5 Reasons Native Mobile Apps are More Efficient Than HTML5

December 03, 2015

For those who are more tech-savvy, the difference between HTML5 and native mobile apps may not need further explanation, but let’s start with a quick reminder to jog our memory:

An HTML5 app basically operates through a website (built with JavaScript code for instance) which can be accessed using a browser. This allows the user experience to feel ‘interactive’, in the sense that you’re not dealing with a ‘static’ website that needs to constantly be refreshed in order to visualize changes.

Native apps, on the other hand, are built to suit a specific platform such as iOS or Android, using the ‘right’ language or code for that platform. Thanks to this, native apps are able to leverage the operating system features and other software installed on the platform (such as GPS or automatic alerts), as well as the hardware (i.e. an integrated camera).

According to the PewResearch data from 2015, 79% of Americans aged 30-49 own a smartphone and as much as 85% do in the 18-29 age group. There are currently an estimated 6 billion people worldwide who own mobile devices, and available data from 2014 suggests that native app usage on smartphones will continue to grow, with native mobile advertising also on the rise.

While the question is not to argue whether mobility and mobile apps are here to stay or not, there is something to be said about why certain types of app architecture are more efficient (and result in a better user experience) than others. Here are 5 reasons why the next app you download should be native:

1. Leverage the latest technologies

Because native apps can leverage both the hardware and software installed on a specific platform, they can take advantage of the latest technology available on your mobile device (i.e. camera or GPS).

As a user, native apps will give you access to a much wider range of features: If you own an IPhone 6, for instance (or use one through your company’s BYOD policy, this means that the native app you just downloaded could potentially tap into ‘touch ID’, Apple’s ‘biometric authentication’ technology. Incidentally, this also points towards native apps as winners when it comes to safeguarding your data.

2. Benefit from easy onboarding

Native apps can be downloaded directly from any app store and easily installed on most smartphones. To deploy an HTML5 app, on the other hand, the user must necessarily receive a URL before downloading its content.

Facebook, to give an example, is one of many F500 companies in the Tech space recognizing the importance of apps that are ‘focused, simple, fast and easy to use’. The social media network’s usage via mobile has ‘skyrocketed’ since making a move towards native apps for iOS and Android.

It’s worth mentioning that a ‘third’ type of app exists: hybrid apps. Hybrid apps are developed using programming languages like HTML or JavaScript and then ‘wrapped’ in a native application or framework. While they benefit from some of the advantages of native apps, such as easy onboarding, they are generally more complex to build and potentially slower.

3. Access more data, faster and even in offline mode

Depending on the architecture of your native app of choice, Internet connectivity may not be necessary, allowing for an and remotely accessible data. Not only this, but native apps will also allow you to access more of your data, whereas the volume of data you can access through HTML5 is more limited. The Enablon Audit, Inspection and Safety apps for instance, adapt to the way people work today by allowing incident reporting, inspections and audits to be conducted on the go, directly from the field, with or without a network connection.

Because native apps are able to directly leverage the technology of the device (both software, and hardware), they also tend to function at a higher speed. HTML5 web technology on the other hand, must first be interpreted by the browser, making it slower and more vulnerable to network failures.

4. Enjoy an enhanced user experience

If there’s one compelling reason users are drawn to native apps, it’s the overall quality of the experience they offer. Thanks to familiar and standardized interfaces and flows, native apps tend to be more intuitive and better equipped to host visual content. As we’ve already pointed out, the fact that native apps also work at speeds not currently reached through HTML5, even offline, are also definite strengths in terms of user satisfaction.

5. Gain acces to innovative apps developed in a growing market

According to a Developer Economics 2015 Q1 survey on app developer trends, quizzing over 8000 app developers in 143 countries, a staggering 77% of app developers offer their professional services to either Android or iOS (40% and 37% respectively). According to the same survey, 53% of mobile developers are currently working on projects related to the Internet of Things, evidencing where the future of mobility is heading and the nature of an innovative, young and continuously evolving market.

Thanks to the understanding that we live in an increasingly complex and interconnected world, at Enablon, we aim to leverage the challenges and opportunities of mobility through a contextual and empowering mobile app offering, focused on helping businesses increase productivity and operational efficiency, while reducing risks.