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Web app development lags device readiness, says analyst

Apr 10, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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ABI Research forecasts that by the end of 2013, about 1.4 billion devices in the wild will be equipped with HTML5-compatible browsers. Despite this tantalizing opportunity for new HTML-enabled web apps, however, the “vast majority” of developers continue to create “native model” apps rather than web apps, reports the analyst firm.

“While some two years ago it still looked like 2013 could be the Year of Web App, it’s now looking like that this will prove more like the Year of Hybrid,” says ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen. “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.”

Markkanen expects two trends to boost the development and use of web apps:

  • OS support — “First, it’s expected that the support for HTML5 features and browsers will be gradually baked deeper into operating systems, making the web apps speedier and more responsive. This will be partially driven by the upcoming wave of open-source platforms — Firefox OS, Sailfish, Tizen, and Ubuntu — but at the end of the day the most significant factor may turn out to be Android’s eventual convergence with Chrome.”
  • Hardware support — “There’s a lot of scope to achieve a more robust HTML5 support already in the chip level. Especially Intel has lately displayed strategic interest in pushing the envelope here. Also Samsung’s collaboration with Mozilla to develop a whole new browser engine, dubbed Servo, is worth following. A truly ground-up mobile browser could certainly ease the bottleneck that currently holds back the mobile web.”

These findings come from ABI Research’s “Mobile Applications Research Service,” which tracks technologies enabling new and transformative applications. The study also examines the economic side of the app industry, sizing the addressable market and measuring how much revenue the releases will generate. Further information regarding this and other ABI Research market studies are available on ABI’s website, here.
 

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