HTML5: Will this be the beginning of end of iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7?

Mobile apps is one of the hottest technology these days and it seems that any developer with creative idea can build an app, deploy it for iOS, Android or Windows Phone 7, and can monetize on it and be rich overnight. But these mobile apps have a competition now – HTML5!. It is another hottest technology which will revolutionize both the mobile space and desktop applications space. See my prev article on HTML5 Revolution and HTML5 aiding Web Centricity.

A lot of mobile developers believe that Apple, Google and possibly Microsoft will be last players standing in mobile space. It’s only a matter of time before Blackberry, Symbian, Meego will go the way of dinosaurs. With the technology changing rapidly, and as consumer demands and expectations rise, companies cannot afford to write web-app for a particular device and then re-write the same web-app for rising number of other devices. More importantly companies like Apple cannot assert control on what developers can do or cannot do. Developers need write once, deploy anywhere solution (something like Java) for mobile world. Of course, there are several advantages of coding in native platform like for example, apps coded in native run faster, rich in feature, easier to code, huge developer base to rely on, able to monetize etc. HTML5 apps will not replace the mobile web apps in near future, but with advancements in HTML5 it’s
only a matter of time before it catches up with features in mobile web apps/platform.

HTML5 Shortcomings:
Currently HTML5 has a few shortcomings compared to native web apps like:
– no native integration with camera/video access, no contact access, no bluetooth access,
– performance/bandwidth issues,
– viable business model (no monetary gains as such compared to iOS, Android platform) and
– the biggest of all, look-and-feel of HTML5 can’t match with look-and-feel of native apps and few others.
HTML5 is still working to close these gaps and is atleast a few years away!

Who’s gone HTML5 way?

  • Walmart, Amazon, Financial times apps on smart phones/tablets have long gone way of HTML5 because of high Apple markup fees (30% of revenue of apps sold through its store) and severe restrictions on direct marketing inside the apps by Apple
  • Windows 8 platform is fully supporting apps built using HTML5. Quoting Microsoft’s press-release-

    Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC. …….. Windows 8 apps use the power of HTML5, tapping into the native capabilities of Windows using standard JavaScript and HTML to deliver new kinds of experiences.

  • IE 9, Opera 10, Safari 5 and Chrome 9 now fully support HTML5

HTML5 is too compelling for native to win but time will tell. Developers – are you ready?

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