On July 23 Strategy Analytics published a report - HTML5: No Threat to Native App Dominance. The report ran contrary to popular industry and press opinion that HTML5 would sweep away native apps and become the dominant app development platform in as short as two years. The report focused on the business and technical challenges that HTML5 faces in its attempt to replace native apps.
In addition, the report profiled companies that would be essential to the widespread adoption of HTML5. Facebook was deemed one of the biggest proponents of HTML5. Not only did Facebook have an HTML5 enbedded in its app, it created ringmark which allows developers to understand the level of support a browser offered for HTML5 functions. Furthermore, it is enabling its partners to build HTML5 apps alongside native apps for distribution in its App Center.
Facebook practiced what it preached by utilizing HTML5 in its native iOS app to take advantage of the write once deploy everywhere nature of the coding language. Despite this advantage HTML5 was responsible for slowing the app down. In order to address the sub-standard quality of the experience Facebook released an improved native iOS app on August 23rd stripping out all the HTML5 and instead going completely native.
Facebook’s decision highlights that while offering some advantages over native, HTML5 remains inferior to native apps. The idea of a hybrid app which leverages HTML5 at its core, utilizes native APIs and then wraps the app into a native package is one many – including us – are high on. However, if these apps become too slow even that approach may find a smaller audience of developers than we anticipated.
Now it is fair to wonder if this dynamic will remain fixed over time with native apps being better than HTML5 apps. In short, the answer is yes. Different device capabilities, new APIs available in advanced operating systems, and deep integration into the handset are all attributes offered by native apps that HTML5 does not yet rival and even hybrid apps may struggle with.
This does not mean that HTML5 is irrelevant but instead remains a niche technology better suited for specific categories as discussed in the report HTML5: What is it good for?
For more insight into our views on HTML5, the continued dominance of the native app and the rise of the hybrid app please consult our HTML5 report series at the links above or below.
HTML5: No Threat to Native App Dominance (Available to Wireless Media Strategies and App Ecosystem Opportunities subscribers)
HTML5: What is it good for? (Available to App Ecosystem Opportunities subscribers)
The Truth about HTML5: Do developers really love HTML5? (Available to App Ecosystem Opportunities subscribers)