What would serve you better-an iPad app or an HTML 5 app?

HTML 5 and HTML 5 apps have been around for at least a year. The worldwide community of developers, particularly of mobile web application developers, has been abuzz with activity and discussion on the potential of HTML 5.

However, given how technically adequate, cost effective and feature-rich HTML 5 and HTML 5 apps can be, it is amazing that more business owners aren’t commissioning the development of mobile apps using HTML 5.

A description of HTML 5’s capabilities in a manner that makes sense for end users seems in order. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be showing you how HTML 5 applications can be built to

1.Automate a variety of business application needs very adequately on mobile devices

2.Extend the functionality of mobile web apps by working offline like native apps do

3.Provide much of the rich user experience users have come to expect from native apps

4.Be competitive and to be a cost effective alternative to native apps

To provide perspective, it might help to understand the ecosystem within which HTML 5 and HTML 5 apps are now becoming a competitive player.

Before HTML 5

Mobile device companies (read Apple, and every company that rode in to the market with me-too devices and/or operating systems for mobiles devices) released their tablets and smart-phones to the world coupled with development platforms and app stores.

These development platforms allow developers to create applications that leverage the hardware and software features belonging to those devices.

App stores incentivize app developers to develop mobile applications and release them to the world of mobile device users by being a convenient way for developers to reach end users, and end users to find apps.

And that has spawned a large, global and ever growing community of application development services.

So it isn’t surprising that when you Google “app developers”, or “mobile app developers”, or even, “web app developers”, you find that there is no dearth of app developers and app development companies vying for your attention.

What goes unsaid is that the apps a vast majority of them develop are “native apps” and not HTML 5 apps or mobile web apps that can work on any device that has an HTML 5 compatible browser (which, by the way, all tablets and most smartphones in current circulation have).

Native apps are those that will install and work only on the specific device for which they are coded, which means that iPad apps won’t work on a Xoom, and Xoom apps on iPad and vice-versa.)

What goes unsaid is that the apps a vast majority of them develop are “native apps” and not HTML 5 apps or mobile web apps that can work on any device that has an HTML 5 compatible browser (which, by the way, all tablets and most smartphones in current circulation have). Native apps are those that will install and work only on the specific device for which they are coded, which means that iPad apps won’t work on a Xoom, and Xoom apps on iPad and vice-versa.)

Perhaps it is because there is such a large community of people advertising their ability to develop native apps that end users take for granted that those are the only type of apps that would work for mobile devices.

In short, this is what the present application development ecosystem looks like –

1.An ever increasing number of mobile devices, hardware manufacturers

2.An ever increasing number of mobile device operating systems and versions of operating systems

3.A correspondingly large number of mutually exclusive development platforms (and a wide array of versions for each platform)

4.App stores to go to buy apps for each mobile device

5.An increasing global community of tablet and other mobile device users

6.A global army of mobile native app developers

To set the tone for next week, here’s a question for you if you’re considering having an app developed for an iPad or for an Android based tablet – would it make sense to have an app built that would install on any tablet, irrespective of hardware specification or operating system?

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