Native Apps versus HTML5 Based Apps: The War Goes On


It’s been a decade now, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is working towards converging on standards of coding as per which, single chunk of code is to be displayed across connected devices be it app or webpage. Amongst others, automotive industry is looking forward to the new coding standards, called the HTML5. With this, they envision reduction in the cost and at the same time, opening up of new apps for a connected vehicle.

Complete specifications of HTML5 was published in Dec 2012, however, the actual set of standards is expected to come to the fore before by the end of 2014. And the draft of HTML5 automotive standard is projected by April 2014, W3C’s Automotive in collaboration with Web Platform Business Group, is the backbone behind it.

Interestingly, Mazda, Japanese automakers, bagged the first position by venturing with the new HTML5. Roger Lanctot from automotive multimedia & communications service thinks that HTML5 is just plumbing and it cannot compensate for poor app architectures.

Device Agnostic Approach

Automotive industry is already experiencing famine when it comes to apps for the connected car. Just for a few thousand downloads, majority of developers are reluctant to spend time and energy on automotive apps since due to the lack of any standards, they have to understand the model and then the individual car before delving into the actual business.

Device agnostic approach as proposed by advocates of HTML5 might come as a solution. Andy Gryc from W3C envisions that the proposed new standard has enough potential in bridging mobile app developers and the connected car ecosystem together.

Native Apps Deliver Better Experience

Facebook does not seem to have the same point of view though. They claimed that their apps, which were based on HTML5, were giving pathetic results so they had to dump those apps in lieu of native apps. Alex Bratton, CEO of Lextech, echoed the stance asserting that considering take on HTML5 would be a mistake and that native apps have more potential to deliver better results than the former.

HTML5 Supports Automotive Space

Rebutting these claims, Gryc said that apps specs for automotive space are very much different from Facebook or any mobile apps. Automotive space does not crave for flashy or eye candy apps as these might distract the driver. However, these are the top features for consideration when developing a mobile app or Facebook app. Else users won’t feel the urge of going ahead in both the cases. He further said that HTML5 has the potential of competing for automotive setting, things which are absent in native apps.

Leveraging Smartphone- Based Platform

The final say in embedding app in automobile will be of the individual OEMS unlike the conventional app stores, where random smartphone user picks up any app, which means, the entire onus comes onto the carmaker, right from maintaining until delivery. However, Lanctot suggests another way of resolving this issue by enabling a smartphone-based platform leaving the updating part to the mobile device. Nevertheless, this concept has its own huddle, HTML5 is yet to leverage on the platform relatively and if the question of waiting comes, the idea becomes totally redundant especially when we have to face this super fast-paced mobile world.


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