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Which Suits Your Needs?
Since the iPhone’s launch in 2007,smartphones and tablet comput-ers have become mass marketphenomena. Millions of devicessell each quarter, and roughly 30percent of the American popula-tion now carry smartphones.Though mobile devices had ahumble start in voice-only com-munications, now they serve ashandheld computersespeciallywith the growing popularity of applications. These apps extendand enhance the functionality of our new generation of mobiledevices.So what devices are out there inthe population’s hands? Initially,Apple’s iPhone led the pack in thesmartphone market, but its com-petitors have also innovated theirlineup of products. Android, forexample, emerged as a serious ri-val to the iPhone and Blackberry.As for tablets, again, Apple’s iPadis not the only option: the Sam-sung Galaxy recently broke the$1 million sales mark and theBlackberry Playbook and the LGOptimus Pad plan to release earlyin 2011.This increasing fragmentation of mobile devices and the operatingsystems on which they run forcecompanies to look to the future of mobile computing to determinewhether a mobile website, nativeapp, or some combination of the two will best suit their needs.
Most people think of smartphoneapps when they hear the word“app,” understanding the productas something installed on theiriPhone, iPad, Android, or othermobile device. Applications, how-ever, come in a variety of fashionsand formats. For example, Micro-soft Word and iTunes are desktopapplications. Facebook and NY-Times.com are web applicationsaccessible through a browser orvia their native mobile applicationcounterparts. So let’s define ourterms:
is es-sentially a bundle of softwaredeveloped and designed torun specifically on a computer,smartphone, or tablet.
refers tothe browser-based Internetexperience on mobile devices.Mobile websites have theability to run across essentiallyany platform with a built-inweb browser.
are essentiallyapps that run inside a device’sbrowser.Native applications are specificto a particular platform. For ex-ample, Objective-C is the primaryprogramming language usedto develop native applicationsfor Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone,iPod, and iPad). Native appsinvite users to take advantage of particular device features such asGPS, accelerometer, and cameraroll. Up to this point, they have
Native Apps vs. The Mobile Web vs. Web Apps
Which Route Is Best For Your Enterprise?