One-Third of Leading iOS Apps Could Be Built by HTML5, but Devil Is in Details

06 Sep 2012

​Findings from ABI Research’s new HTML5 coverage reveal that 32% of top iOS apps could be developed by taking advantage of web code. This new research coverage has been designed to fill two existing analytical gaps in the market. First, there is a tendency to view HTML5 as a single, monolithic technology, whereas in reality it is a mix of several, inter-related but not necessarily interdependent, features. Second, commentators still too often treat app categories uniformly, advocating or dismissing the whole industry’s web potential based on how HTML5 can be leveraged in a certain niche area.

A look at the market data demonstrates why such a granular approach is necessary. “In 2014, the installed base of mobile devices with HTML5-capable browsers will reach almost two billion, but there will be huge differences between the adoption rates of various key features,” says senior analyst Aapo Markkanen. The rapid downfall of Flash makes audio and video tags the fastest-growing HTML5 element, with a combined base of 700 million mobile web users utilizing it in 2014. Meanwhile, web-based push notifications will still be going through the early days, with only 100 million users by then.

To assess the impact on different app segments, ABI Research rated 575 leading iOS apps from all categories by their mid-term HTML5 feasibility. The assessment was done by a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 implied a low score and 4 a high score. “Of the apps within our sample, 32% warranted a score of 4, which means in terms of use cases and user interfaces they could be built as web apps, or as web-heavy hybrid apps, within 18 months’ time,” adds Markkanen. “However, in many big-ticket categories the majority of titles are distinctly native. Games, productivity, utilities, and music apps won’t have much to gain from HTML5 anytime soon.”

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Mobile Application Enabling Technologies Research Service, which takes a deep dive into various technologies that enable new and transformative applications. This research involves identifying early signals of how advances in areas such as augmented reality, HTML5, NFC, and voice recognition are translating into developer activity, as well as visionary predictions on how these enablers may reshape the industry in the future.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.


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