The mobile application market is growing incredibly fast. According to a research done by the World Mobile Applications Market, the industry is forecasted to expand to £13 billion by 2015. That is a fast increase, considering it was at just £4.5 billion in 2010.
Naturally, more and more businesses are investing dollars into this area. Customers are going mobile, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. However, before rushing to join the mobile world, companies need to strongly consider which development option is best for their specific business.
There are essentially three ways to develop a mobile app: HTML 5, native, or hybrid.
Native apps provide the best features, usability, and overall user-experience. They run faster because they can operate offline, and they look and feel better to the user. An added bonus is that they come with a powerful marketing channel – the app store.
Examples include Facebook and Xero. Both of these companies have traded HTML5 for native apps because of their looks, performance and marketability.
On the other hand, native aps are quite expensive to build. They need to be built multiple times to be compatible with all the major operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows.) These projects require highly skilled developers and programmers. They are also subject to device upgrades, so every time Apple or Android decides to upgrade you may need to make changes, which means more costs for you.
If your audience has constant access to the Internet, and they do not need to use the device’s in-built functionalities (like the camera,) then an HTML 5 app might be the right solution for you.
This type of development option is popular because it meets most business challenges, and can also be integrated with other systems like CRMs. HTML 5 applications are great for developing value services for customers, staff efficiency platforms, and B2B communications systems.
Over the last year, HTML 5 has solved some very complex problems for developers. However, it does have some significant limitations, especially for the enterprise. The main restraints are security and offline storage capabilities.
Hybrid apps offer the best of both worlds. They can be sold in the app stores, and can be built to be compatible across all operating systems. They can also use device functionalities like the camera, which provides users with a smoother experience. Additionally, they are sometimes cheaper to make than native apps. Experienced developers can now create sophisticated applications that don’t sacrifice native capabilities.
So What Should you Choose?
Should you build your next mobile app in Native, Hybrid, or HTML 5 code? Well, developers will advice you to take the side that makes more sense to your specific situation. Last year everyone was betting on HTML 5 to win the case, but its not that simple.
There’s no one size fits all solution in the mobile development process. The choice is based strictly on business needs, timeline, skillset and other important factors. Studies show that 40% of developers have begun building native apps, only to switch to HTML 5. Another 31% have begun building hybrids, just to switch over to native. The lesson? Understand your specific needs before starting the development process.
What is important to determine then is if developers have the tools and knowledge they need to do an effective job, regardless of approach the approach that your company chooses to go with.