The debate over developing Html5 vs. Native Apps is ongoing as consumers demand more intuitive apps, smartphones dominate the mobile space, and developers seek multi-platform compatibility. However, the way an application is developed appears to be irrelevant to the end user as long as the experience remains consistent and seamlessly delivers content. On the development side, it appears that there is a preference, mainly outside of the Apple world, for developers to focus on the platform-agnostic, browser-based apps since content can easily be reformatted, developed, and shared. In addition most app and game developer companies need to focus on their business model, the limitations of the different environments, and what needs to be done for scalability. I agree browser based apps have a future and game developers seem to miss the real issues between a browser based vs. a native app. The question is not so much which is better, but rather the expectation which we have set in the users mind.
Some of the earliest mobile applications were primarily web-based but as a result of end-users demand for easily accessible, interactive and feature-rich applications, developers have been forced to create native apps-offering faster, more responsive features. For example, the iPhone had a ton of browser based apps to start with, many were very good, but almost all are not used nearly as much today as the native apps. Browser traffic, which is high and will remain high, is being driven by widgets like ESPN and CNN, and others that launch the browser as a result of user interaction (think Facebook on Android). Although web-based apps can deliver a rich user experience, they have a long way to go provide the same type of experience as native apps.
Html5 will be an important part of the future, but just like using the browser today, you are at the mercy of the viewer (e.g. the browser) which is different from platform to platform and even device to device. This has and will continue to limit browser based apps. It is going to likely come down to the developers choosing native apps over browser-based apps based on the need for the local control elements, access to deeper device features, to extend UI needs, and meet the demands of the security and business models. On the other hand, the browser based apps will continue to be developed, some with the façade of a native app, being launched from an icon or widgets which are made available through an app store. The user will be largely unaware of the choice between html5 and native apps if the developer does their job right. This leaves the topic open for debate-where is the mobile application market headed if browser-based vs. native app development is not visible to the end-user, and it comes down to consumer demand for a superior experience? IMHO it doesn’t matter if you meet the consumers’ needs.