Hey, you there on your iPad 2 with the nifty magnetic Smart Cover! Check out the Apollo 11 Lunar take off . Oh wait, you can’t because you don’t have Adobe Flash. Before you give up hope, double check in Apple App Store to be sure you can’t access it. This matter has led marketers to an ongoing parley of whether to create an app or a mobile web browser.
Mobile App vs. Mobile Web
As soon as your company is ready to go mobile you are faced with the question: To App or not to App? This is a question that has stumped marketers for some time now considering that mobile browsers are just as useful. What makes one better than the other? Mobile Apps are great for using offline, can be developed for each platform, and extremely effective for a large, dedicated user base. Whereas, web browsers are cross-platform, can be discovered through any search engine and are always up to date but cannot be used offline. This debate is ongoing and circular but if you add HTML5 into the mix it becomes apparent that web browsing is quickly becoming the way to go.
HTML5, what are you?
HTML5 is a coding language developed to structure pages on the World Wide Web. In simpler terms, it is the backbone of the Internet. While still in the developmental phase, so far, it combines visual, audio, canvas and interactive elements into one without the addition of processor intensive proprietary plugins, such as Adobe Flash, and APIs. In the mobile world, providers, such as Apple with iPad and iPhone, aim to create the best user experience with maximum battery life. In doing so, they dropped the plugins and are in search of the solution (i.e. HTML5).
Although an extremely complex and intricate code that you may not understand, chances are you have already been exposed to it. Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox 3.6 are supporting elements of HTML5. Or even in the smallest form like drag-and-drop in Gmail are created through the interactive element of HTML5. Want to dig a little deeper? Give it a try and join the HTML5 trial on YouTube.
Geolocation & Marketing Possibilities
With so much of the location-based attention on GPS-enabled mobile applications, we should all pause for a moment to reflect upon the promise of HTML5 in this area. Companies like Yellow Pages are already testing location-based ad delivery. An example of this can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJLn6XX8oCI
As most devices with web capabilities are already compatible with HTML5, this transition is relatively simple. Which can already be seen with New York Times, CNN and CBC who have made their sites “iPad Ready” and have pledged to be using HTML5 for videos in place of Flash. Furthermore, the cost for development is minimal compared to creating an App for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android. The web browsers are easily discoverable and can be kept up to date so users are always using the latest version. HTML5 is even showing signs of allowing some offline usage! Now if you need to decide between the mobile App and mobile web, just think HTML5.
If you are a Flash game junkie, do not fret because Flash isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Most games are unable to be developed in HTML5, although Mozilla is sure trying through their multiple demos. So, next time you hear HTML5 being tossed around in a conversation they are not referring to someone’s BBM pin, they are discussing the future of the Internet. Don’t miss the bandwagon. Is your company “iPad Ready”?