Native Mobile Apps vs. The Mobile Web

@Chris | Development

The rub comes from some believing the closed model of building an app to operate on one platform is broken on many levels. This fuels one of the main arguments for HTML5—develop once and distribute across any device via the native web browser. Some have gone as far to say we’ll forget this current native app ecosystem ever existed (this seems extreme at the moment.) One point to take into consideration are the various devices people consume information on via the mobile web. With the proliferation of tablet devices, one can quickly understand how the mobile web could win out in this instance. However, when you consider the small screens on mobile devices, blended with the resident features consumers have come to expect in today’s leading applications, you can begin to understand how the future is clearly still up for debate.

One thing is clear; leading brands of the day must at least make their current web experience mobile-ready for consumers, which is essential if the brand wishes to participate in the fast-paced social web. Consumers are increasingly coming to web sites from a mobile device after browsing one of your online channels (blog, twitter, instagram, etc.). How people interact with your website presence can often lead to them feeling comfortable enough to share your brand’s message.

Currently, when clients ask us where to begin in the current market environment, we mostly recommend the native iOS platform. It comes down to a simple reason -that’s where all the high-end consumers are flocking. The first two paragraphs in a recent Wall Street Journal article on Apple’s third quarter earnings contain all the reason one need’s: “steamrolled”; “surging”; “soared”; “doubled.” However great the Apple earnings story is, however, you need not look far to see that HTML5 is making a big splash. Recently launched startup Onswipe makes any news site touch-enabled with HTML5 magic.

Needless to say, we’re going to keep an eye on this simmering debate. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject as well.