January 27, 2013

Mobile web apps vs native apps

Apple has been the driving force of the mobile world going apps instead of web. With the App Store's more than 600,000 apps and even more apps in Android's Google Play, native apps have been a big success. Many type of applications, including games, really use the additional performance of native apps.

But for news publishers coming from the web world, native apps creates issues. Including the approval process and the additional cost of developing for iOS and Android.

App Store and Google Play are retail stores. They solve part of the distribution issue by making it easy to install an app, but they don't make it very easy to discover apps. And they don't support organic search traffic.

With the performance of web apps like Fastbook (a very fast proof-of-concept implementation of Facebook Mobile in HTML5) and the Financial Times web app, news organizations should think a lot about if the advantage of app store distribution outweighs the additional cost of developing multiple native mobile apps.

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