HTML5 vs Native Apps: A Winning Mobile App Strategy

Oct
23

Native apps on various mobile platforms deliver web content on the go. But the frequent updates and fragmentation issues associated with the hardware and software to outreach consumers, a developer needs to target different mobile devices to create separate apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7. This results in a time-consuming process and makes it costly as the operating systems are constantly upgraded.

HTML5, the 5th version of HTML, is the latest web technology with rich multimedia features and interoperability features for smartphones and tablets makes it compelling and formidable. HTML5 web apps can be accessed on mobile browsers and runs on different mobile platforms just like native apps. HTML5 provides offline support via local data and application caching without the need for internet connection.

Developers are adopting HTML5 to build cross-platform mobile apps as a "Build Once, Run Many" solution to make mobile web better with device-neutral mobile app development. Developers can build mobile apps for HTML5 or Native apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry on different operating systems.HTML5 is fast becoming a new standard for mass adoption among developers to create web-based applications which isn’t stuck in one mobile platform like iPhone or Android.

HTML5 Features

  • Dynamic scrolling banners for online promotions of products
  • Improved navigation, menus and pop-up windows allows more content integration
  • Games with advanced graphics support, image galleries with scroll, swipe and zoom features
  • Cross-platform mobile application development
  • Advanced GPS, IP address, RFID data integrated
  • Rapid search results
  • Mini-Carts integration on mobile sites allows users to stay in the page

Features

HTML5

Native Applications

Security

In a browser environment, users can manipulate native code which leads to possible hacking;  debugging tool can be abused; Local database can be manipulated;

Native apps require updates; While accessing internet for sending information, it should be made secure with SSL.

Synchronization

Offline storage capabilities; If a Web app is connected to the Internet, it can continually save data to the cloud. When it's offline, changes aren't always stored in the cloud. While changing browsers problems of data synchronization occurs which makes it difficult to find the latest saved data.

Problems in synchronization can be found by tracking file names and change dates

Storage

Local data storage is limited as compared to desktop apps;

For syncing local data on device, data should be encrypted

Capabilities

Unique and engaging features not available in Mobile web apps; In-app features not within scope of HTML5 app. Developers can build a hybrid app through PhoneGap and get platform features; Evolving standards and adding features.

Better in-app experience and integrates well into the device eco-system with widgets and notificiations. Interact with device’s hardware using GPS, Accelerometer, Camera

Marketing/Distribution

Apps published in websites. SEO-friendly; Share web apps with friends by linking with email and social media

               

Submit native apps on
App Store or Android Market; Users can browse, search and get recommendation from the market.

Monetization

Possible to monetize on the web through a viable SaaS solution; Online advertising, affiliate links, sponsorships, cross-promotion to other products and services are the other ways; Build cross-platform apps through PhoneGap or Titanium, wrap them as native apps and distribute via various market places

Mobile platforms offer developers to directly charge for their apps with one-time payment option. In-app payment and subscription mechanisms are also available in some platforms which help developers to convert a successful app into a long-term revenue stream.

Advertising and sponsorship are the other web models for easy monetization

Performance

Today web apps run faster with advanced functionality, multimedia, games optimized for improved performance

Faster and better; Taking advantage of GPU acceleration and multithreading

User experience

More control over look and feel; Custom UI build according to needs

Native look and feel

Development

Cross-platform and cross-browser support to develop apps for various mobile platforms using HTML5, CSS3, Javascript; HTML5 will be fully ready by 2014;

HTML5 examples: Yahoo, Amazon, YouTube, Amazon’s Cloud Reader

Easier to develop using Objective C, C++

As the debate is heating on the advantages of HTML5 mobile web vs the mobile app, these mobile tools should be positioned as strategic perspectives and complimentary. HTML5 web apps will not kill native apps.  Some apps are best suited for native experience in terms of its speed, performance and execution, and some others for the web. Hybrid apps are a compromise for developers where web view is possible. Recently the mobile industry is hit by fragmentation, standards and protocols.  If the developers are targeting cross-platform apps for fragmentation and diversity, whichoptimized to web technology, then the expertise should be more HTML5-centric. Overall, enterprises can engage with consumers by leveraging both these brands.

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