Hybrid apps: Best of HTML5 and nativePC market to drop 7%

The proliferation of mobile, and the variety of devices in use, will drive the development of hybrid mobile applications, says Gartner.

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By 2016, more than 50% of mobile apps deployed will be hybrid, says Gartner.

Hybrid apps, which offer a balance between native apps and HTML5-based Web apps, provide important advantages for application development, says Gartner.

Although native applications provide excellent user experience and performance, they necessitate the development of multiple versions of the same application for each type of device or operating system.

HTML5 also has its pitfalls, having fallen short of expectations with regard to animation-rich tools and offline capabilities. Developers are therefore considering hybrid architecture that uses the advantages of both tools to better leverage mobile device capabilities.

The need for unification in development becomes particularly pressing when considering the proliferation of mobile, in conjunction with the variety of devices in the market. Gartner forecasts that mobiles will overtake PCs as the primary device of Web access by the end of this year, and that tablet shipments will overtake PC shipments by 2016. Alternative methods of access, such as wearable devices and smart TVs, are also beginning to take off.

All these devices will demand business support, making a multi-device strategy integrated into existing applications and architectures a necessity, says Gartner.

"The implications for IT is that the era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is one of a variety of environments that IT will need to support," explains Van L Baker, research VP at Gartner.

Hybrid architectures are particularly well-suited for business-to-employee applications, enabling businesses to better accommodate BYOD (bring your own device), he says: "The BYOD trend, and the increased pressure on organisations to deploy mobile applications to accommodate mobile work styles of employees, will lead businesses to manage a portfolio of mobile application architectures."

"We recommend organisations are open to augmentations to the Web - such as hybrid application development - to deploy on mobile today, with the goal that more should be done without those augmentations after 2015," says David Mitchell Smith, VP and Gartner fellow in Gartner Research.

He adds: "Organisations also need to continue to develop Web technology skills, find the right uses for promising new technologies and approaches like HTML5, and deal with the uncertainty and speed of the consumer-driven mobile landscape. All the while, it's important to maintain IT governance while increasing productivity and usability."

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