Parallelz hopes to bypass the App Store by bringing apps to the web
posted Saturday Jun 25, 2022 by Scott Ertz
Over the past year or so, the App Store and Google Play have become a hot topic. While they once represented the next generation of application delivery, they have become the target of derision as Apple and Google have been viewed as greedy and taking advantage of their market positions. Now, Parallelz is trying to do the same for mobile platforms by taking apps to the web.
The history of mobile apps
When the iPod Touch and iPhone first launched, neither supported any application development. There was some software pre-installed, but everything else you wanted to do on the devices required that you use the browser. This limitation was one of the original reasons why the iPhone was not classified as a smartphone but as a media phone. That, and the features that were missing that even Nextel phones had.
The reason for this was not laziness or a feeling that it wasn't required. Instead, Steve Jobs believed that on-device applications were not required and that the entire 3rd party experience should be through the browser. However, much to Jobs' dismay, the web was still designed for what it was created for - content delivery. That meant that advanced capabilities, such as we experience today, simply wasn't possible - hence the App Store.
App stores in 2022
Because Apple controls the entirety of the application experience (kind of), there has been a lot of backlash. Epic Games has carried the torch, but other major publishers have joined the fight. But, the trust and respect for Apple and Google, to a lesser degree, has dropped significantly. Yes, you can pin a website on an iPhone as an app, and have in behave as one, but the experience of a web app is often significantly lesser than its native counterparts.
Parallelz web-based app experience
The past year has also brought us a new way to distribute software: streaming. Sure, we've seen the focus placed on gaming with services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia, but it doesn't have to be that way. Desktop software and even mobile software could be delivered via a web browser by streaming that application directly to the client without the need to download or install anything. That is the goal of Parallelz.
However, streaming is just one way that the company could accomplish this goal. Because modern web browsers support a newer technology called WebAssembly, which allows for a browser to run compiled code directly in the browser without any plugins or additional software. It's possible that the company plans to develop a WebAssembly layer that is able to act as an application container which can run an app without any change.
That is the promise of the Parallelz platform - the ability for a developer or publisher to take their existing mobile application and redeploy it as a web application that requires no installation or downloading. The technology behind it is less important than the end result - a competitor for the App Store and Google Play that neither platform can have any control over, but one that can shake up the monopoly of the platforms and hopefully undo some of the policies that have driven a wedge between developers and the platforms.