More and more evidence is revealing that Apple is losing market share – fast. The company that pretty much invented the modern mobile app experience is losing ground, according to recent analyst results published in a recent Business Insider article. Apple is quickly losing ground to Android, as more and more popular smartphones and tablet formats like the Galaxy S3 and Note mini tablet take off.
But what does this mean for businesses (especially those with limited IT and development resources) looking to extend their business applications and data into the mobile realm? I would argue that the ebb and flow of the mobile platform tide further makes the case for mobile web apps versus building native mobile applications.
There are many platforms that one might have to support with native mobile applications – Android and iOS are just two of them. And as Windows 8 mobile OS looks more and more of a contender, this problem is further compounded. Add in the additional issue of building those same apps for use as native tablet experiences – and a small business can quickly be in over its head trying to develop, deploy, and maintain native apps over a handful of disparate platforms.
That is why web-based mobile applications can be such a strong value proposition for small and medium business, as well as enterprises looking to stay nimble. Web apps are typically platform-agnostic making development faster, and deployment instant. Simply point to a URL and you’re good to go. Changes in form factor, such as a new Android phone with all sorts of new buttons and controls, will not affect the operation of a web app like it would a native application.
Cost is also an issue. The simplicity of building web apps on third party, secure cloud platform like Caspio can be far more cost effective. Rather than taking the time and resources to learn native mobile developer languages and tools, or paying third party designers to build native apps (and then having to pay for any additional customizations, updates, etc.) – simple, no-code required cloud -platforms can extend existing apps to the mobile web with a few tweaks. And building new apps designated for mobile use is far less complex as well – it’s about configuring, not coding.
We have seen many developer languages, platforms, standards, etc. come and go. One thing that has remained a pretty near constant over its lifetime is the web browser experience. The stability of the browser as user interface should give businesses looking to extend into mobile apps some peace of mind. And as we move to an “always on” world where internet connectivity becomes more and more of a given, web apps are a strong bet in an uncertain mobile platform future.