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Native vs Web apps

Network coverage is not the only problem with Web apps.

Browser-based apps- the pressing problem of network coverage – AnalystXpress – the Juniper Resea

MediaShift . How Publishers Can Bypass Apple with HTML5 Web Apps – PBS

Some areas where native apps (still) shine:

  • Network coverage (no need for, except when installing/upgrading, unless high scores are uploaded etc)
  • UI functionality (modern smartphone UIs are extremely rich, and Javascript might require considerably more plumbing)
  • Access to local functionality (yet, e.g. accelerometer, gyro, location etc can be accessed from Javascript)
  • Performance (not so critical for e.g. casino games and productivity apps)
  • Payments (through download via app store)
  • Installation (true install vs bookmark)

And ditto for Web apps:

  • Easier cross-brand/device compatibility (potentially)
  • Independence of app store and brand development agreements and environments
  • Faster development for any platform (and we get more and more smartphone platforms)
  • Re-use your Javascript etc skillset
  • Simpler upgrades as content is server-side even though it’s run client-side

Note that the concepts can be easily combined by downloading a native app that embeds a browser that opens the Web app. A method that is already heavily deployed and gives Web apps the same payment benefits as native apps, but the coverage etc issues remains, unless browser caching is vastly improved.