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Archive for May, 2013

HTML5 vs. Native Apps: The Debate Continues

As I predicted a few months ago, the debate over the features of Native and HTML5 apps continues to wage on. A recent Business Insider article attempted to outline the difference between the two and, for obvious reasons, caught my attention.

It is no secret that mobile apps are becoming the new phenomenon among businesses worldwide. Not only do they offer convenience, but they also provide content optimization, something company websites cannot offer on the mobile device. If you have read my past articles and blogs on this subject, I am a strong proponent of native apps over HTML5 or responsive design websites. To be completely transparent, I founded an IR app technology business called theIRapp (www.theIRapp.com) that may taint my objectivity a bit. However, there are specific reasons why we at theIRapp chose to create a native app versus HTML5 or a hybrid approach. I want to use this opportunity to explain some of the clear differences between the two.

In the BI article, a claim is made that it is “more likely” HTML5 will take the cake over native apps. A chart in the article shows native apps only getting credit for “rich user experience and performance” and “monetization” purposes. What the article fails to explain are those crucial factors that should be considered when choosing between native and HTML5. HTML5 is listed as a “winner” when it comes to the ability to immediately update and distribute content. But is this really the case? The article also suggests a benefit of not being controlled by Google, Apple, Amazon or Samsung. But is being part of the Apple and Google world really a bad thing? A very important thing to know – HTML5/responsive design websites are not apps. They do not exist in the App Store or Google Play with the millions of others who have chosen native over responsive design.

Native apps offer push notifications, which allow for instantaneous alerts – HTML5 does not. Native apps provide offline viewing and listening capabilities – HTML5 does not. Native apps, as a result of the ability to allow for offline downloading do not always require Internet connectivity – HTML5 websites do.

The BI article also suggests that native apps are necessarily costly. I guess they can be, but so can everything. There are turn-key app solutions on the market that allow organizations to have all of the benefits of a native app but at a fraction of the cost of hiring an independent developer – theIRapp is a case in point.

Looking into the future, native apps will allow for conversations to take place between businesses and their targeted audiences – so much will be able to take place within the native app ecosystem as I refer to it. HTML5 optimized websites will always be what they are – a website where a company talks at its targeted audience.

Despite my reaction, the Business Insider article was important in that it demonstrates that there are different solutions available for companies to consider when looking to incorporate mobile into their businesses. It is important for businesses to understand the full landscape of what exists in the mobile world before investing.

A final thought: Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed in a Tech Crunch article this past February that Facebook made a mistake “betting too much on HTML.” LinkedIn just launched its latest mobile app and made a significant switch from being web-based to fully native. I am a gambling man, but would not bet against Apple, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The choice is yours.

 

 

 

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