Given we are increasingly being told the future of our computing experiences lies 'In the Cloud' and through our web browsers it perhaps isn't surprising the same is already being said of our mobile phones...
Google is the biggest and most high profile exponent of such a transition so it was with great enthusiasm that the company's VP of Engineering Vic Gondotra used the Mobile World Congress to demonstrate offline Gmail on the iPhone and Magic plus a fully featured Google Maps through the browser of the Palm Pre.
Both demos can be seen on YouTube via the links below and each was extremely impressive. Using HTML5 on Mobile Safari and the Android browser, Gmail handed perfectly as the handset was put into Airplane mode enqueuing actions for the next time the handset signal returned. It also allowed for a far more fully featured experience with a new interface, floating context sensitive toolbar and full label support. Perhaps best of all however, the same application works flawlessly across multiple operating systems just as long as they support HTML5.
As for the Pre, it can take things a step further because (other than Web OS being the current mobile platform of our dreams) it can run web apps as if they were native to the phone and gives them equal weight multitasking. With this approach Google was able to show off an HTML5 built browser version of Google Maps which handled with all the functionality of a native client. "One of my most favourite devices" said Gondotra of the Pre, I find it hard to disagree.
Now if we can just get Spotify onto handsets we'll need no native memory at all...!
Offline Gmail on iPhone via YouTube
Google Maps on Palm Pre via YouTube