Web Apps vs. Native Apps – Which is the way forward for mobile web design?

HTML5 vs. Native Apps.

Ofcom reported recently that over a quarter of adults and half all teens own and use smart phones every day.  Allegedly, 37% of these adults and 60% of teens are addicted to their phones.  Now, this information may or may not come as a surprise, however is particularly notable at the moment when considering the recent debate surrounding mobile applications.  
 
In such a rapidly evolving world of technology and information accessibility, question has been raised as to whether it would be more beneficial for businesses to develop web apps using HTML5, or to build native applications available for download on each device.
 
As with any question, there are both pro’s and con’s to each approach.  Whilst HTML5, or web based applications are available to across all mobile platforms and offer more control over appearances and profitability, the coding doesn’t work with every browser which clearly could be a major hindrance to organisations offering such apps.  On the other hand, native applications require specific scripting and development for each mobile device and may not be the most cost effective approach.  Despite this, their potential to run faster, boast more storage space, integrate with other apps and serve a specific purpose is appealing and can be extremely beneficial.  In addition, the charges associated with the sales of native apps through phone stores is something not associated with web apps.
 
Cost must be considered when deciding between a web app or a native app. Face costs are cheaper for a web app. An HTML5 expert could design a web app to work across all platforms and browsers as they only have to learn one skill set. To design a fully functioning native app on multiple operating systems you would have to use a different expert for each. If you are looking to make money from your app then think about how big a cut of your profits you can bear giving away. Native apps are currently available through app stores (Apple Appstore, Google Marketplace etc.) which take a 15% cut from paid apps. They also take a cut if your app is free but you sell a product through it. However, web apps mean you take all the profit! That sounds ideal until you consider that an app is likely to get more exposure in an App store as they allow users to directly search for content. It’s a win/lose situation really – more traffic from a native app but giving away a cut of profit or full profit from a web app but fewer usders.
 
Applications such as Twitter and Linked in have recently combined the two angles, offering a hybrid of native and web apps, maximising potential.
 
It has been proposed that there is indeed no winner in this scenario.  It could be true that the answer to this puzzling question lies within the heart of each business itself.  Through identifying what purpose an application is required to serve, who it is targeted at and what its key uses will be should allow for the best approach at the current time to be apparent.

Silicon Beach Training are a leading provider of Web Design Training and have recently launched a brand new Mobile Web Design Course.

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