On Nov. 9, 2011, Adobe finally announced that it would no longer develop its Flash Player for mobile browsers.

Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager, interactive development at Adobe, stated, "HTML5 is now universally supported on major devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across multiple platforms."

The announcement had many pundits not only contemplating the future of mobile app development, but the future of the Adobe Flash desktop Web browser plug-in, as well. Ultimately, the announcement paves the way for open Web standards.

Mobile Internet usage is projected to surpass desktop Internet usage by 2014. As a real estate professional, have you optimized your website and content for the Post-PC era? Have you been contemplating whether to create a native app vs. a Web app?

A native app is developed in a specific programming language (Java for Android and ObjectiveC for iOS), is typically downloaded from a marketplace such as the Apple App Store, and runs on the device’s processor.

A Web app can be created using HTML5 and CSS3 and is accessed through the mobile device’s preinstalled Web browser.

Native apps are elegant, streamlined and have sparked the mobile revolution. However, every real estate brokerage should have an optimized mobile version of its website.

If you don’t have a mobile version of your real estate website, I recommend prioritizing a Web app.

It is crucial for businesses today to have a mobile-optimized website. With open standards being defined and innovative techniques such as Responsive Web Design (a flexible Web design that changes dynamically according to the devices screen size) being developed, there are many advantages to creating Web apps:

  • Web apps are typically less expensive than native apps to develop;
  • Unlike native apps, Web apps do not need to be developed for multiple platforms (iOS, Android and BlackBerry);
  • Web apps do not have to be downloaded from a marketplace;
  • Web apps do not have to be upgraded manually by the end user; and
  • Most important, consumers are accessing your website on their mobile device.

It’s also important to note that marketing a native property-search app is a competitive space dominated by the likes of Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.

According to a Compuware report, "What Users Want from Mobile," "57 percent of consumers would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site." It’s time for real estate pros to begin developing mobile strategies and spending the appropriate time refining content and the mobile user experience.

To help, Google launched GoMo, a website devoted to assist businesses in developing their mobile websites. It is a valuable resource whether you are in the exploratory phase or already have a mobile website and want to optimize the experience.

What does the future hold for mobile app development?

Net Applications, a Web monitoring company, reported that Apple had 61.5 percent of the mobile and tablet operating systems market share in October 2011. Apple is certainly committed to the native app ecosystem — it is the foundation of its platform.

Android Market and Android native apps have been very successful, as well. However, the data indicates that consumers also want a fast, streamlined mobile Web experience. The real estate industry needs to focus on cross-platform applications and deliver this to its clients.

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