Native smartphone applications may be a thing of the past due to the advent of HTML5. According to a recent study by A.T. Kearney, the global strategy consultancy, HTML5 will revolutionise the apps market, addressing some significant flaws from both a consumer and economic perspective.

The report found that there are two structural limitations with the native apps boom – both from a demand and supply perspective. For consumers, accessing content and services through apps is limited in comparison to the relative freedom of browsing the internet. In addition, consumers are likely to grow tired of having to update (or even repurchase) apps when they change their smartphone or tablet.

Widespread support for the new standard suggests that most digital services and content for mobile phones will eventually be delivered via HTML5 browser-based apps. From a developers’ perspective, using HTML5 could dramatically reduce the time they spend coding, as one app will run across multiple platforms.

HTML5 will work with any online payment technology, enabling developers or content companies to provide customers with a choice of payment methods. It will allow developers to embed links to specific web pages into specific parts of an app, a technique which can be particularly useful for promotions and advertising. This “deep linking” has not been easy to do in native apps. In contrast, HTML5 will open up the range of distribution channels and loosens the grip on the closed OS-centric stores.

Laurent Viviez, vice president and head of A.T. Kearney’s Southern African telecoms business, says “HTML5 could rewrite the rules on app development – it’s potentially a massive game changer.”

Content providers and developers may come to regard HTML5 as a mixed blessing. Whilst HTML5 will reduce their reliance on the current OS platforms, it may intensify competition even further by lowering barriers to entry.

Viviez says “HTML5 has the same strengths that made the web (which is built on previous HTML versions) so successful, but it also supports the seamless integration of Flash-style media and interactivity, coupled with offline capabilities. These attributes make HTML5 apps more robust in areas with bad mobile coverage or no connectivity. HTML5 is likely to continue to enjoy broad support from across the telecoms, media and technology sectors. Moreover it may also help reduce the commoditisation risks for device manufacturers by enabling them to create better customer experience to produce a distinctive user interface.”

“HTML5 isn’t just another technology standard. Its impact could be profound enough to fundamentally alter the balance of power on the mobile internet. It won’t be a magical silver bullet that can eliminate all the downsides to native apps in a single stroke. But it is going to significantly change the way many apps are distributed and is a shift that will have ramifications across the entire mobile ecosystem.”

Source: IOL SciTech

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