The Mobile Web
The advantages are many,
- The time to market and cost is minimal.
- You target all or most of the devices in one shot.
- You can reuse your entire back-end infrastructure as it is.
- You could always have 2 versions of your site - one for high-end devices and other for lower end and redirect traffic according to the User Agent headers.
- It helps to understand your user base. (Explained in next section)
Understand your user base
If you look at the web there is enough data available on the prominent platforms, which is most popular today, which one is growing faster etc etc. I would think that as architects we look at our specific enterprises user base before jumping in to conclusions.
For following points to be noted regarding developing native apps:
- It is practically impossible for enterprises to target all platforms.
- Also generic solutions like J2ME (which can run on all platforms having the run time installed) have been found to be not as powerful in exploiting the phone's specific features in a lot of platforms. So at times, your application loses the coolness it could have had by developing on the native SDK.
Which platform should I target?
I believe the answer lies in knowing your user base. And that is where your mobile website helps. By capturing the analytics on your mobile website, you could easily come up with the required data for the most prominent platforms in your user base. This is a fairly quick exercise and the patterns should be clear in a couple of months if you have enough traffic on your mobile web site.
It makes sense to drive your decision based on data and customize your solutions to your specific user base.