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HTML5 vs Native Apps – Which one is Better?

Published: Apr 24, 2015  |   | 

HTML5 vs Native apps
The debate on native apps vs. HTML5 apps continues to pop-up when targeting the mobile audience. The decision to choose between the two is difficult as both these options have their own benefits & limitations. You can’t have a one-size-fit-all answer as every business is unique in itself and the decision to pick the best-fit will be dependent on many factors. To help you with it, we have evaluated both the types of apps and have highlighted their pros and cons. Keep in mind that some businesses have both HTML5 and native apps, depending on their business resources and requirements.

Native Apps

Native Apps Native apps are available in the mobile app stores for download and can be directly installed in your Smartphone’s. They are platform specific and are built using the tools and programming languages of that particular platform, for example SWIFT for iOS or Eclipse/Android Studio and Java for Android. They can only run on that OS for which they have been built. Have a look at the reasons to build native apps in 2015.


  • Native apps will allow you to take the advantage of device specific features like GPS, camera, notifications, contact list, touch screen gestures and much more.
  • You can access native apps in offline mode too, when you don’t have an internet access or there’s poor network connectivity.
  • The UI of a native app is consistent with the platform it has been built for. This makes it easier for the users to access and use the app.
  • Native apps give a more personalized experience. They enhance users’ experience as their functionalities are similar to your Smartphone’s like the ping sound, messages for alerts, push notifications and much more.
  • Native apps can be seamlessly integrated with the backend systems like ERP, SAP, CRM and others for real-time data access in business.


  • Native apps have to pass the mobile app stores’ approval processes depending on the platform. Even the updates require approvals. This may sometimes lead to delayed time-to-market.
  • To develop and distribute native apps, a specific amount of fees is to be paid to the respective mobile app stores including payment of a specific percentage of the sales revenue.
  • Higher development costs are to be incurred and the development process is time consuming in native apps.
  • It becomes difficult for developers to provide support as different mobile devices use different versions of the native app.
  • For developing native apps, businesses have to make a choice between various platforms as the native apps work only on one platform. And taking this decision is a difficult task as it would mean forgoing the benefits of the other platform.
To summarize, native apps offer benefits in terms of user experience, optimized UI, graphics, device integration, third party integration etc. however they lack in portability, require significant investment of both time and money and might delay time-to-market.

HTML5 Apps

HTML5 Apps HTML5 apps are built on the web technologies like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. They are used to create cross-platform applications that work flawlessly on multiple devices, platforms and operating systems (OS) through a web browser.


  • An HTML5 app is accessible from all the devices. It gives users, the same experience across all the platforms and OS.
  • Web apps remove the problems associated with the instability of a mobile platform as web is there to stay and won’t disappear in future.
  • HTML5 apps require lower development costs and can be built with the requisite web experience unlike native apps that require specific skills for each platform.
  • HTML5 apps don’t go through the approval process of the mobile app stores and can be launched immediately. There’s no restriction on the content or subject matter.
  • No cost is to be incurred in publishing HTML5 apps like native apps. No third-party fee is to be paid.
  • HTML5 apps require no installation as they are hosted on web. The same URL works for both web and mobile. They are even easier to maintain as changes made in the app is instantly reflected across all platforms.
  • Web apps offer greater speed and flexibility in updating, enhancing and fixing bugs.
  • HTML5 apps get the benefit of being indexed and found in search engines. This increase their visibility and businesses can get faster and wider audience reach.


  • HTML5 web applications have limited in-browser caching for offline access.
  • HTML5 applications do not have a UI similar to the device. It has a standard UI which works across all the devices, thus keeping users’ void of the native experience.
  • HTML5 apps run on a web browser, making the speed of the app a bit sluggish with animation not always running smooth, problem in swiping back & forth for more functionality, scrolling being choppy and hand gestures to control the users’ experience not being at par with the native apps.
  • Web apps only have limited access to the device sensors. Some of the features like GPS, accelerometer, local storage etc. are accessible, while some are not.
To summarize, HTML5 apps are easy and inexpensive to build, support multiple devices and platforms, carry lower risk and aren’t controlled by any third party. However, when it comes to users’ experience, native apps steal the show!


The choice between native apps and HTML5 apps totally depend on your business requirements, the skill set of the developers, the timeline and much more. Consider the below questions to decide for yourself:
  • Do you want to target multiple platforms or concentrate on a specific platform?
  • Do you want your app to take the advantage of the devices’ speed and features?
  • What is your budget? Is it fitting the estimated cost of developing the app?
  • Are you planning to monetize your app in future?
There are many cases where HTML5 apps will be the right choice for your business while in other cases choosing the native route will make the most sense. If you are looking to give powerful and excellent user experience, HTML apps may not be the right choice for you. If you want to integrate the back-end systems and push messaging along with providing offline sync, then native approach is a better option. So choose the apps that suit your business needs. What finally would matter is your business effectiveness, regardless of the approach you opt for!! If you are looking to get high-quality and user-friendly mobile apps developed, Semaphore Software can cater to your mobility needs. We have extensive experience in mobile app development on all leading platforms. Contact us through info@semaphore-software.com to get in touch with our expert and proficient mobile app developers!!