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mobile marketing and HTML 5 spawn friends with benefits


HTML 5 versus branded apps

by Kenneth Rudich

Is mobile marketing about to reap benefits from HTML 5?

The advent of HTML 5 has spawned speculation about whether there will continue to be a proliferation of device specific mobile apps; or if on the other hand, the mobile landscape will begin to look more like the web/desktop world with standards-based mobile web browsers that allow cross platform content development.

There’s a split in thinking here.  Technology research firm Gartner believes mobile apps store revenue will surpass $15 billion in 2011.  And while that may well be the case for 2011, what will happen after that?

Many wonder if the introduction of HTML 5 will lead to an eventual decline in the demand for native applications and plug-ins, due to greater interoperability.

From a marketing perspective, this is a bit of a tug-of-war.  Those with successful app stores certainly don’t want to see their revenues reduced to a whimper because of interoperability. 

On the other side of the coin, most marketers — especially small and mid-sized businesses — would rather do away with the added expense of having to separately work with multiple devices and platforms.  After all, this would help to level the playing field with their big business counterparts who can afford to do it without even so much as a wince.

So in the years ahead, it’ll be curious to see if history repeats itself with the same converging twists and turns that pc web browsers took; or if a different set of forces – those with strong proprietary interests and the financial wherewithal to protect them – will prevail instead. 

Or maybe for a while it’ll be a combination of the two sparring with each other.

Consider this scenario: as interoperability forges ahead, consumers will continually prune their devices of native apps they no longer need.

In response, developers of native apps will replace the discarded ones with new and better products that enhance the user experience in the face of growing interoperability.  In essence, they will continue with finding ways to sustain the niche they’ve carved out for themselves. 

From there, it’ll be like a game of leapfrog with one always aiming to outdo the other.  As one app dies at the hands of interoperability, another is born. 

It may not be a marriage made in heaven but it could be one that works…for a while at least.


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