Native Application vs. HTML5


What’s the future for native mobile applications? Will HTML5 replace native applications? Which would you prefer to use when you’ve decided to position yourself on mobiles? It’s been an ongoing debate in the community of developers for a long time. In order to address both sides of the discussion, we intend to answer to the following questions:
  • What distinguishes the two technologies?
  • What are their respective advantages and disadvantages?

From here on out, mobile presence can’t be ignored.

That’s the first thing to keep in mind. The amount of Internet traffic from mobile devices is already approaching 20%. The distribution of smartphones will continue to grow and the market for tablets is just beginning. In the first half of 2011, about 35% of mobile phones were smartphones. The majority of these smartphones include a browser that’s completely HTML compatible, and the majority of the other devices support a simplified form of functions traditionally performed on a browser. Carriers offer unlimited access to the mobile Internet. Mobile Internet has made its way into our lives, and we’re now at a point of no return.

A global application?

With easy usability, relatively low development costs, compatibility with most devices, free access to source codes, possibility for search engine optimization and distribution across multiple search engines; its evident that Web applications, or WebApps, which use HTML5 technology, present certain advantages. They follow W3C Standards and by definition, are independent from the devices on which they run. At the end of the day, HTML5 is relevant should you focus on being easily compatible with most devices.

An application that uses all the device’s resources?

On the other hand, native applications are dependent on the features of the devices on which they run; or at least dependent on the operating system that they equipped with. An iOS application (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) is developed in the Objective-C language, an Android application in Java and a Windows application in C#.
In contrast to WebApps, native applications allow access to telephone features that aren’t easily accessible on a web application. For example, advanced geolocation, Push messages, and Offline browsing which is made possible thanks to the cache management. The competition between telephone manufacturers, and also between the creators of mobile operating systems is very fierce. Innovation in the matter of functionality is endless, and from this point of view, native applications will always have the upper hand on the mobile web.
Native apps take full advantage of each device’s capacities. They offer better fluidness, higher speeds, greater interactivity, incomparable user experience and finest design. A complete system exists for native applications, which allows them to be promoted on popular marketplaces: App Store for iOS applications, Android Market for Android applications and Windows Marketplace for WP7 applications.

In conclusion

So, the question remains, native applications or HTML5? The answer depends on how you want your finished product to perform and how much the user experience matters to you.
GoodBarber has chosen to focus on 100% native apps, allowing for multi-platforms at a lower price. GoodBarber will bet that the native application capacities will serve the needs of demanding content publishers for a long time.