10th April 2012
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Events represent some challenging conditions for successful mobile apps, both in terms of accessibility to good data connections, and the need for ultra high performance and usability when engaging a busy and distracted audience. Native apps score much higher than mobile web options on both these key factors, as well as offering more functionality. With regards to offline content, mobile web options using html5 can offer the chance to cache content, but the standard is new, does not yet work consistently across devices and is still some way short of a native user experience. The arguments for mobile web usually centre around ease of updating, and cost, which are mitigated by effective platforms delivering and managing native apps with the same level of control and efficiency. While there is no doubt that in the coming few years mobile app development generally will move towards html5 as the standard improves, we see the demand for native apps at events remaining high for some time to come.
Creating a mobile website allows you to quickly create an experience which will work across multiple different devices, as it’s all in the browser. You can create an app for iphones or android using html5 (ie a web app) which means you don’t need to learn Objective C or Java or contract this out to a specialised developer. This also means that you can lower your cost, concentrating on one codebase over multiple, and increase efficiency because you aren't having to update or manage content in two different systems.
That said, there are some really interesting developments now that enable you to transform your web app into a native app for apple and android, which lets you enjoy the best of both worlds – a single codebase and presence on app stores. www.phonegap.com is an example of this and well worth a look.