An HTML5 app is housed on the Web and runs inside a mobile browser. Unlike apps built specifically for Apple or Android devices, it does not need to be built from scratch for each operating system. The promise is that it can be “write once, run anywhere.”
It’s true: In many cases, HTML5 can work just as well as a native approach. HTML5 has established itself as the de-facto alternative “platform,” after Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
But it is not the silver bullet it is often made out to be, for several reasons. HTML5 faces a fragmentation issue of its own, since there are gaps in the range of HTML5 app features supported by the different mobile browsers. Backers of HTML5 are working furiously to fill those gaps.
So where are we in the HTML5 vs. native apps debate? The status of HTML5 is vital to decisions about where to invest mobile budgets. In an August 2013 report, BI Intelligence analyzes this very question.
In the report, we do a head-to-head comparison of the two, explain the specific reasons why HTML5 has some clear advantages over native apps for mobile development, look at adoption data, analyze the barriers to HTML5 as a development tool and explain how HTML5 is starting to overcome them, look at the current state of the performance advantage held by native apps, and explain why in a hyper-fragmented mobile landscape, HTML5 has emerged as the long sought-after “third platform,” allowing for mobile Web apps that cut across fragmentation.
Here are examples of where HTML5 is trying to close the performance and feature gap:
- Graphics: Web apps are far along in allowing for scalable (users can enlarge them by zooming in) graphics that allow for “the creation of very advanced and slick user interfaces,” according to the W3C, the nonprofit that creates the HTML5 standard.
- Multimedia capabilities are improving. Video and audio playback has become a widely-supported and widely-used HTML5 mobile app feature. Other multimedia features are still in a more nascent stage.
- Responsiveness: HTML5 apps can be written so that the device type is detected, and an appropriate app version is delivered. That’s important because of the variety of screen sizes out there. The layout, behavior and resolution are optimized for the screen.
- User Data: Web apps are far along in their ability to store app data so that users can return to an app and pick up where they left off. Smooth offline usage is an area that needs more improvement.
- Geolocation on Web apps is now basically a solved issue across mobile browsers, while integration with user calendars and address book data is still a work-in-progress.
Tags: adoption, android, backers, budgets, current state, development tool, fragmentation, gaps, google, mobile browser, mobile development, mobile web, operating system, performance advantage, scratch, silver bullet, web apps
We know that social media usage is migrating to mobile, but how much of that usage is channeled through apps, and how much is through browsers?
Facebook reaches about 76% of the U.S. smartphone population through its popular app, according to recent data from comScore.
But an additional 10% of smartphone owners access Facebook only through the mobile Web (using a mobile browser such as Safari or Chrome).
In other words, Facebook sees a 13% gain in audience thanks to its mobile website.
Twitter is even more dependent on the mobile Web. Twenty-one percent of the U.S. audience accesses Twitter’s app, but an additional 8% access it over the mobile Web. That’s a 38% audience “lift,” taking the app-only audience as the base, for Twitter.
Pandora is 100% dependent on its app usage.
Looking at the top smartphone properties, one interesting case is Amazon, which reaches an impressive 66.8% of U.S. smartphone users. ! However, it fails to crack comScore’s top 15 apps list, meaning its app fails to reach the thresh hold of reaching 20% of smartphone users. Amazon is clearly still dependent on the mobile Web browsers for a big chunk of its audience.
It may be true U.S. mobile users are quickly moving away from the mobile Web in favor of apps, but developers and app publishers need to keep an eye on their mobile sites too.
Tags: accesses, Amazon, Chunk, dominance, email contacts, Facebook, google, mobile browser, mobile users, mobile web, mobile website, news items, smartphone, thresh hold, twitter, web browsers, web usage
People who conduct a successful local search on their smartphone are much more likely to make an in-store visit than PC and tablet users, according to a recent Neustar Localeze survey.
Perhaps surprisingly, especially since there are so many click-to-call search ads floating around the mobile Web, smartphone users are actually more likely to contact a business online after completing a local search, while tablet and PC users prefer to contact a business over the telephone.
The 3,000-person survey also found that overall conversion rates are higher among mobile users, whether they contacted a local business online, over the phone, or in-person
An impressive 78% of them ended up making a purchase. Similarly, 77% of tablet users converted into buyers, whereas only 59% of PC users did.
When it comes to performing additional research on a product or service after an initial local business search, tablets lead. This supports previous studies which found that people prefer to conduct more complex activities— such as browsing social networks, reading, and writing — on their tablet than on their smartphone. Also, probably due to this habit of conducting additional research before buying, tablet users tend to spend slightly more on a purchase.