Earlier this year, I purchased Spotify Premium so that I could have access to Spotify‘s endless arsenal of music without having to be at my computer. Spotify is an online music service that gives you access to virtually every song ever made with advertisements thrown in to generate revenue. Spotify Premium is its membership option for users willing to pay a fee to avoid ads and have access to Spotify’s music library from their mobile phones.

However, I’ve been researching and reassessing that Spotify Premium membership. Grooveshark, a competitor of Spotify’s that I’ve written about in the past, has launched a mobile website coded in HTML5 that offers its music library online for free. There are ads, of course, but what’s a few advertisements in exchange for free, instantaneous access to every album you could imagine? (Did I mention it’s free?)

The Importance of HTML5

To be fair, I don’t know how long Grooveshark’s mobile site will be up. The company is notorious for its legal troubles. Grooveshark’s user-upload-friendly platform makes it so that not all of the music available is even legal. According to Grooveshark’s terms of service, only songs whose artists have consented to having their music used are legal to play. The rest are considered illegal content so that the uploader is the one breaking the law.

The app is continuously pulled from from Google Play, which is likely what motivated Grooveshark to innovate and build an app-quality mobile site in the first place. While I hope that the mobile site stays alive, I think the more interesting story here is how far HTML5 has come.

With how popular mobile apps are right now, it’s hard to envision them becoming ‘obsolete’ anytime soon. But when it comes to apps that require the Internet, I think that day is coming sooner rather than later. Why download an app when you could just type in a URL? Most websites are beginning to see the need to optimize their site for mobile.

I saw this need firsthand this summer while I was a web development intern at Rounded Development. I assisted in optimizing a site for mobile that, prior to HTML5, would have absolutely needed a mobile app to have all of its features and functionality.

The Future of HTML5 and Apps

However, many apps are just not in a format that lends itself to being hosted online. Apps that don’t require Internet for optimal functionality are not in any immediate danger of being replaced by a web app, but the popularity of the cloud could quickly change this. I would have previously considered word processing to be a strictly offline domain, but Google Docs has changed my mind, and allowed me to have my documents with me everywhere. In fact, it’s been almost a year since I had to email myself a term paper so that I could access it from another computer.

Ultimately, it’s still going to take some time before HTML5 truly takes off and fully replaces web-oriented mobile apps. But every day, more sites are using this technology. The cloud is granting users the convenience that will force apps and other local software to either adapt or yield.

What do you think will be the next major break through in this area? Do you think HTML5 will replace or just supplement traditional apps? Make sure to comment below or tweet @SamiiRuddy to keep the conversation going.