Andrew Holden is co-founder and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at Weever Apps. Andrew is a web development expert and frequently writes about mobile visitor engagement and online best practices.

HTML5 is everywhere this year!  Google supports it.  Facebook’s all over it.  It’s clear that HTML5 is the future for mobile.

Ok, that’s cool. So what is HTML5 and what does it do for mobile?

Great question! HTML5 is the latest version of HTML – the standard for presenting and structuring content on the World Wide Web.  One of the great advancements with HTML5 is that it allows websites to function like mobile apps by offering design capability that is mobile friendly, as opposed to laptop/desktop friendly.  This means websites can be designed to fit mobile screens and have a user interface that is easy to control and highly functional with a touch screen. The term used for this technology is “web app”.

For practical purposes, there are two ways to implement a “web app”.

  1. Websites can be designed so that they can scale from a desktop monitor down to a smart phone screen.
  2. An independent web app can be designed, which will open when a website is accessed on a mobile device.

This new approach of presenting mobile content is breaking down barriers – including time, money, and the ubiquitous App Store.  The doors are now being opened to individuals and small business.  Big players are also gravitating to this alternative as they recognize the benefits.

Here are the facts about the mobile market:  50% of all local searches are now on mobile devices.  This is largely due to smart phone ownership surpassing cell phone ownership in the US and other countries.  Despite this notable adoption, most businesses don’t have any mobile solution of any kind – let alone the subsequent marketing benefits.  Unfortunately, traditional app development is just too time-consuming, expensive, and technical.

So without further ado, here are five reasons why HTML5 is going to keep growing in a big way:

1 – It’s not about iPhones.  It’s about ALL phones.

For all the buzz Apple iPhone generates, it only represents 25% of the market.  Google Android is the market leader with 50% of the Smartphone market in North America and BlackBerry does surprisingly well with tablet sales.  Web apps work for all popular touch phones and tablets – letting you to connect to every customer.  That’s not just a good thing – that’s business-critical.

2 – It’s affordable.

HTML5 web apps run for about half the price and half the time to market compared to native (machine-code based) apps.  Building native apps can also be a nightmare.  Let me repeat that – an expensive, time-consuming, nightmare.  Building one-mobile-platform (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, iPad, the list goes on…) just isn’t a workable solution for most companies.  And it gets worse because…

3 – Things change.  Your Business will Change.

Imagine you’re a business owner and its six months after your new machine app has launched – your business and customers have changed a little; and you need to make an update.  Good luck!  Start tracking down the development team, get your marketing and sales folks involved again, and get ready to pay them all again.  Then, resubmit to the app store… and wait.

Web apps can reflect your organizations’ updates quickly.  Like a website, changes can be implemented instantly.  There’s just no comparison to a mobile solution that allows a business to be responsive to priorities and needs in real-time.

4 – Location, Location, Location.

Proximity is one of the best indicators for interest, relevance, customer purchases – you name it.  Web apps have the capability to provide location-based services, like informing users with nearby points of interest and enabling users to tag content (i.e. photos and notes) to specific locations.

5 – Your Brand is Web Wide and Social.  Your app should be too.

What is a web site anyway?  It’s a location where your business/brand/persona lives online.  Except that it’s not just that way with the modern web anymore.  Brands, people and products exist across the entire web – on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Tumblr and hundreds (if not thousands) of other services.  Today, that’s where connections are made, products and people are found, and new ideas grow.

Web apps are made to work and live with other elements of your brand on the web – allowing you to connect to your existing customers, find new ones, or just share ideas in every way possible.  Web apps excel, appropriately enough, at working with other web applications.

That’s just year one folks; wait till you see what’s coming next!