Why HTML, The Web's Publishing Language, Is Still Relevant In The App-Crazy Mobile Age

Mobile Web apps are written in HTML, they exist online, and can be accessed and used from any kind of phone or tablet.

Native apps, in contrast, are built expressly for a single mobile operating system like Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, or Amazon’s Fire OS. They are marketed and downloaded through the company’s proprietary app stores. Google, Amazon, and Apple get a cut of any download revenue.

In the newest report from BI Intelligence, we explore a seeming contradiction: consumers seem to prefer native apps. But many mobile developers, particularly in the mobile e-commerce world, find that HTML is more cost-effective than a sole focus on native app development. They have been successful in anchoring their mobile strategies in HTML.

Is it too late for HTML, and its new mobile-ready version, HTML5? Will the native app tidal wave overwhelm it and relegate HTML5 mobile Web apps to permanent second-class status? Or will companies come to exploit its many advantages?

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Our report includes downloadable charts and spreadsheets and over a dozen datasets from our ongoing coverage of HTML5 and mobile.

HTML5’s advocates see its current stasis as a temporary speed bump, before mobile audiences and developers see the light and embrace apps on the more universal and less closed-off mobile Web.

Another advantage: Native apps are written in the difficult programming languages used for specific operating systems, while mobile Web apps are built around HTML5 and related Web technologies, which are more widely known.

Of course, it doesn’t help that consumers, and even many app publishers, remain confused about what a mobile Web app is, and how it differs from a native app and a mobile website. (A mobile Web app offers app-like interactive experiences, while a mobile website just serves up content and has a thin user interface.)

In full, the report:

To access BI Intelligence’s full report on HTML5 and native, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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