Native app or Web app for mobile? It depends of course.

Recently I read two articles talking about the choice between native apps and web apps for your mobile solution. Both articles came at it from different angles. What came across for me in both was know your audience and how they will be using your mobile solution. What’s not discussed is the marketing reasons for having an app. If it’s cool for your brand and you think you can generate more traffic and buzz with an app – invest in one.

This readwrite mobile article Native Apps Versus Mobile Web: A Primer For Publishers provides a great overview of the choices you need to make when deciding on which direction to take. Native apps can be expensive and difficult to maintain but can offer more interactivity and better performance. Mobile Web apps may make it easier to deploy the same content across multiple devices but you may be limited in deploying rich media. This article includes a hybrid approach as well. I really agreed with this advice from André T.M. Alfuero, SVP of technology for Digitas. “The future is always uncertain, so it is key for publishers to stay flexible, Keeping content portable should be a major focus area”. He went on to say that publishers should focus on their content strategies as a whole.

A little while back Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg called Facebook’s HTML5 web app one of the biggest mistakes they made. Does that mean we should all give up on web apps and HTML5? As this article HTML5 is dead. Long live HTML5 on CNET explains there are many things to consider when deciding to go native or to create a mobile web app. Native apps can take advantage of closer integration with the phone but web apps can be updated in one place and cover many platforms. Make sure you know your audience and what features they need when mobile. As always make sure you have the resources to keep your apps up to date both technically and editorially. Read the full article and Zuckerberg’s full comments.

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