You probably know by now about Facebook’s recent email-hijacking fiasco – including widespread reports that the company’s mobile apps are deliberately overwriting users’ address-book contacts.
While that’s an extreme example of a company making a terrible mess out of its mobile apps, it isn’t the only example that comes to mind. I’m consistently disappointed with the quality of many mobile apps, and judging from the reviews that I read in Apple’s App Store, I’m not the only one.
Is the app market ripe for a backlash? I wouldn’t be surprised to see one. And while certain types of functional apps still serve a clear purpose, apps that serve content (especially free content) no longer make sesne.
Here’s why: HTML5 is gaining traction very quickly. It’s designed for easy cross-platform development, including mobile devices. HTML 5 allows developers to build browser-based apps that often deliver the same functionality as today’s platform-specific apps. Both browser support and developer support are growing rapidly; if we’re not already at critical mass on both counts, we will be by the end of 2012.
Uberflip recently put together an infographic that illustrates the growth of HTML5 as an alternative to proprietary mobile apps. This should be especially interesting to big-brand content marketers who are debating whether to invest in mobile apps or to use HTML5 to deliver rich, cross-platform, mobile-ready content.
If there’s a mobile app backlash brewing, HTML5 is obviously the best way to avoid it. But even if mobile apps remain popular, there’s a lot to be said for using a cheaper, more flexible content creation and delivery platform that bypasses Apple’s App Store bureaucracy.