Location Enabled Browsers vs Mobile Apps

Are conservative internet publishers & business owners who skipped the “app trend” and frustration of dealing with multiple mobile operating systems ready to start a new trend in favor of mobile browser-based experiences and geo-browsers.  I think that there are many reasons to be concerned if your business is entirely based on a mobile application and you don't have an internet or online strategy.  It is still far too costly to create mobile or tablet application for the average company.  Plus the Android and the iPhone App store are both too crowded and its impossible to get discovered.  Industry insiders think less than 10% of the developers are actually making money profitably with their app.

This is one of the reasons we have avoided developing a mobile app is the lack of return we would likely see on the development and maintenance of it across all of the mobile networks and operating systems. However, now that HTML5 appears to be gaining steam this might change everything in the very near future. What is HTML5? It is quite simply the ability to provide the same internet browsing web experience you do on your PC or Mac that is connected. What will enable this? Better GPS chips, increased processing power in the phone, 4G speeds capable of transferring cloud data over WiFi and carrier networks. Most of all an advertising infrastructure like Google and Microsoft who can make a market for mobile phones and location based social networks and advertising.

The mobile application development business is very analogous to the web site development business back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As the platforms to create and manage the content get better no longer does it costs $200,000 for a fancy web site like it did 10 years ago. Today, I have heard of many mobile developers spending similar amounts of money to quickly get their application onto the market. However, you have to ask yourself how many of these businesses are actually making money at it? Probably only about 10% of them and that means the other 90% of the mobile applications are likely to go out of business.

The only disadvantages I see for us not having a mobile application is the lack of a file system on the phone and the requirement to have a good connection via WiFi or GSM / CDMA.   Another disadvantage might be the find-ability of the application on the device using a browser but we hope the mobile Chrome begins to solve this. An argument against having a mobile app is that the App Store now contains 65,000 application and you are likely to get lost unless you have big dollars. Marketing folks and developers are increasing finding it more difficult to stand out in the App Store, and consumers find it difficult to find applications that match their needs. Browsing the internet on a PC or Mac has typically solved these needs and now its just on a mobile platform using location as a search criteria.

HTML5 vs Smartphone App (Native)

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