The Web Stack is the next native platform
It is funny and fantastic to see all these dogmatic discussions on ‘Web versus Native’ mobile applications. It’s a strange argument to have because at the moment they don’t actually conflict very much. They do overlap but they’re currently not replacements of each other. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a native app that might as well be web based because it’s not utilising specific hardware API’s. An app is often native because you can have somebody else sell it for you in an app store.
The perceived conflict is not due to the technology but the newness and inherent uncertainties of products and services in this emerging world of touch devices. Some are starting to realise you don’t need to rely on an app store and that the web stack is a perfectly viable option to build on. Google+ is just the latest in a wave of prominent web apps.
Even desktop dinosaur Microsoft is pushing the web stack really hard. IE10 is moving towards a more ubiquitous web and a fast web at that. Native technologies like geolocation api, file api, stream api, web sockets web storage are now part of the web stack. This movement towards the web platform being ‘native’ is exactly what WebOS is betting on. A little Awkward yesterday, a king tomorrow.
The rapid pace of innovation on the mobile front has everybody is keeping a very close eye on the web stack. If the already powerful and fast iPhone is soon to be updated with even more powerful processing paired with an optimised iOS to match then the UX gap will start to close very quickly. Both in actual and in perceptual terms.
If you already have unique web sevice you may want to avoid putting it up on somebody else’s retail app store and offer it yourself across multiple platforms as a web app.