Enterprise Mobile Apps – Native Vs HTML5?


April 5, 2013
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The debate on mobile application development in native or HTML 5 mode is still prevalent. Though there are more native mobile apps than HTML 5 based mobile apps, the conflict in the choice of development continues in the development environment. The primary comparison arises between rich, high performing native user experiences of native apps and the cost benefits associated with write once and deploy anywhere of HTML 5 apps.

Native apps leverage the mobile device capabilities to a greater extent of camera, geo-location, and animation to provide richer user experience. Native apps utilize the full capabilities of the OS capabilities. App store monetization is yet another benefit of developing native mobile apps, as native app stores have monetization models which is beneficial to the developer. It is easy to locate native apps on the web with exclusive app stores. Apple & Google App stores are ideal examples. Security of the source code, data in offline & online modes is very strong in native mobile apps.

HTML 5 based mobile apps leverage the web and the write once and deploy anywhere feature provides cost benefits. The costs involved in deploying apps in cross platform scenarios is relatively less comparing with the native app deployment. This cost benefit is the primary reason to opt for HTML 5 based mobile apps. HTML 5 apps run on device browsers. HTML 5 based apps can be distributed only through a browser and do not have capabilities to be monetized like a native app store. HTML 5 based mobile apps can be distributed directly to the consumers and do not require any third party intervention like an app store. Monetizing HTML 5 mobile apps is relatively difficult with lack of ad networks and standard payment frameworks. The opportunities of monetizing over the web are still growing and have not matured like the native apps. Developers are looking out for possible ways to make HTML 5 based apps equally secure as native mobile apps.

There is no single winner in this debate between native and HTML 5 based mobile apps. It solely depends on the requirements and the functionalities needed in the mobile application.