The Necessity of Native Mobile Apps

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.

Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “The Necessity of Native Mobile Apps”

  1. People will say anything to keep their businesses alive. Naturally, businesses are scared of change and HTML5 can be a threat. But the accessibility of offline apps is better as a native app when someone doesn’t have a web connection. There’s still hope for both. Hopefully they will see that.

  2. While I have never been a huge Steve Jobs fan, I would agree with his general belief that you can not wait for the users to tell you what applications they want. The theory is that by the time you get around to building the application, the users will not want it anymore because they have found something else that they want. I know that many application companies do build applications based upon user needs and desires, but I think the better route to take is to convince the users that they have to have your application. This is what Apple has done marvelously for a decade or more. They build their application and device and then they make sure that every person in the world feels that they are not complete without these devices.

  3. As a pc gamer i can see this from the gaming perspective. Why game on a PC? i stress the “I” in this but i believe that there are performance improvements, ease of control, and better graphic quality than on any console or even a mac. so for that i am willing to wait a little longer because i do believe that i can get better quality out of the PC platform. so it makes sense that applications will have to be native to the platform to take sull advantage of what what the platform has to offer, and yes some platforms are better than others. so whoever makes the best applications on the best platform will get the marketshare.

Comments are closed.