Amazon recently became the first major online store to offer HTML5 in its App Store. These apps contain browser-based software and can be used on multiple operating systems.
This move distinguishes the Amazon App Store from the other two major app retailers, Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play, both of which only offer native applications.
Traditionally when making web apps available for mobile devices, developers are usually forced to rewrite the app. So the announcement by Amazon is great news for developers. Amazon Vice President Mike George believes, “by launching support for HTML5 web apps in the Mobile App Distribution Program, we’re giving web developers the tools they need.”
Amazon is also offering help to ensure that the HTML5 apps are working properly. The company announced that it will offer tools to debug and monetize HTML5 apps. Additionally, in order to ensure compatibility with their current devices, Amazon has optimized its Kindle Fire tables so that the new HTML5 apps will run as smoothly as native apps.
This move by Amazon could help spur the growth of HTML5 apps, which have the benefit of being able to be run on most smartphones through a Web browser. But currently, consumers cannot easily find them because so few retailers are selling them. Amazon’s announcement may change that. We will have to wait and see if other app retailers follow suit.