HTML5 gains momentum, but social still proving challenging - Mobile World Live

HTML5 gains momentum, but social still proving challenging

20 MAR 2012

Some 79 percent of developers said they are planning to integrate HTML5 into the mobile apps they build this year, according to a survey from developer tools company Appcelerator and IDC.

According to a similar earlier survey, the top priorities for developers are deploying to more platforms; increasing ease of use; improving performance through native interfaces; and reducing time to market.

With this in mind, the report now notes that “a single mobile application architecture generally cannot answer all of those needs simultaneously.”

Reflecting this, only 6 percent of respondents are expecting “pure” HTML5 apps, with 72 percent expecting to use a hybrid model. The remainder will continue with a native-only development path.

Social challenges
The study also found some “very different perceptions” among developers regarding the “emerging social battle” between Facebook and Google. Some 66 percent of mobile app developers believed that Google+ could catch-up to Facebook, which is “noteworthy given that Facebook beats Google+ by huge margins on most metrics.”

The network effect of Google’s broad range of assets (such as Google+, Gmail, Search, Android Market) was deemed more important to their social strategies than Facebook’s social graph by 39 percent of respondents. For example, Google Maps is preloaded onto both iOS and Android devices, and is therefore often integrated with apps, and Google itself is “clearly gearing up to leverage its network effects,” changing its privacy policies to allow the sharing of user data across services.

The report said that this translates to a big competitive opportunity for Google, and risk for Facebook, especially as developers perceive Google as innovating faster than Facebook.

However, with 39 percent praising Google’s reach, this still means that 61 percent are drawn by Facebook, with the size of its user base far and away the most appealing characteristic.

Interestingly, despite the focus on social features, 61 percent of developers say they need better understanding of social networking, including how to integrate this with apps, how to use social channels as a marketing tool, and how to understand social networking analytics.

Cloudy future
Location and notifications are the top two cloud services developers are looking to in order to scale their mobile initiatives.
Some 35 percent of respondents name location as offering the most interest, followed by 33 percent specifying notifications. These were both some way ahead of the next biggest, ratings and reviews, which came in at 11 percent.

Appcelerator and IDC said that “we expect increasing numbers of developers to look upon cloud services for the extension of their mobile applications, due to the ease of integrating them, and the inherent scalability of cloud-based location and notification solutions.”


Enterprise opportunity
The poll also found that 39 percent of developers are looking it apps for enterprise app stores, driven by the increasing number of enterprises looking to balance the potential of apps with the challenge of distributing these to both employee-owned and corporate devices.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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