As we start to roll out Firefox OS based mobile devices in the coming months, where all apps on our platform are pure web apps, we frequently get aksed — will HTML5 based applications be as good as the Native Apps people have gotten used to on Android and iOS systems? Will web apps be as fast? As beautiful? As-insert-your-attribute? Last week I was speaking at a roundtable session at the Baidu Alliance annual conference and I proposed the following simple test: suppose we can roll back time (but with our knowledge now) and can choose if we should have only pure web apps (HTML-based) or only native apps (a la Android or iOS)? There was wide agreement that almost everyone except Apple and Google would prefer a world with only pure web apps to a world with only native apps. Why? Apart from the technical arguments, a more pressing concern is that we/industry allowed the native apps world to build up into a choking position before we realized its lethal potential, and we do not wish to live in a world where all the apps have to be approved (based on their criteria and self-interest) by two of the largest corporations on the planet. Of course we are not saying there is no place for native apps. We will have web apps and native apps co-exist, for sure. But for anyone who ever starts questioning the merits of HTML-based web apps, one way to find out the answer is to go through this mental exercise and see which path one would choose. The appeal of HTML-based web apps will present itself!
Posted by: lgong