Some notable players with prominent content are starting to get in to the business of making web apps in HTML5, bypassing the App Store entirely. Amazon has launched HTML5-capable versions of both their Cloud Player for music, and Cloud Reader for reading – and (more importantly for Amazon) buying – Kindle books. However, it’s entirely another thing for content from large multimedia multinational conglomerates to show up in a web app form, especially considering the DRM hurdles that Netflix has had to jump through with supporting devices on Android. However, it appears as if thanks to the power of one of the biggest multinational conglomerates of all, Walmart, movies and TV shows are showing up through the browser for iPad owners.
Walmart owns the video-on-demand service VUDU, and that service has just launched the ability to view their content through the iPad’s Safari browser. By visiting http://vudu.com/movies, users can immediately browse through VUDU’s entire library of content. There are various trailers and previews available to sample the content available from VUDU; sadly, all content is standard definition only on iOS, and some movies are specifically unavailable on the platform. Movies and TV shows can be either rented or bought from the service, and should be available for watching across the multiple platforms that VUDU is available on. Video watching is available in full-screen, but it does not appear to support AirPlay as of this time.
It does seem as if the web app revolution will be launched by big companies who don’t want to be pushed around by Apple and their restrictions, especially when they have their own financial interests at heart. If Apple won’t let them make money through the App Store, then they’ll just find another way to leverage the millions of iOS devices out there, and if in doing so, they push into new frontiers of technology. That could ultimately be beneficial for consumers who don’t have to be limited by Apple’s restrictions to get the content they want. It could also benefit Apple in a way – they have been pushing HTML5 as a replacement for Flash, and with these new web apps not requiring Flash, they’re only pushing their own agenda further along.