Slow and steady wins the race might be the motto for the mobile web in the battle against native apps. A recent study by U.K. ABI Research firm admits that native apps have taken the lead, predicting an average of 36 billion native apps will be downloaded in 2012. This amounts to a 6% increase from last year’s number. However, researchers believe that the momentum of native apps won’t continue due to the evolution of the mobile web.
According to Mark Walsh of MediaPost:
“Despite the gain, the firm believes the average download count won’t increase substantially in the coming years, given the evolution of the mobile Web. It points to the Financial Times’ decision to pull the plug on its iOS app and switch to HTML5 as a harbinger of what’s to come, especially among traditional publishers.
‘News and magazine apps are a segment where the momentum is likely to shift towards the Web within the next two to three years,’ noted senior analyst Aapo Markkanen. ‘Since news and media content already account for a large share of smartphone usage and are likely to play an even bigger role in later adopters’ usage, changes in this segment alone will make subscribers on average download fewer native apps.’”
What led the Financial Times to ditch their native app? For one, mobile web apps are easier and cheaper to build and maintain. They offer simpler updates without any effort from the end users. And most importantly, web apps are safe. The mobile app industry is constantly changing, but the web isn’t going anywhere. With a web app you can ensure that you are protected from any industry changes.
Do you think more companies will switch to web apps – or that native apps will continue to soar? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.