If I see one more discussion string pitting native mobile applications against mobile websites, I may have to take some sort of drastic action. Maybe, I could launch an “Occupy Mobile Message Boards” initiative. We could even pitch virtual tents. But the point is that this debate is “played.”
The discussion always falls into the trap of assuming that this is a “one or the other proposition.” It is not. It is totally dependent on what an organization’s profile is, what their resources are and what they are trying to achieve. There are many potential forks in this decision tree and they represent subtle differences depending on the application profile.
Here is a real world challenge that one of our customers faced. The client is a major retailer and one of their big drivers and important considerations was that they regularly run Email marketing campaigns with embedded links. So, if they went the apps path, they’d have to either split email by device or list each link separately by device and the complexity grew and grew. Building a mobile web solution provided them cross device capabilities, and integrated easily with their email marketing campaigns which effectively represent over 90% of their online trading. So in this case, browsing through an online store was no less effective in a web solution than an on-device app.
The point is, figure out what you are trying to achieve. Then design and implement the appropriate mix of strategies that will best help your business reach its objectives.