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Native Applications are Dead

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In this world of ever-growing choice around mobile devices and operating systems, there is an increasing desire for companies to stitch together a patchwork quilt of options to deliver a seamless, consistent and universal web experience for consumers.

In the beginning of the mobile web, Apple quickly set the trend by making native apps the new status quo through a mass-market approach and monetisation process that appealed to brands and developers. Native applications sat directly on your smartphone and interacted with your device to help improve your daily life. Because these apps were designed within the manufacturer's OS they could take advantage of device features like phone books, cameras, video players, and touch and voice command capabilities far better than browsers that were designed for wider use on any device or OS. But the gap between what apps and web site functionality can deliver via the browser is closing quickly. And companies are keen to see that change happen soon.

Building apps for all the different variants, hardware configurations that change platforms like Android, Apple, RIM and Microsoft is time consuming and costly, as you have to build different apps. Now add in the various OS versions and new device screen sizes that are in the market and you have to rebuild your site over and over again. Managing change and costs in a native world for companies whose main business is not the app itself is a growing concern. Especially as according to XCube Labs, over 80% of smartphone users use the device to browse the Internet. With this changing behaviour from consumers, companies are either optimised for on the mobile web or they will disappear.

The good news is browser and hybrid apps which use browsers like a native app on the mobile have reached a level of functionality that can deliver a native app-like experience, online and offline. And they are easier to build, test, manage and scale to unlimited users. They do this using both a standards language like HTML5 and adaptive cloud software solutions like Netbiscuits. Companies can now build one feature-rich website that can identify device and features such as GPS and cameras to serve the user a highly personalised experience to deliver bespoke content based on the context of use.

The contextual website is the future. Understanding where a user is, at what time of the day and what kind of device they are on gives a company unlimited delivery options to stand out from the competition and improve customer engagement. We now know that people use their smartphones to access internet content during the day more than at night and at night, they use tablets more often. Even more important, we also know that people are using more than one device a day to make decision based on internet content. Google research from its Multi-Screen World report highlights that 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time and 98% of these people move between devices that same day. Understanding, tracking and more importantly delivering a superior and seamless user experience across multiple devices is critical to stay in front of user expectations and winning consumer engagement. This is the adaptive web future, delivering contextual based websites and apps through a universal web experience for all.