HTML5 or Native Apps--The Pros and Cons

September 15, 2014

Posted by: Grant Owens

HTML5 or Native Apps--The Pros and Cons

There’s no end to development options in today’s tech landscape. Websites, web apps, mobile-first, mobile-only, responsive, native....

There are so many options, it can be overwhelming and impossible to know what’s best for your business. We’ve talked before about responsive web design, and for any website, it’s become a must have.

But what about your mobile app? Assuming you need more than a responsive web page, should you go with HTML5 or a native app?


The short answer, of course, is “It depends.” Here are some of the pros and cons to both approaches.

Building with HTML5

HTML5 uses familiar programming languages like JavaScript and CSS and essentially functions as a mobile website. Apps built in HTML5 are only accessible through the device Internet browser.


  • Quick, easy, and cheaper to develop

  • Works across multiple devices

  • Ability to iterate and change quickly across all devices

  • Easy to find via search engines


  • No access to device functions like GPS

  • Browser-based experience, rather than branded controlled experience

  • Consumers spend a lot of time in native apps, as opposed to quickly using HTML5 sites

Going Native

Native mobile apps are the ones we’re more familiar with. We’ve all become accustomed to searching the App or Play store for the apps we want to use, and consumers use apps on a daily basis.

But, is a native app always the way to go?


  • Full access to phone’s underlying features like camera, GPS, etc

  • User experience will be uniform, not reliant on a browser

  • Familiar to consumers

  • Best usability


  • Expensive!

  • Time-consuming to develop and maintain

  • Not accessible across multiple platforms

Decisions like mobile development are complicated ones. Give us a call at DevDigital, and we’ll talk through all the options that will be best for your business.

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