When the public working draft of HTML5 came out in 2008, it showed a whole new range of possibilities in web-based application development. The current implementation of this Internet core technology is still in the area of games and electronic readers, though. But of course, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that development will soon move into more general use applications.
Why are web applications a threat? It’s because they are a flexible alternative to native applications and they aren’t tied down to specific operating systems. Web apps run on browsers. That means the smartphone or tablet utilized becomes mostly irrelevant and the web app doesn’t have to be downloaded from an online app store.
Web apps in general are still behind native apps in terms of performance but then again the HTML5 specification is still undergoing development. When more high quality web apps become available, driven by the robust features of HTML5, people may no longer see a noticeable loss in usability.
When the differences between Android and iOS devices flatten out, then the exclusive quality or “walled garden” attraction that pulls users to Apple products and services could lose its steam. Apple’s biggest threat isn’t a company like Google or a manufacturer like Samsung. It’s a new technology standard being set up by a global organization called W3C.
Think of it in terms of how the World Wide Web eventually surpassed AOL. Consumers will invariably choose the more accessible standardized technology over the proprietary one. Developers will naturally follow where the consumers go. It will not be surprising to see the same behavior and trend occur when more HTML5 web apps enter the mobile market.