In several cases— building a mobile site will be faster and more cost-effective and allow you to avoid the frustrations of dealing with app store approvals and updates.
Only a few cases in which a native app (Mobile App) is truly the best possible decision: mobile games, which need a high level of animation and feature, and apps that involve intense manipulation of images such as thorough product views, 360 degree spins, and the like.
These functions can be achieved with HTML5 — but little efficiently as with the native app code.
Practically we should opt to build a mobile website instead of an app most of the time.
Be Where Users Are Looking
But we’ll be building apps for some time to come for the simple reason that it is what the business — and users — demand.
App stores, iTunes in particular, have become a critical content discovery channel and if we are a household name brand, our customers will expect to find us there.
Over time, HTML5 web applications may replace native apps altogether.
In 1-3 years, we may find that app stores have evolved to be destinations where we discover links to mobile web applications and purchase access to and subscriptions for, browser-based mobile content.
For us, the users, it doesn’t matter how the app is built — most of us don’t know or care about the difference between native code and browser code. We just want good content that’s easy to find. This is why app stores are here to stay.
Unfortunately, this brings about a whole new set of considerations for marketers. With a mobile website, you have simply have to build a great site and direct traffic to it via SEO and SEM.