When Apple released the iPhone in 2007 there was a huge outcry from developers wanting to create applications for this new and exciting platform. Apple listened and in 2008 with the iPhone 2, introduced the tools developers wanted and a revolution was born. Suddenly the buzzword “app” was everywhere and many businesses felt they needed to create an app to stay competitive, sometimes ditching or ignoring the web presence they spent years to build.
Of course, the other big tech players saw this model and how people were drooling over the latest Doodle Jump, Weather widget, or news reader and they wanted a piece of the pie. Enter market fragmentation.
Now businesses are becoming a bit more gun shy about this app craze because they now have to develop and maintain software for at least 3 different, incompatible, platforms. Fortunately, a well-crafted mobile web experience can negate the need for such an investment of time and money.
1. Mobile Apps often rely on data from the web anyway.
Where do you think your phone goes to figure out what the temperature is, or the market value, or movie times? The web. A mobile app simply takes this returned data and parses it for use on the native platform. Creating a mobile web experience that does the same thing will often times result in an experience that is universal across devices. This central experience is then much easier to maintain and update instead of having to keep up on the latest changes to various operating systems and platforms.
2. The modern mobile web is much more robust than it was 10 years ago
I have to admit, Apple got something right. When the iPhone was released, they were smart by putting the same rendering engine from the desktop onto the phone. At the time when BlackBerry and Palm ruled the roost, mobile web experiences were held hostage by these half-baked browsers and lack of any sort of standard. Mobile web surfing was painful at best. So, it would make sense to avoid that pain by investing in an app. Now, the mobile web has matured and is able to meet expectations of consumers across devices.
3. As a business, you’ve invested a significant amount of time, money, and energy in your online presence, why not show it to the world?
Any time you develop an app, you are going to segment your market and message. That’s great that iPhone users see your message in an app, but that’s only 41% of the market. OK, so you develop an Android version you’ve now bumped that up to 90%. You’ve just sank a boat load of resources into products that will at best serve 90% of the market all while maintaining and investing in a web component as well. A solid mobile web experience means that 100% of the market has the ability to find your company. It also means that your www investment is complimented instead of competing against a native app to say the same message.
What has been your experience with business app development? Share with me in the comments…