Developers are unlikely to move away from the native model despite the number of mobile devices in use with HTML5-compatible browsers being forecast to hit 1.4 billion by the end of 2013, according to ABI Research.
The analyst firm said that although the 87 per cent annual increase of such devices represents “a very potent market”, it is likely that the majority of developers will continue to develop native apps over web apps.
“HTML5 is making strides, but mainly through developers that take advantage of increasingly capable cross-platform development tools. Meanwhile, there aren’t many signs of full-blown web apps effectively challenging the native way,” said senior analyst Aapo Markkanen.
Two trends could help web apps become more widespread, however, according to Markkanen.
With the launch of open source platforms such as Firefox OS, Sailfish, Tizen and Ubuntu, support for HTML5 features and browsers is expected to be “baked deeper” into operating systems, making them faster and more responsive.
The most significant factor in this area could be the convergence of Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems.
Hardware vendors integrating greater HTML5 support at the chip level could also play a role. Markkanen said Intel has “displayed strategic interest in pushing the envelope” while Samsung’s work with Mozilla to develop the Servo browser engine could also be a factor.
“A truly ground-up mobile browser could certainly ease the bottleneck that currently holds back the mobile web,” the analyst said.