By the end of the year, mobile devices with HTML5-compatible browsers will total 1.4 billion, following an annual increase of 87 percent, according to new forecasts from ABI Research.
“While some two years ago it still looked like 2013 could be the Year of Web App, it’s now looking like that this will prove more like the Year of Hybrid,” said ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen.
“HTML5 is making strides, but mainly through developers that take advantage of increasingly capable cross-platform development tools. Meanwhile, there aren’t many signs of full-blown Web apps effectively challenging the native way.”
According to ABI Research, however, two parallel trends will help the Web to catch up further. The first trend ABI Research anticipates is that the support for HTML5 features and browsers will be gradually baked deeper into operating systems, making the Web apps speedier and more responsive. This will be partially driven by the upcoming wave of open-source platforms, including Firefox OS, Sailfish, Tizen and Ubuntu. However, at the end of the day, the most significant factor may turn out to be Android’s eventual convergence with Chrome.
Second, there is a push by some hardware vendors to achieve greater HTML5 support at the chip level. “Especially Intel has lately displayed strategic interest in pushing the envelope here,” said Markkanen. “Also, Samsung’s collaboration with Mozilla to develop a whole new browser engine, dubbed Servo, is worth following. A truly ground-up mobile browser could certainly ease the bottleneck that currently holds back the mobile Web.”