Native apps are those built expressly for a single mobile operating system, and made available through proprietary app stores. They dominate mobile usage, account for the lion’s share of developer revenue, and perhaps not surprisingly, spark the most interest among those same developers.
In contrast, HTML5, the newest cross-platform version of the Web’s publishing language, allows developers to create mobile Web apps that exist online and can be accessed and used from any kind of phone or tablet. And, despite getting scant attention, HTML5 has become the third-most widely used mobile development platform, after iOS and Android.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we explain why in the long run we believe mobile Web apps will carve out an influential role in mobile, and eventually begin to win ground against native apps — much as Web apps like Gmail have done against PC software that you install on your hard drive. We also detail what disadvantages must be overcome by HTML5 if it is ever going to see a sustained increase in mainstream development and usage.
Here are some of the key advantages and issues surrounding HTML5 mobile Web apps:
- As device types and operating systems proliferate, the case for universal mobile Web apps becomes more and more pressing. The ability to develop apps that work across all devices is increasingly attractive.
- Feature gaps were often cited as HTML mobile Web apps’ major disadvantage, but these are being closed, and performance wrinkles are being ironed out.
- In terms of mobile developer interest, HTML5 has seen an uptick recently and ranks well ahead of other contenders for third-place status in the mobile platform wars, such as Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10.
- Monetization remains a problem for HTML5 mobile Web apps. iOS and Android apps generate significantly more revenue for developers. Until HTML5 mobile Web apps become better able to successfully generate money from users, developers will have little incentive to create these universal apps.
In full, the report:
- Details the statistics behind consumer attachment to native mobile apps and the recent uptick in developer interest in HTML5
- Analyses the chicken-and-egg platform problem that HTML5 faces
- Reviews the progress made by the W3C, the nonprofit collective in charge of HTML5’s development, in closing the performance and feature gap with native iOS and Android apps
- Performs an in-depth analysis of the monetization challenges faced by HTML5 mobile Web apps and HTML5 developers
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