are becoming popular because it is so easy to begin using them. One only has to go to a website, which is much easier than installing a program. Portable applications with "extract and run" are easier to set up than traditional programs, but 1) hardly anyone knows about us and 2) web apps are still significantly easier.

And I have to say that I like the idea of web applications. Their main problem has been lack of necessary web technologies, which is being addressed as we speak. And on areas where web applications aren't a good idea (e.g. because of privacy issues), desktop applications will stay. For example, I believe that Password Safe won't be replaced with a web app. ;)
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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#3 Post by webfork » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:07 pm

The "desktop apps are dead" is the latest in a series of "___ is dead" stories that are designed to draw interest. This is a great idea when you're trying to describe something that you should actively avoid. Like for instance a paper phone directory (Yellow Pages). The electronic alternatives are light years ahead while the old system is both wasteful, useless, and obsolete. Since it's a little early to describe desktop apps that way, I think we can safely call this an "article" by a "journalist". If you believe the Wall Street view of tech, anyone without a mobile strategy was considered junk. Now it's a Cloud strategy. Shortly before that it was anything from Apple and then social networking. I'm pretty sure Facebook is already dead and if the recent press about Apple is any indication, everything there is already dead too.

We all know the benefits of web apps, but I think SYSTEM already nailed the problem: privacy. Google and many other companies are actively trading consumer data for features. It's a novel idea and it'll work for a while, but lose just ONE account because of a password issue or what happened to the Wired Editor? I lost a Google account and then went on a Kafkaesque circular search for someone to try and contact at Google to try and fix it. I had to give up and dump an important account. When I thought about I realized the reason is I am not their customer. Their customer is whoever bought ad space or consumer data.

For other people it might be the fact that Web apps depend on a network connection then something disrupts their connection for a day or, in the case of an event a few years ago near me, a backhoe cut a fiber line to an entire city. When you're unable to do anything for 2 full weeks, you remember that web-based fundamentally means someone else's device, equipment, and software. Mobile computing falls into roughly the same trap.

Desktop software is losing appeal because of the install process, the way computers slow down over time, and there's no centralized place to get all the information. The author rightly points out the worst offender in desktop apps: iTunes, but not all apps are that bad. Additionally, there are many operations I simply need a keyboard and mouse for and that means desktop apps. If I'm doing photography work, I am NOT putting my fingers on the screen. Further, what exactly makes a mobile device? If you hook up a mouse and a keyboard to your tablet, is that a mobile device or is it a laptop?

I'd like to think that we in the Portable Software world make it better for people, but to gain a wider audience, we would need an intelligent, simple, encrypted, redundant flash drive without ever having to think about it. That's not here yet, but in the long run I think we'll always have a user base because portable software meanwhile is about total availability. Did your computer break? Did your network connection fry? Did you get hacked? Portable software is extremely ambivalent to this. You can stack everything on an encrypted key drive and just get back to work. In case of emergency, just find a working machine with a USB port.

Thanks for posting, freakazoid

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#4 Post by Midas » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:06 pm

Excellent reading. Thanks guys. 8)

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#5 Post by Andrew Lee » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:28 pm

I don't believe in all this "xxx just died" crap. If it were true, we wouldn't have mainframes today. :D

Desktop machines and apps have probably reached a peak and it's all downhill from here. A lot of people don't want to deal with the complexity of a desktop OS, so they are migrating to smartphones/tablets.

This downward trend will stretch for many many years, and a lot of industry players (Intel, Microsoft, Adobe) will have a lot of restructuring to do. But "dead"? Don't bet on it.

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#6 Post by TenaciousD » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:18 am

@ Andrew Lee: haha! reminds me of the oh the paper book is a dying ! What a load of nonsense! Just look at radio, its still here despite TV and the dreaded INTERNET!

However there are things that the so called 'smart phone apps' or 'iphone apps' do really well. One of them is definitely convenience as pointed out by SYSTEM, but its also how the programs are available to the user. Installed apps on smart phones and related technologies make it very easy to download and then use them as all the installed apps can be accessed from one place. Unlike desktop 'apps' and the horrible start>all programs> [big list of all installed apps] (At least for windows users anyway). Even if 'All programs' can handle over 100 'apps' its a chore to navigate through it and can be just plain frustrating.

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#7 Post by SYSTEM » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:06 am

TenaciousD wrote: Installed apps on smart phones and related technologies make it very easy to download and then use them as all the installed apps can be accessed from one place. Unlike desktop 'apps' and the horrible start>all programs> [big list of all installed apps] (At least for windows users anyway).
Windows Store "fixes" this, but IMO it's much more horrible than the Start menu.
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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#8 Post by webfork » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:05 pm

Edit: I moved this post as I think it might be a thread hijack.

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#9 Post by webfork » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:22 pm

webfork wrote:
Midas wrote:Wow! That's quite a pickle Mat Honan got himself into. All in all it took, what? 15 minutes? I'm mighty glad I don't depend on cloud services (or Apple, for that reason).
It's a huge advertisement for what we do here: not relying on Internet resources for [most] programs, self-contained, very easy to backup, and no thorny privacy issues.
This is also somewhat related to the "How a Wired Editor was hacked" thread, but just wanted to point to a PortableApps thread that also discusses this topic and some of the pros and cons about mobile and cloud vs. local and desktop.

Also, a program that does a little of both (desktop and cloud): http://www.spoon.net/ (discussed here).

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#10 Post by joby_toss » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:26 pm

Don't know if this one fits here, but...

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Google-a ... 6619.shtml

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#11 Post by SYSTEM » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:42 am

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#12 Post by SYSTEM » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:24 am

SYSTEM wrote: For example, I believe that Password Safe won't be replaced with a web app. ;)
Aargh. Apparently I was wrong.

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#13 Post by guinness » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:24 am

But there has been LastPass for ages. Or are those two related somehow?
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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#14 Post by TenaciousD » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:36 am

Related issue:
Just got around to reading a bit about the Firefox OS and boy do I have mixed feelings about it. The biggest issue for me is that all the apps are cloud based/ require and internet connection and some are suggesting its use in developing countries! I really hope this is not the future of other smartphones.

NO the desktop app is not dead because I still have my 'apps' even when my internet connection 'goes down'. :D

Source:
http://thehackernews.com/2013/02/firefo ... dible.html
http://tech.co/firefox-os-phone-develop ... ld-2013-01

PS Firefox OS does also support 'packaged apps' though.

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Re: 2012: The Year The Desktop App Died

#15 Post by webfork » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:44 pm

Insofar as PC sales figures enter into the concept that desktop apps are dead, I saw another article that nicely contradicts that:

The real reason PC sales have fallen

Essentially the suggestion is that the slowdown in PC sales doesn't mean that people quit using PCs, it means they're not upgrading. We are in the era of "good enough" computing (borrowing the author's term). Further, I've read only one article where someone has switched entirely from PC/Mac to Android/iPad so it's almost categorically an accessory device. That pushes the idea that you don't need a new machine even further.

In addition, portable software -- by tacitly encouraging developers not to make software for just the latest-and-greatest OS + hardware and ignoring all the others -- is actually better suited for this phase of the PC. Admittedly almost nobody's using Win2K anymore, but *plenty* of people are still using a 11.5 year old Windows XP. If you're a developer making portable software, just making it for Windows 8 would strike me as odd.

That said, I've seen some tremendous mobile apps like Grafio, but for the most part there are mobile programs that are a loose outline of the necessary features offered by a desktop application. There are few full-on replacements.

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