HTML5 looks set for rapid growth in 2012, driven by the need for cross-platform development as a result of increasing mobile market fragmentation, according to new research by Kony.
In a survey of technology executives across more than 100 Fortune 500 companies, 74% said they were considering HTML5 implementation. However, only 7% said that it would replace their current native application offering, suggesting that HTML5 will co-exist with native applications in the future.
Meanwhile, 82% of respondents cited the ability to deploy on a wide range of phones and devices as the most attractive quality of HTML5.
"The advent of HTML5 comes as no surprise," said Kony's CTO Sri Ramanathan. "The sheer number of devices on the market, and rapid adoption by consumers, means that organisations can no longer pick and choose which device they support."
Ramanathan explained that, in the competitive apps market, developers who put all their eggs in one basket and focus on a single platform, such as iOS or Android, risk alienating valuable segments of their customers base.
"Companies are being forced to use innovative technology to create apps which stretch across multiple platforms, but steer away from a lowest common denominator approach - and this is a great thing for the industry," he said.
However, Ramanathan added that HTML5 will not replace native applications, as customers continue to demand a combination of the two. Instead, HTML5 will act as an enhancement to existing mobile strategies.
One important feature of HTML5 is that it allows developers to build new kinds of features into websites so that sites behave on mobile phones like applications. Kony's research revealed that there is currently a fairly even split between those who prefer mobile web (43%) to applications (57%) for professional use.
However, a group of wireless experts warned in May 2011 that HTML5 was not yet serving as a platform that could be used to extend apps across platforms. For many companies, transitioning their website to HTML5 and ensuring that it runs well on all the various mobile browsers is just too much work.
"HTML5 is not a panacea. It won't solve all your problems," said Ted Woodbury, an executive with AT&T. "It won't be a disaster but I think people will always do both" apps and HTML5 sites.
Security firm Sophos also warned in its 2012 predictions that new web and networking technologies such as HTML5 will introduce new challenges for enterprise security professionals. In the case of HTML5, data is stored in the browser, meaning that the browser itself becomes a target.