Most of these mobile apps either cost money to buy, have separate ads designed specifically for mobile use, or require a subscription to the site. Plainly put, these organizations realize they can present a vastly better user experience and potentially increase revenue by providing fat apps for the popular mobile platforms. Apple's Newsstand also helps here, as it provides an easy path to entry for smaller news organizations to have their own iOS app.
As the Apple Mac Store grows, I suspect more companies will return to the fat app. There's no Newsstand app in the Mac store, but it wouldn't surprise me to see one soon. The same goes for any number of Web-based applications that have survived for years on LAMP or Microsoft's Web stack, but whose developers begin to realize that turning out an iOS or Android client might not be a bad investment. This will be especially true when iOS apps can run natively on Mac OS X. Tweak that iOS app a bit and -- poof -- you have a fat app on the Mac.
Microsoft cannot be missing this boat. Perhaps that's part of the thinking behind Windows 8 and the Metro interface that borrows from Windows Phone 7. While I agree the current state of integration into the Windows UI is Frankensteinish, it may provide the same type of pathway for developers who write for Windows Mobile. Integrating those apps into a full version of Windows becomes less challenging if the two platforms merge, and bringing the touch-driven UI to the full desktop (clumsy as the combination may be) is likely a step in that direction.
And so, like many things in computing, we're starting to circle back on ourselves. We drifted away from the mainframe only to reinvent it, and it appears we may do the same with applications. Rather than a host of bookmarks in your browser, you may find yourself with a host of application launchers instead -- just like the old days.
This story, "The return of the fat app," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.