Is HTML5 a mobile app killer?

HTML5

Debate surrounding HTML5 has once again risen to the forefront of industry news with the recent release of Microsoft’s IE9, which fully embraces compatibility with HTML5. As Microsoft has traditionally been known to shy away from web standards, the incorporation of HTML5 into its latest browser is a good indicator of the growing momentum behind HTML5.

Indeed, when we first saw HTML5 splashed across the media, it was hailed as a highly possible ‘app killer’ and a savior for businesses that want to develop truly comprehensive mobile strategies. HTML5 capabilities do undeniably add unprecedented user experience to the mobile browser, making the declining medium of mobile web through browsers more ‘dynamic and alluring’ for the consumer.

However, despite HTML5 being hailed as the silver bullet that can solve the increasing nightmare of fragmentation and OS wars, mobile web browsing is far from a panacea for a standardized mobile experience for consumers.

The ‘mobile web browser vs. mobile apps’ argument is another discussion entirely, but major mobile innovation is happening with native and hybrid application technology, and whilst HTML5 solves some problems, it just does not have the ability make native applications obsolete.

Primarily, exposing native resources through the browser creates unacceptable security risks in many situations (along the lines of Java applets and Active X). Furthermore, variations in HTML5 implementations likely will continue the testing nightmare that exists with the mobile browser, where tens of thousands of browser permutations exist. New amends are constantly being made in the HTML5 standard, and as a result, technological changes will undoubtedly be required within the HTML5-enabled implementations.

It is clear that the growth of HTML5 will effectively just be adding another technology system into the already overcrowded marketplace. Businesses looking to develop comprehensive, end-to-end mobile and tablet strategies must realize that they cannot depend on a standard such as HTML5 to provide a solution to the increasingly fragmented mobile marketplace – even though it may seem like a step in the right direction towards standardization across the industry.

Ultimately, the way for businesses to truly future-proof their mobile strategy is to ensure that they have the ability to cost-effectively support any and all of the implementations across browsers and across devices, irrespective of standards claiming to be the ‘next big thing’.

With the recent explosion of devices, technological advances and standards, companies can never be too sure what will dominate headlines – or disappear from the marketplace altogether next.

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David Eads leads Product Marketing for Kony, the mobile commerce platform vendor. David is a mobile commerce veteran and was the founder of consulting firm Mobile Strategy Partners in 2009. As a blogger and frequent industry speaker, David has been interviewed about mobile for national media outlets like Mobile Commerce Daily, Marketplace on NPR, Inc Magazine, The Toronto Star, and The Christian Science Monitor. Additionally, David also has a decade of technical experience developing enterprise software systems in Java and other languages for UNIX, Windows, and other systems.

  • We have been building enterprise apps for years. About two years ago, we built a native iPhone app. It took us about 9 months to build it and get it approved for the app store. Recently we have decided to abandon all native app for mobile devices and go the HTML5. The web is viewed as a common platform for application development and a way away from the tyranny of the platforms and their sdk. Why should mobile devices be any different. I have a more detailed post on my blog. http://lovemycrm.com/?p=88