'A High Tide Raises All Ships'

November 2, 2011

mobile app, mobile web, html5


While the success of mobile apps continues to coincide with skyrocketing smartphone and tablet sales, new research from Forrester shows that mobile web usage still maintains a firm position in the marketplace.
"Sixty percent of U.S. consumers who download apps also access the Internet via their mobile phones at least daily while 63 percent of U.S. iPhone owners access the mobile Internet on a daily basis.” 
Dan Rowinski from ReadWriteWeb explains the growing usage of both apps and the web on mobile devices: “Both sides of the equation will grow with it and become valuable aspects of product roadmaps … a high tide raises all ships.’
Earlier this summer, Mashable reported that for the first time consumers were spending more time on mobile apps than the web … but that does not mean that mobile web usage is declining.  
Rather, session length for both is on the rise. 
However, HTML5 has the potential to flip the mobile app vs. mobile web debate on its head because it standardizes the highly fragmented rich-media universe. 
In an interview with Yahoo’s Appolicious, developer Andreas Bovens describes the impact HTML5 could have:
“Creating apps with web standards brings you a step closer to the "create once, run everywhere" mantra, resulting in a lot of time saved in the long run as you only have to maintain a single code base.”
Bovens also points out that many of the features that were once exclusive to native applications are now available on mobile sites because of HTML5.
“You can deploy very fast on any platform, as long as there is a web browser - no need to learn to work with different SDKs and get used to the specificities and quirks of each environment.”
Mark Walsh from Mediapost also highlights the opportunity that HTML5 creates for publishers. 
‘The attraction for publishers is that HTML5 breaks down the barriers between apps and the mobile Web and reduces the difficulty of having to create different versions of mobile properties across different devices and operating systems.”
While native apps are dominating in the current mobile landscape, it would be prudent for developers to keep an eye on HTML5.