I just read an article on SF Gate via Business Insider that said that because Facebook is buying Instagram for $1 billion they are backing away from HTML5.
Yes, Instagram is a native app, not an HTML5 web application. But I don’t see that as a signal that I should give up on HTML5 applications in favor of native apps. I see that as a signal that Facebook thinks they can recoup over a billion dollars from the Instagram app because they think it will add that much value to their other offerings.
The same article states that web applications can be slower than native applications. Sure, this is true. But it’s also true that web applications can be faster. And yes, Facebook’s application could be slow, but I suspect that was more due to a somewhat rushed dev cycle and not enough time to optimize things rather than simply because HTML5 apps are slower. By buying Instagram they can add those features into their Facebook app without having to reinvent the wheel.
The article also states that the reason that the Facebook app was so slow to load was that “every screen in the app had to load like a Web page.” And as proof, they linked to a Business Insider article that says “With the Facebook iPhone app, there are 6 screens a user has to go through before a user can actually take a picture.” I suspect that Nicholas Carlson may have been confused when he read that. I don’t read that as meaning that every page has to load like a web page, but rather that there are 6 screens or steps to go through before you can take a picture, compared to Instagram’s 1.
I honestly think that this is a good, if expensive, move on Facebook’s part. They get a photo app that is already very popular, and I’m sure we will see Instagram style features in the Facebook app in the future because of this acquisition. But I think it says a lot more about how Nicholas Carlson feels about HTML5 (negatively) than it does about how Facebook feels.