Skip to main content

HTML5 Slow Adoption Due to Cost, Fragmentation

This week during a panel discussion at the Open Mobile Summit in London, Andrey Doronichev, Google's executive in charge of YouTube, recently explained why the popular video sharing site has been slow in fully adopting HTML5. There are several factors involved, the biggest of which is the cost of building apps using the new markup language.

"Building apps with HTML5 is its own skill, it's harder than iOS," he said. "The app has to work across websites on different browsers, so browser fragmentation is an issue."

There's also a problem of distribution. Unlike native apps developed for Android and iOS, there's no central location where users can purchase and install HTML5 apps. "Distribution is another major problem, where to find it," he said. "Consumers don't get HTML apps as there is no single place to go for the apps."

Just recently Facebook began rolling out its HTML5 app catalog, and Mozilla's own HTML5 marketplace is slated to be launched later this year. Google offers HTML5 apps via the Chrome Web Store, but as the title states, it's only for the Chrome browser which is limited to the desktop and Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich." Based on these examples, there's currently no single multi-platform storefront for HTML5 apps.

Doronichev pointed out that there's also an issue with payment. As it stands right now, there's no clear stance. Plus Apple's App Store holds the majority of the market share. "I don't know who will win the majority payment market share," he said. "At the moment its Apple but in the future I don't know, it could be something new."

Still, with the release of Chrome for Android, there's hope that Google's mobile operating system will be key in helping HTML5 app adoption. Chrome could provide a more stable base for developers, he said.

App developers new to the space should also consider the freemium model which essentially allows the consumer to use the app but purchase additional functionality from within. Amazon App Store director Aaron Rubenson made this revelation in a separate panel discussion, reporting that based on Amazon statistics, new apps using the freemium model tend to perform better for new development houses.

"It's important to remember downloading the app is only the first step. The pay-up-front model does still work for the right type of app with brand awareness. But there's a shift towards freemium," Rubenson said. "Apps with more of a story that engage consumers in the long term tend to do very well. Monetization is significantly downstream, revenue doesn't tend to come in on the day of download, or even in the week of download."

Still, there needs to be some kind of payment system in place for both new and experienced app developers for the freemium model to even work. As it stands now, consumers are dependent on Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Microsoft Marketplace and Apple iTunes to get their native app fill. Until there's a widespread platform (like Chrome) and a centralized HTML5 marketplace, consumers will likely stick with what's familiar.

  • Soul_keeper
    adobe flash crashes daily.
    I'm tired of enduring flash pain.

    html5 can't come fast enough.
  • memadmax
    I dunno what soul keeper is talking about, adobe works just fine for me and only crashes when I bring the computer out of sleep for some reason(if I leave a website running it up)....
    Anyways, I attribute the slow implementation of HTML 5 as "needs" and training issue.
    It's like reinventing the wheel... HTML works, why mess with it, at least right away.... so, that will put HTML5 on the backburner in a production environment for now.
    Plus, now all these programmers need to get trained up on HTML 5... taking away from valuable production time.

    Personally, I don't see a reason to jump on HTML 5. I've seen it in action on various demo sites and it don't look no better/different/faster to me than flash or something else... Prolly because internet apps don't have as much adverse affect on system speed than they did in the past...
  • shoelessinsight
    Whether or not HTML5 is ever fully adopted, I will be grateful that it exists. It (or something) has really lit a fire under Adobe, and they've made a lot of great advancements to their Flash software recently. Still a long way to go for them, but for the first time I feel like Adobe Flash is actually working for its money.

    Competition is a wonderful thing.
  • e56imfg
    I use the HTML5 Beta on YouTube and it works great! ( Can't wait till HTML5 finally rolls out.
  • nebun
    Soul_keeperadobe flash crashes daily.I'm tired of enduring flash pain.html5 can't come fast enough.what are you talking about?....i can't remember that last time flash crashed on me....there is something wrong with your machine
  • Vladislaus
    Soul_keeperadobe flash crashes daily.I'm tired of enduring flash pain.html5 can't come fast enough.Did it crossed your mind that perhaps you have a problem with your computer? I have several computers both at home and at work and none of them have the browser crashing with that high frequency. It's so uncommon that I don't remember when was the last time my browser crashed.
  • Soul_keeper
    Everything adobe has ever made has been crap and crashed.
    You can vote me down all you want, but their products suck and segfault constantly.
  • ukee1593
    Adobe Flash is a POS. While some computers are fine (which use mainstream hardware), flash does not work on any machines with gaming graphics, or machines that run Linux. I cannot wait until HTML5 takes over ... already I have to watch half of youtube via HTML5 beta because flash decided to show a green square instead of the video.

  • wild9
    There are several factors involved.. what, like God-awful YouTube layout update so few wanted?!
  • DSpider
    Browser "fragmentation" is a good thing. That means that one exploit for webkit (Safari, Chrome) will not work on gecko (Firefox) and vice-versa. There's not such thing as "fragmentation".

    Instead of focusing on each browser's tidbits and complain about how many there are, there's only one sensible way to deal with this: focus on code correctness and stick to the standard. Developers will eventually fix the browsers. Right now Firefox is at version 12 and Chrome at 20.0.1000something.