The Necessity of Native Mobile Apps{3}

by Richard H
Square COO, Keith Rabois makes a case on the importance of keeping mobile applications native to the platform. He believes that applications that stay native to the hardware allows for a greater user experience that is deeper and more responsive than any HTML5 counterpart (which is web-based and usable on any of the mobile platforms).  Many developers are working HTML5 applications due to its universality, however these applications will be inherently slower and have less features due to not being browser-based and to not being built to fully utilize a platforms hardware as a native application would.

Although I do believe Rabois makes a good case in keeping applications native, I could see that he could actually be making a case for keeping native applications relevant. Although they allow for a greater user experience, they take long to implement to all the other platforms. HTML5 based applications are readily available to the other platforms as a single system that is easier to maintain and update. The loss in response time for these HTML5 applications would be negligible to most consumers, so there doesn’t really seem to be that much of a downside. That being said, I don’t think HTML5 applications will take over the application market.

Innovation still drives the app market, so whichever developer can offer a better product will get the users. If a native app does well on one platform, users on the other platform will take notice and demand for it to be offered on their devices and then readily buy it when it becomes available. Many customers will happily wait for a specific application rather than settle with its inferior HTML5 counterpart. As long as a company can keep its customers happy, they should have little to worry about.


Isaac, M. (2011, July 7). Square Exec Bets Against the Web: Mobile Apps Must Go Native. Wired.

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