HTML5 is a new technology that allows developers to build rich web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser.
Many think it will save the web, rendering native platform-dependent apps obsolete.
So, which will win? Native apps or HTML5?
Here’s how HTML5 will eventually win out:
- The most popular types of apps will be early adapters: HTML5 is particularly useful for media apps and “access” apps (those that let you access an existing accounts via a mobile device, such as banks).This is because apps that display text, images and video and monetise through ads and subscriptions can be done more cheaply and effectively through HTML5.
- The increasing prevalence of “shell apps” will push things along: These are apps that have a native “shell” so they can get in the app stores, but where the entire functionality is done via HTML5. One such shell app is Facebook’s iPad app. These “hybrid” apps get the best of both worlds and mean more developing resources will shift to HTML5 over time. These “wrapper” apps will also end up on the web as HTML5 improves.
- HTML5 will eventually fulfil its promise as a classic disruptive technology: HTML5 fits directly within Clay Christensen’s famous technological disruption framework. It’s currently less good than native apps at lots of things. But the technology is improving. And it is cheaper to produce HTML5 apps than native apps. Over time, the new, cheaper technology of HTML5 will get better and better, and as it does it will start to eat the rest of the market.
- But, it will still take a while: HTML5 comes from a consortium, which means the technology will evolve slowly. It still isn’t ready for prime time, as there are many things that HTML5 apps just can’t do right now. So HTML5 will likely progressively replace apps as the feature set improves, starting with media and “access” apps and ending with games, which require the richness of native software more than any other app type.
In full, the special report analyses:
- What HTML5 is, giving an overview of how it is a technology done by committee
- Why the HTML5-vs-Apps debate matters, breaking down its impact on distribution, monetization, platform power and network effects, and functionality.
- The pluses and minuses of HTML5 vs. native apps, comparing each by cost, user experience, features, distribution, and monetization.
- How and when HTML5 will take over, laying out how it has all the hallmarks of a disruptive technology.
- The success of an HTML5 pioneer, The Financial Times.
- What an HTML5 future will look like, with the promise of richer and more interactive experiences.