So lets look at the facts...
- When reading product reviews: 78% of customers used a browser, 22% used an app
- Reading blogs: 75% prefer the web
- Catching up on sports scores: 67% have their favourite site
- Keeping up to date on the latest in news: 63% don’t need to install jack
- Social Networking: 54% of people would surprisingly prefer to use a native application
- Gaming: Isn’t really a hard pill to swallow: 6 out of 10 people want to download an app
The case for native applications seems pretty compelling, especially when you take on board the fact that the Apple App store recently had it's 10 Billionth (yes Billion!) app download. Mobile is without doubt getting a bigger share of the market, more so as devices get easier to use and mobile broadband more ubiquitous. With is in mind surely you'd be mad not to have an approved application on iTunes or the Android app store? Well we think not, why? before you shout "your mental" here's why we believe native applications, that is apps designed specifically for use on a particular device are going to become a fad...
Native applications fly in the face of what the web is about, granted they can be a great revenue creator but they tend to silo the web rather than connect it, by creating a locked platforms only accessible via the app you build walls rather links between websites and creates the equivalent of a gated community, but one that's not allowed out to play beyond the confines of it's perimeter. Now surely this is not a web we want, where to get the best content or access your favourite social network your forced to download an app and be trapped within its confines as dictated by its design. Surely the web we know is interconnected, hyperlinked fluid and open? so whats the alternative?
Well we have followed recent developments in HTML5 (unfortunately delayed till 2015) and jQuery closely and if you pair this with the fact that browsers are gearing up to become your new desktop, you can see a different reality begins to take shape. In this new future (one Google has already seen) your browser window is your finder (for OSX users) or if you prefer for windows users your desktop, and within it you view the web, a seamless experience in which you don't need physically download "applications" via an "app store", you simply go to a page and it works. Now this is not say that app stores will die off, they may very well become gateways or shop fronts to the web pages we use on a daily basis. The difference here is that its not so much an app that your downloading just an advanced webpage that you access.
With the recent advances in browser technology these webpages can now increasingly mould themselves to what ever platform is viewing them i.e. delivering an iPhone or Blackberry version or tradition desktop version. This is the fundamental reason why we think native apps will be a passing fad, not only does they ask users to search and increasing array of applications but means developers need to deploy for a multitude of platforms. User just want a seamless experience.
Web developers have been praying for CSS standards, and good HTML support why? because it means we don't have to code for different platforms, the utopian idea, being that you make a web page and it displays the same but with content optimised either for desktop or mobile viewing. And there in lies the key, this "utopian" ideal isn't far away, browsers, and mobile devices are becoming accelerated power houses that are now powerful and versatile enough to ape you computer OS. In this situation you won't need a NATIVE apps, just a browser!
We see a future were it wont matter wether your on a laptop or an iPad, Blackberry or iPhone as long as you can run a the latest browser, content is available to you when ever, were ever you have an internet connection. So get prepared for the games of the future to be released with "compatible with chrome and firefox" as a selling point, your desktop to increasingly disappear into "the cloud" and of course native apps to take a massive plummet.
The browser is the future of the web - just the basic webpage you know and love is going to become as feature rich as Photoshop, Pro-tools, Office or even your Operating System.