Use HTML5 to Enhance Your Mobile Apps Longevity

Posted on 25. Apr, 2011 by in Thoughts

You’are an investor, you love a new project, and you understand digital can being a real money maker. You have the oppertunity to invest in a new mobile app. You ask all the usual Dragon’s Den questions, you like the app – it’s clearly got potential. But wait, did you ask about HTML5? Roll VT…

I love Facebook for research. It gives me an idea of what my real friends are up to online. Over the past month, I have been intrigued by the amount of status updates from my friends suggesting Live Profile.

Live Profile is a real-time mobile messenger app available on App Store, Android Market and BlackBerry App World. Connect and chat with your friends, stay in-touch – simple.

It’s not the first messenger app to catch my eye; I wrote about PingChat before, anticipating it going viral (I know, ‘viral’ is a phenomenon, not a strategy…).

Comparing the mentions of both Live Profile and PingChat in Google Trends, it’s clear that the Live Profile app is a real hot potato during March – April:

Live Profile vs. Ping Chat Google Trend

However, we can see Live Profile’s mentions make a sharpe decline end of March, start of April. Going back to Facebook for research, I can reveal potentially why; not everyone has a mobile phone that can download apps.

  • Aww, I can’t download it…
  • How do I get it on my Nokia…
  • It doesn’t load up on my BB…

It’s the same barrier mobile apps will come up against again and again – not everyone can use them. In this case, Google Trends would insinuate Live Profile has hit critical mass (Apple, Android and BlackBerry smartphone users) and has no more pie to consume (none of the above) thus its demise.

HTML5 is Cross-Compatible

Ok, I have a few confessions… im not an investor, nor do I know how investment works (beyond Dragon’s Den), and im sure Live Profile will prosper further from Facebook’s innability to mobilise its ‘Chat’ feature as well as others, but I do know about mobile apps and HTML5, and my two pence is don’t alienate users by having a single channel strategy e.g. ‘just’ an app; If you create a mobile app, use HTML5 to also create a just as good mobile web experience, like if you were to create an AJAX based website, you would (hopefully) create a just as functional accessible alterantive – it’s the same for Flash too.

HTML5 offers developers the platform to create app-like experiences on the mobile web. Take Facebook Touch as an example, offers everything the Facebook app can, minus the app. So, the questions is, would we have seen Live Profile’s trend line prosper further if they had a HTML5 equivelent version of their app? Who knows, but if your thinking about creating or even investing in an app or mobile website anytime soon, make sure you consider the impact HTML5 may (will) have on your plans. It’s clear the direction of mobile apps and websites are getting closer together.

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