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Native vs. Web Apps

Written by: Andrew Rybak

I was very interested to read that the Financial Times has replaced their native iPhone/iPad app (found here) with a browser based version that will run on any iOS device. The Financial Times claims that this is a better and faster app, and they stress the benefits of not having to go through iTunes to download the app or to receive updates.  For Financial Times, this of course also means that they are not subject to Apple’s 30% take of content/apps sold through iTunes. Attempts to bypass paying such fees appear to be on the rise among media companies, as noticed by Wired in this article.

AT NTG we are frequently asked to weigh in on the native app vs. mobile site decision faced by our customers. We do not believe that there is a singular, one size fits all, approach as each app is different. Sometimes a native app makes the most sense from both a business and technical standpoint. But in many instances an HTML5based site or AIRbased app will meet all the requirements and allow you to build functionality that will work across multiple devices and platforms. I suspect we will see more and more of our customers favour this path in the coming months.

What are your thoughts regarding the debate between a native vs. a web app?