HTML5 Mobile Apps

I saw two HTML5 apps yesterday. One running in my Android browser. The other running in the iPad browser. They looked and worked exactly like their mobile app counterparts. It was a mind opening moment.

There still are issues. When I went to show one of the HTML5 mobile apps later, my mobile data connection wasn't there and I couldn't load it in my Android browser. But a friend told me you could cache all the elements, including the database, on the phone and deliver an offline experience in HTML5 in the browser.

I've always disliked the idea that we have to download apps on our phones when the apps we use on the web are loaded in the browser on demand. But I've accepted the mobile app paradigm as something we will be living with for the next five years.

I'm not sure it's five years anymore.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Ramine Darabiha

    HTML5 as a mobile platform has been quite viable for a while! Have you checked out Phonegap? ( It’s a library that lets you port HTML5 apps to mobile devices.I have zero affiliation with them, we just use them in my company πŸ™‚

  2. rosshill

    That’s a beautiful moment. 5 years will be here soon enough! It’s 2010!

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Holy crap time flies..

  3. laurentk

    It’s a big challenging questions for startups (incl us). With multiple platforms available, you need resources (people or money) to support all of them. Even with Android and iOS only, it’s two complete different set of skills that you need… But native apps, besides the look and feel, are also easier to market. And if you make if to the home screen or maybe even second one of your iPhone/Android, a visual icon is way better than a bookmark in the browser. Again, difficult question today…

    1. Stan Beremski

      Laurent,I think you have hit the nail on the head with you mention marketing. The App Store is powerful marketing and distribution channel for two reasons; it integrates smoothly into the iOS platform and more importantly, it is perceived as THE distribution channel by most iOS users for apps. As we all know changing human behaviour / perception of the average consumer is hard. (Good news for Apple and a challenge/opportunity for developers).On the other hand I disagree with your comments about the advantage of native apps relative to web apps with respect to the look, feel and functionality (Okay..I admit you didn’t mention functionality). I would like to illustrate my point with an example: the Gmail web app versus the native Mail app on iOS devices.The mobile web app for the gmail service is more powerful, easier to use and can be run by any HTML5 enabled phone (add browser compatibility caveat). Even if you don’t take my word for it, then very fact that a web app is served as a service and subsequently requires no installation, means that developers can iterate more rapidly to develop a superior product versus than those create native apps, due to the slower and temporal uneven update cycle of the average consumer.I think we are coming forward in leaps and bounds in terms of the smooth integration of web apps into devices and the development of their “look and feel” to rival those of the native app. Gmail looks and feels just as good (if not better) that the native Mail app:1) You can add the web app directly to the homescreen where it will sit with its own icon in exactly the same way any native app2) If you use, you can even remove the iOS Safari interface that would traditionally have hosted the app. In effect this give your Gmail web app the look and feel of a native app.If you can find alternative marketing/distribution channels that work for your web app then I dont see why you wouldn’t try it; you would be able to develop your app more quickly, more cheaply (HTML5 should hopefully be x-platform) and you can leave a few sticks of dynamite in Steve Job’s Walled Garden.As usual, I expect the adult entertainment industry to pioneer most of this innovation due the fact the Steve thinks porn ruins the feng shui of the Walled Garden.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        The app store is a double edged sword vis a vis marketing.If Apple chooses to bless you with a featured position, then you will move a lot of units. If they don’t how exactly do you market your product there? In particular how do you do early, pre-launch marketing?

  4. Sebastian Wain

    Repeating previous posts: – HTML5 on mobile phones is not really html5. It doesn’t fully support designMode/contentEditable that is really needed for WYSIWYG apps, like editors, advanced wikis, etc.I have personally researched doing a WYSIWYG wiki on the iPhone and Android and it was [sadly] a research work instead of just pure development. – Remember that nice perfect antialiased fonts doesn’t work well in mosts browsers/OSes (only with tricks). That’s the reason of projects like – For me offline applications are mandatory, depending of connectivity for all tasks is a critical risk. And the HTML5 support for offline applications is very basic. – Javascript is a primitive language right now, the browser needs a neutral VM supporting other programming languages. – I can think of thousands of application that can’t be done or demand >3x efforts to do with html5 (think in something like and quick 3D interactions)

  5. OurielOhayon

    Fred, so far most HTML5 apps i have tested have disappointed compare to native apps. I believe it is true that the trend will evolve naturally that way, but i doubt they will ever outperform certain categories like games, media, camera, and rich media editing. Today our computers have clearly the ability to run anything in the browser and still the huge majority of people are still using softwares. I guess we ll see both coexist even if the technical capacity will be there.I am also skeptical about the capacity of webapps to painlessly (such as an iphone app) monetise through transaction. Unless apple and google embrace that part and make it simple too

  6. Dan Cornish

    I think it is really cool to see Fred have an aha moment in real time. The touch javascript frameworks really are game changers, much like HTML was for the PC. Having developed for the iPhone, I can tell you HTML5 even in it’s limited form is WAY to easier develop than native apps. Then of course I do not have to have platform specialists for each new mobile OS.

  7. CJ

    What I would love to see as the opening salvo is for HTML5 to takeover the tablet segment. With the exception of gaming, there is no reason why I need an ‘app’ on a tablet. With a screen of 7+ inches I have enough real estate to consume the content as if I’m on a desktop, it just makes my overall experience more segmented if I’m constantly going from app to app when the regular versions of these sites work just as well, if not better.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Totally agree. The web is the app! many of the advantages we have when we use web apps are lost in mobile apps. Suddenly you have to worry again about updates, platforms, OS… I agree that many things will be better done locally, but many others belong to the browser.

    2. Dan Sweet

      Agree. I spent a weekend with an iPad and kept wishing it was a real computer the whole time. Every app had me missing some key element of how I get value out of the service because it was stripped down. Someone I follow on Twitter keeps talking about his “useful iPad” (the new MB Air). I feel the same way. I’m using a fairly powerful computer these days no matter the device, no reason the UX should be SO different.

  8. gglockner

    Amen. The only reasons for native apps are native access to hardware and the opportunities for monetization. So native apps are the best choice for games, audio/visual apps, ebook readers, etc.Now look at the iOS apps besides those listed above: how many are screen scrapers that could have been better written as web apps? Especially those that require an active internet connection. Is a native app really needed for Wikipedia, restaurant reviews, news, traffic, weather? No.

  9. gglockner

    BTW, pay attention to jQuery Mobile: they are working hard on cross-platform mobile widgets for HTML. This will make it much easier to code a mobile web application and make it cross-platform.

  10. Matt A. Myers

    JQMobile / JQTouch are helping lead the way for this (I’m not sure if they’re connected).It brings down the cost to having a functional mobile application almost to nothing relative to standard outsourcing costs.

  11. howard

    The issue is gatekeeping vs. open.Each application should have its own ideal configuration of hardware, local/downloaded software, cloud services (including payments & upgrades), and connectivity and as we go forward this stuff under the hood will become increasingly invisible to the end user anyway. It doesn’t really matter if I click on an app icon or a link in a browser to do what I want to do. The download time and storage space on the device will increasingly become irrelevant UX issues.HTML5 & Co. is simply the most ‘shovel ready’ tech allowing us a preview of rich, connected, open and pulled mobile device experiences. That’s what opens the mind, no?

  12. Guillermo Ramos

    In mobile, native apps will be more related to “low value” propositions and webapps will be “high value” ones. The definition of high/low value will be different for each user, although some apps will be clearly web based like email. In the definition by the end user of “high-low” value, the fact that mobile devices are easy to get lost/broken/… disappear will be very important.

  13. Henry Yates

    Seems right that your aha moment has come on the same day that Rupert Murdoch confirms the launch of his iPad only newspaper “The Daily”. Long live the open internet!

    1. fredwilson

      as i said on stage at web2, apple has built an amazing platformtoo bad its architected like cable television

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      I’d love to see the sales figures a few months after it comes out!

  14. Gordo

    HTML 5 Apps are a good thing. They live in a truly open hyperlinked world. Native apps are a closed society. Each has their place, but the future belongs to HTML5.

  15. Justin

    HTML web apps are the future simply because a matter of economics. Its much cheaper/quicker to build a universal cross-platform web app than it is to develop two different version: iOS and Android.

  16. QUEST.LI

    Now we just need a way to cache the page with app itself and we are good to go.

  17. bsiscovick

    what does this mean for mobile app business models? without the app download fee will we see more subscriptions models? micro/per engagement models? more large scale or niche targeted ad supported models?it will be very interesting seeing how the paradigm shift translates into new product and business model innovation.

    1. fredwilson

      the business models of the open web will rule the mobile web too

      1. Moses

        Except that we may see micro-payments originate on the mobile web and then migrate back towards the open web, right?

        1. fredwilson

          yes, mobile empowers payments in a way that the web has yet to do

          1. robert reich

            This statement “in a way that the web has yet to do” captures what is so exciting about the web and why we have so much innovation still to be developed.I look at my highly educated in-laws, now in there 70’s, or my children who are below the age of 10, and love how quickly they embrace the iPad. Combine this with the difficulty of finding a suitable domain name for a business or the dominance of the mega brand on any industry, and we have a system that needs to be overhauled.We’ve lived with the web in its current form for the past 20 years and it’s possible that a simple switch from URL’s to APP’s might actually solve a few of the larger more obvious issues.As far as HTML5 games I created one called Startup – for the conference and it works fine connected or discounted. Enjoy and thanks for writing posts that provoke conversation.Robert

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      For some reason I don’t get yet I think that people are more eager to pay for things (a mobile app you download to your phone) than for services (access to a web app stored somewhere else), even if the utility obtained is similar. You just have to see what’s happened with music: huge success of iTunes vs mixed results of subscription models. Utility there is not equal, but both have some advantages over the other that I think that should make the result more even.

      1. CJ

        When you pay for an app, you download it, it’s tangible if only in logical way. With a service, what you receive is amorphous, you can’t hold it, see it or visualize it but most importantly, you can’t OWN it. What you get is ‘access’ to something, so unless you create an air of exclusivity, no one wants to pay for access. And when you have an option to rent or buy something, most people will choose buying it, even if it costs more. It’s a psychological barrier.

  18. William Mougayar

    Totally agreed, and it’s the direction to be in. Funny I was about to add a comment to yesteday’s blog saying that HTML5 is changing the mobile consumption of web apps. Best example to date is still Gmail which works even better on an iPad/IPhone than on some web browsers.I would add CSS3 to this new paradigm in combo with HTML5 (and javascript of course).That’s exactly how we are evolving our product. I dont want to develop 4 versions of mobile app. Let the mobile device adapt to my app.Also, we will see more local processing on the mobile client itself. If you feel your smart phone is overheating or batteries are draining more than usual, you probably have some mobe app doing some local processing. That’s why the iPhone Flash hack heats up the phone and Apple doesn’t like it.

  19. William Mougayar

    Can you share with us what these 2 apps were, so we can check them out too?

  20. Elia Freedman

    I don’t think this is really an issue of technology but instead an issue of mentality. When we tried to release a web-based version of our software, we received severe push back, particularly around being in places without connections or on airplanes. Obviously, technically, those things are changing as airplanes get wifi and browser-based apps work offline, but the mentality will persist for a while. While I believe we will be able to write offline HTML5, browser-based apps in the near future (with the caveat that not all mobile browsers support that), I think the mentality for most end-users/consumers will persist for the next few years. I don’t think five is a bad estimate still.

  21. George Howard

    I would just add that the “distinction without a difference” becomes even more visible when – using an iPhone at least – you create an icon for the mobile version that lives on your iPhone home screen.Once you do this (as I do for Google Calendar, etc.), the only real difference between an html5 web “app” and a native app is the load time, and – as you note – that is becoming less and less of a distinguishing,George

  22. BenJam

    It’s true, you just need to specify a html manifest file then it’ll work offline.BenJam

  23. Adrian Cockcroft

    The Netflix iPhone UI is html5 running in a wrapper app that is needed to support DRM for movie playback. This allows for rapid innovation, bug fixes and testing of new experiences on subsets of the user base. For a service that requires a connection, it makes sense.

  24. bfeld

    It’s definitely not five years. The shifts are happening much faster than anyone anticipates as the incentives to minimize platform builds increases as the number of platforms to build for increases!You and I have seen this over and over again. Remember Ajax? One main reason it emerged was because client side software – on Windows and Mac PLUS web (in different browsers) was a pain to deal with, especially when you had multiple display types to optimize for. The solution then was “just build once for the web.”We all want abstraction layers – not additional platforms to build for. HTML5 is the newest exciting abstraction layer.

    1. Julien

      Protocols FTW!

  25. peter_burke_ceo

    this just turns the mobile phone into a hand held connected computer. it’s going to turn into a game of who can turn out the best “standardized” hardware for the cheapest cost.

  26. kenberger

    Strong agree for another reason: From a DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVE, our team is finding that going 100% web apps (instead of native iphone or android) allows us to take advantage of Ruby’s rapid development platform and apply BDD (Behavioral-Driven Dynamics). This is an enormous advantage for the Agile development process.After trying this (web vs native) with a few mobile projects, we’ve gained key insights and are steering clients this way, despite some of the functionality drawbacks.

    1. Alex Murphy

      One thing to consider is that the app markets are another form of distribution. Building apps for the largest platforms is simply a way of exposing your service to more people.

      1. kenberger

        Good point– for *today*. And it’s only because that’s the way it is today, much as America Online’s app environment was the place for distribution before it gave way to the open WWW (thankfully).Hopefully Fred’s implied dream of an open mobile future becomes true someday soon.

        1. Alex Murphy

          I love the reference to AOL, they were Facebook when Zuck was 11.

      2. canthony86

        Agree. But you can easily put an app “wrapper” on your build and ship it off to your app store of choice. At end of day we have to think of what is best user experience for finding the app you need? Agree with most of the comments here that HTML5 is going to (and already is in many ways) allow for the same app fxnality and UX. But how do people want to find apps? Is there a better solution than having to sift through app stores?

  27. Satjot Singh Sawhney

    the cream of the crop mobile experiences will still be native apps.i do think that html5 apps will be a great way for startups to iterate and improve their mobile experience.

  28. Sean Curtis

    absolutely agree. the only thing that has held us back is the desire of content providers to specify delivery and security options (no flash on ipad, need device/streaming limits for premium content, etc) that the native Safari app does not offer. To be specific, Apple’s standard of AES 128 is not approved for DECE, and therefore no viable delivery (without flash) exists that complies with studio requirements other than Widevine (which without plugin support in Safari, needs to be embedded in a native app).cant wait to see this open up. i personally think you give up too much having to write native apps for every device, internet connected tv, etc.

  29. deepeshbanerji

    i agree with you in general – but the powerful “store” concept – a leaderboard driven distribution hub over a search driven hub – is a key disrupter. brands matter, and product matters in this model!

  30. Avi Deitcher

    I spent 10 years in IT, the rest of my career in startups and consulting. I loved the Web paradigm – even in a homogeneous environment (i.e. no developing for multiple platforms and languages) – because the sheer cost of distribution and maintenance was absurd. It wasn’t the physical cost, it was the labour cost.I love the apps on my iPhone, which is now 3 years old, desperate for replacement, but I need something that works natively on both US 3G frequencies of 850/1900 and European/Israeli ones of 850/2100, and right now all I can find is the iPhone 4, but the whole download structure struck me as an enormous step backwards. Even worse, the caching of the mobile browser is non-controllable. It decides when to dump data and force a refresh, which is bad if you have no data connection at the moment.The same dynamics should drive Web for the mobile to replace apps. Not entirely, but to a very large degree.

  31. calabs

    So really what you’re saying is web first, mobile second? πŸ™‚

  32. rkapela

    I have been working on a pet project which supports both HTML5 and iPhone app. Supporting HTML5 provided the ability to iterate quickly and works great on newer generation smart phones. I ended up scrapping the iPhone app due to the extra overhead required to keep up with frequent iterations and the fact that users infrequently update an app once they download it. I think the marketing benefits of developing an app are limited due to the sheer number of new app being developed. Most startups with frequent iterations schedules and relatively simple UI needs will choose HTML5.

  33. NICCAI

    The future is now, thanks to webkit-based mobile browsing. With cache manifest, client-side storage, and other bits like web sockets, the prospects are fabulous. If your app is more data related, HTML5 is the way to go. For games, native is probably the right move. That said, I love what is being done with PhoneGap to allow you to package web apps into native. Some useful links:

    1. NICCAI

      Said this before also – I’ve thought for a long time that Apple is dead set on the success of HTML5. No app store can compete with them if most applications transition to the web. Apple will remain the premium app store (read games), while the others will be left wondering what they were pushing to begin with. Apple has also keenly crippled certain features in their devices (air play in safari for instance) in order to allow the jailbreak community to force the hand of content owners (aka Hollywood).

  34. Madgadget79

    yes, i agree

  35. palbi

    Surfing the web on your laptop is as easy as googlingOn your cell, instead, there is still a whole lot more of randomness which is why everybody seems content with using a store to download appBefore HTML5 apps can thrive I think this needs to be fixed

  36. andyidsinga

    I wrote a blog post a while back about some playing around I did with html5 “offline app” features.I was able to build a little test app using the the html5 app cache and then run it from an icon on my iphone home screen for months without any connection to the originating web server (html,css,js were in the browser’s app cache).Here’s the post:…On the mobile side – there are a bunch of things going on around “web widgets” – W3C widgets, WAC widgets – which are built using html, css and javascript – but can be installed locally on the device and run in what is called the “web runtime”. The web runtime includes a engine such as webkit and adds other APIs and platform sauce around it.I wrote a post on the Web Runtime on MeeGo here :…Hopefully those posts are helpful to those wanting to take the dive into the next level of detail in emerging web app tech.

  37. Rex838

    Not even just for apps, but games too. There is a big movement toward the creation of HTML5 games. They aren’t nearly as good as fully optimized native games, but HTML5 is definitely viable for casual games.

  38. Brian Armstrong

    I agree Fred – have you seen SproutCore?It’s still early, but as a developer if I had to pick a horse in the race it would be them.

  39. baba12

    Wonder if someone made a HTML5 mobile app to get the perfect turkey.Happy thanksgiving, may you come up with mobile apps that make difference in peoples lives. So far most of the stuff have been blah, make money yes but otherwise blah.

  40. David Robinson

    You should give on an iPad, an iphone and an Android (in the browser). Pretty darn impressive on iOS. Android just serves up the site as is on my EVO but it works just as well as the desktop.

  41. ShanaC

    what I find interesting about HTML5 -it puts power users and power programs more further entrenched in the computer. As much as I think aviary is cool- it can’t do things photoshop can do (with good reason, photoshop is very powerful) I suspect that we will see ta new branch of hard core tasks that can only be done mobile and those are the tasks that will really make smartphones ubiquitous (some people can live without being on all the time- so it is going to be something else)And congrats on the opinion change!

  42. Mark Pettersson

    Then all of the sudden you are wondering how to monetize the site. Why would I build say, an HTML 5 game and make 0$ when I could make > 0$ building a native app?

    1. fredwilson

      google makes way more money with a free app than anyone does with a paid app

      1. sonicgleek

        mmm, that’s google. not john developer. i am a proponent of the likes of the exciting “open app market” however there needs to be obvious revenue paths, or critical mass within a market like o.a.m. no? or are you saying google ads in an html 5 app delivers john more value?

        1. fredwilson

          if there is anything that the past 15 years has shown, it is the freeweb makes a lot more money than the paid web

          1. Nathan Hangen

            I think what he’s saying is that it’s nice that indie developers get a chance to play ball, thanks to the iTunes app store. Once that advantage is removed, it’s back to square 1, and even studios like Rovio are much less likely to find success.Is that what we want?

          2. fredwilson

            in a leaderboard driven world that is the app store, indie developersare screwed

    2. Aaron Klein

      HTML 5 vs. native is a difference in language, not a delivery mechanism. Apple should allow HTML 5 apps to be sold in the App Store – whether they will or not is an open question.

  43. Surge

    We are currently building these types of connected/disconnected browser-based HTML 5 mobile apps for our clients at

  44. Anjali Arora

    Sure there are still issues with HTML5. But as someone who has been digging deeper into this area for the past few months, HTML5 & CSS3 are divine developments in the web world. I actually switched from investing time & effort exploring Flex & Flash for my apps to HTML5. The major problem of course surrounds ensuring one’s experience works with older, & not-so-standards-compliant browsers.What amazes me is that the committee setting these standards (not sure if it’s 1W or 2WsC, it’s still early in the morning πŸ™ ) has actually observed & listened to all that’s going on with the world: so simple things like the long, rambling doctype thing is out the window, forms have been made so much easier so that some of the validation can happen without any javascript coming into play; and of course, the offline access that you allude to. Then there’s geo-location, web workers, & more. And if I remember right, one can create a Home button for the web app too to live on the device’s dashboard screen (where all the buttons for the native apps show up).Terrific developments.

  45. Chris Mottes

    Apologies for a small plug here friends, and hopefully a reminder for Fred πŸ˜‰ – check out – HTML5 template-based publishing from one simple dashboard across all mobile devices and Facebook, deliverable as bespoke apps for iPad & iPhone, and soon Android. Integrated cross-platform analytics and social media/commenting. I won’t go into the whole spiel here, but we strongly believe this is the way to go for digital and mobile publishing…I think this shows the difference HTML can make :). Again, apologies for the shameless plug, just seemed very relevant to the subject…

  46. vruz

    it’s happening fast and you are right, it’s not 5 years, more like 1 year, except for graphics-heavy and computation-heavy applications.

  47. Terry J. Leach

    In many ways apps on smart phones and tables is a throw back to the client-sever era and a compensation for what is not possible in the browser. As an entrepreneur I want waste time and resources creating any mobile apps, but I’ll dedicate resources to incorporate HTML5 into our web infrastructure.I believe in a couple of years we can produce device independent “apps” that are nothing more than icons on a device that link to the website. I’m sure the apps stores will still be in business so those worried about losing a sales channel need not worry.

  48. Shyam Subramanyan

    The first page on my iPhone is littered with apps that use the native functionality of the phone such as GPS, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, and the Camera and I switch between them multiple times within a matter of seconds. While some of these features are starting to be available via the browser, the performance is not going to be good enough in most situations. Who wants their iPhone to feel like pre iOS 4?

  49. Kevink

    Would there be any major differences in battery consumption between a native app and an HTML5 app? I always figured one would use much more energy than the other.

  50. Aaron Klein

    For this to really work, the mobile OS needs to provide offline caching, offline storage and easy-to-install icons for HTML 5 apps. That’s the experience that users want.The question is: will Apple provide this simple set of functionality?It would render the App Store monopoly obsolete.

  51. AaronMcg

    You might have another mind blowing moment when you realize that people are not going back to the days of “this site is best viewed with xxxxxxx browser.” Not on your nellie!However carried away by the hype and the marketing you are (especially those sucked into the rdf), that will not help when all everyone else can see is a website that doesn’t work for them. Look people it’s a flipping markup language… and not a very good one either! Unless you have exactly the right browser then it runs like a dog, Even when it does run the content is almost all awful and inferior to all the alternatives.Anyone who knows what they’re talking about will tell you that while html5 likes to cloaks itself in the guise of open development, in reality all the work is done by a few companies that are browser vendors, and they just are writing down whatever they want anyway.The truth is that HTML5 is just a big PR stunt, as many expected it’s turned out to be more marketing than IT. No one i know is interested in spending precious time learning this whale-song. It’s several years away, and always will be.

    1. Smartypants

      Yeah, HTML5 is a PR stunt, ok.

      1. Aaron

        Yeah, nice dismissive reply there mate.So, care to explain why it is that you want to inflict the whole “this site is best viewed with xxxxxxx browser” thing on people?If you stand back from the situation then it should be clear that HTML has been stretched way beyond its original intent – to deliver static, text-based documents. It’s not fit for task anymore – that’s all. HTML5 is just the latest symptom of the silly notion that it is.

        1. printy123

          I’ve not seen a single HTML5 app which says “best view with xxx browser”. If anything, they say “needs an HTML5-capable browser, such as xx, yy, or zz” — which is pretty much “everything except MSIE” at this point.And “best viewed with {{anything except MSIE}}” is far, far better than “requires mobile OS xxx version yyy”.Care to explain why you want to inflict the whole “requires a specific OS and version” thing on people?

          1. Aaronmc

            look at apples html4 demos. they only work with safari – oh dear!i never said i wanted to os specific requirements did i…? can you remind me when please…

  52. Bob

    It’s not five years… it’s happening now. A living example of it is EventMobi, a mobile platform for the event industry. Started as custom native app development and soon realized the process and cost structure will never scale to achieve mass adoption. With the advancement of HTML5 in all new phone browser, the gap between native and web for mobile is closing, especially for apps that don’t really need access to device hardware features and are just dealing with pure information!Optimized mobile web allowed us to offer practically the same product (an interactive mobile guide for conferences/tradeshows/festivals) at 1/10 of our competitors price and we can deploy our solution in an hour versus 4 weeks, not to mention it runs on all devices right off the bat! We are getting over 70% usage rates by attendees at events. Say cheese… :)These are revolutionary factors (time, cost, cross-platform) that are driving adoption for us, call it defying the app phenomena but for the SMB and B2B market, it’s the mobile web that will get faster traction.- Bob Founder @ (Toronto)

  53. Gregory Magarshak

    Definitely! And you should check out PhoneGap.I’m working on a project right now that I want to raise funding for. I’ve built the website, and now I’ll be porting it to the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and more. How? Not by hiring several teams of people who will create native apps. But by using PhoneGap.What PhoneGap does is put the basic common denominator there for you: a web browser pointing to AND exposes some things to your javascript, like the address book, accelerometer, etc. Sure it’s not all the features of a native app. But if you want to add something, you just write a plugin. Way faster than writing the whole app natively.It looks like HTML + Javascript is the future. Let’s hope that the standards become better and better. With Node.js, Javascript also makes its way to the server side, and it’s amazing (see Ryan Dahl’s presentation at Google).Google’s vision with Chrome OS is entirely right. Just download the app from the internet, cache it, and expose the native interface via Javascript objects to the app. The app can just do “feature detection”. The big challenge here is to STANDARDIZE the interface in Javascript, for the various phone features. There should probably be a standards body for this in about 2-3 years.

  54. Nxgui

    Native Apps are here to stay for a long time. There is no way to have coreAnimation, openGL etc. performance, with html5 at the moment. Yes, most of the application scenarios don’t have need for Rich client front-end, but if you sell rich UX today, the only model is to use App stores.

  55. raj

    I agree with you and I also don’t don’t like to download the app on my phones.1. If I’m changing my phone, then Ihave to download the application on new phone.2. The app can send my data to unknow web site.Currently, I’m using a mobile which has lots of integration with apps like facebook, linkedin, twitter, google buzz, etc.I’m sure, you are going to like it.

  56. Wallace B. McClure

    Web apps are cool. Unfortunately, there are things that they can’t do. Personally, I’m hedging my bets and investing personal resources into both native and html5 apps. I’ve done two iPhone programming books and am currently working on an Android programming book. While I’m not doing a mobile html5 book, I am speaking on the subject at a couple of conferences in 2011. Personally, I’m excited about the capabilities in both native and html5 apps.Wally

  57. Guest

    Wow! This sounds interesting, will this application also work on blackberry smartphones

  58. John

    Wow! This sounds interesting, will this application also work on blackberry smartphones…

  59. vedi

    I just built a mobile web app using jquery mobile. It works perfectly on my iPhone & Android.

  60. Matt A. Myers

    Agreed, but it depends on type of application. Also, the phone manufacturers may have something to do with that…Apple, for example, once the iPhone 4 came out, the next software update on my earlier version iPhone made the phone noticeably slower (which I am sure is purposeful, and should be illegal to do).I’m used to it being slower now, but I still notice it. And when I see the iPhone 4 speeds it’s maybe 4x the speed of navigating the phone.

  61. Martin De Saulles

    Not sure this is always true – I’ve just been comparing a browser app (Kompass for Basecamp) and it’s not much slower than the Beacon app for Basecamp.

  62. Aaron Klein

    I think a piece of this is treating HTML 5 apps as apps instead of browser tabs.You should be able to have HTML 5 apps run individually with their own icon, and when you multi task, they appear separately with their own icon.When apps feel like they are buried behind the browser…they feel slower.

  63. Elia Freedman

    Matthew, that is probably because old hardware is not as capable as new hardware and thus can’t handle the new capabilities. iOS 4 adding multitasking and app background was a huge change on resource usage. I don’t think it is a conspiracy.

  64. Matt A. Myers

    They think ahead about everything else, so not sure why they wouldn’t want to keep my current phone’s performance as high (with having a different release that will keep the phone working the same) — unless they want me to upgrade. πŸ™‚