Readability, a company that had a big problem with Apple's in-app purchase requirements, has relaunched its iOS services as an HTML5 app. Rest assured others will follow.
While the Readability move is positioned as a move because of Apple's requirements, the bottom line here is that developers want to write once and put apps everywhere. HTML 5 is the most expedient way to reach that goal.
Let's face it: As mobile browsers improve and HTML 5 becomes the norm many more Web sites are going to look like apps. In the months to come you may not know the difference. The hubbub around Apple's subscription requirements is just an excuse to go HTML 5 faster.
This HTML5 love affair isn't going to be the end of apps, but it will put them in their place. If all you're doing is reading apps, you can have HTML 5 for that.
Qualcomm's Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services, noted in a recent interview here:
“When’s the last time you downloaded an application on the desktop. Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and eBay are all accessed on a browser. You’ll do that on a phone. Content and services are going to go HTML 5. You can’t argue with the economics. There’s an economic pressure to innovate at scale and that means a drive to the browser."
That drive to the browser will increasingly minimize the importance of app counts for a lot of publishers. Why would you develop for a handful of mobile operating systems if HTML 5 can do the job?