August is “platforms” month here in TOC-land. That means we’re throwing iOS and Android into the Thunderdome arena to fight it out. It’s not really, “two platforms enter, one platform leaves” though. After all, there’s a third player in this one, its name is HTML5 and I’m betting it ultimately wins the war.
When the topic of platform-specific apps comes up I’m hearing the same thing over and over from publishers. They sank a lot of money into iOS because it was (and by some measures remains) the leader. The experts then told them they also need to invest in Android so some spent even more money on this popular but splintered platform.
The result? Mostly disappointment. With publishers shrinking and budgets tightening why make parallel investments in book apps for iOS and Android, especially if HTML5 can be used across both (as well as other) platforms?
One reason to stay with a platform-specific approach is that your apps can fully leverage all the device’s capabilities. That’s generally not possible with HTML5 but (a) I’ll bet that situation changes and (b) how many rich ebooks really need to communicate with a phone’s built-in gyroscope, for example?
What do you think? Will publishing opt for a more agnostic solution like HTML5 or are we likely to see more investments in iOS- and Android-specific apps?