The long standing debate between native and HTML5 apps has no end in sight. While the staunch advocates of each solution have their reasons, the inconvenient truth is a very boring cliché…“It depends”.
For most, it comes down to development costs. Young entrepreneurs look at HTML5 and ponder the financial section of their business strategy – and it makes perfect sense to them. You want a cheap option and a one-size-fits-all solution? HTML5 is a no brainer. But where you may get breadth with this approach, it’s very hard to achieve depth.
That’s where native apps come in.
Unlike HTML5, native apps require expertise on your platform of development. The result is more control at the developer’s discretion and complete freedom to utilize the hardware’s strengths. This makes it easy to conceive an experience that is tailor-made for the user of a particular platform. From button placements, to design and even the way a screen transition happens; everything can be tinkered to pixel perfection.
There’s a particular way every Android and iOS application behaves that’s often starkly different, even if the application itself is the same. This is because the users on either side of the fence have grown accustomed to an experience that they take for granted – more so now than perhaps five years ago. They expect the settings of an app to perform in a certain way. For example, what should happen on a long press and how long it takes to load . If you’re not meeting these standards, then it doesn’t matter how market-disruptive your app is.
Where HTML5 is restricted by the efficiency of a web browser, native apps can control how their background processes are computed. And since they’re virtually devoid of any internet bandwidth limitation, they’re able to process large amounts of data exponentially quicker. Speaking of the internet, that’s another challenge for HTML5 applications. Even though many countries have moved on to 4G, there’s a significant portion of the world where broadband edge (remember that?) is a luxury. There’s a huge market out there with limited internet access that can only be tapped by native apps.
It’s also one of the reasons many companies, including Facebook and LinkedIn, changed from HTML5 application to native. The ability to access camera, GPS, accelerometer, processor cores, memory and OS-specific features trumps HTML5’s platform agnostic approach all day long. In today’s modern world, you’re able to disappoint users simply because your application loads a few seconds slower. This can be the difference between your brilliant app taking off or falling flat on its face. And where a refined user experience is concerned, you will not find a better solution than native.