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Packaging & Distribution in the Digital Age: Or, Why Even Grandma Loves Apps

There's long been a raging debate going over HTML vs. Native Apps. Just Googling the debate returns over 3.7 million results.

I'm here to tell you, that's the wrong way of thinking of things.

It's like debating whether oil or water will win when mixed. You can't get the right answer if you're asking the wrong question. While oil and water don't mix well, they can co-exist in the same bottle, and there are valid times you might want to use each.

Let's dive into the right way to think about mobile, and specifically about the role native apps will play. A better analogy of the mobile landscape is from the point of view of a car manufacturer like Honda. Honda makes a lot of Honda Accords -- they're its bread & butter. But for years, Honda had a Formula One team. A Honda Accord will never compete at the Formula One level, nor was it meant to. And conversely, if Honda only had a Formula One team, it wouldn't have the massive market share in the auto market that the Accord and other bread & butter models provide it, but Honda did learn a lot about how to make really great engines from its Formula One program.

In the same way, mobile apps are the "Formula One" of mobile, and HTML is the Honda Accord. You can get wide distribution across many phones by having a mobile HTML presence, but you can't do the sexy, progressive types of things that you can do with apps, because an app is typically compiled software which can leverage the specific hardware functionality of the phone (the camera, the address book, geolocation, the microphone, and many other things).

The 8 iPhone apps I use most

On Mike Dariano

When John Saddington began crippling his iPhone it got me thinking about how I really use my iPhone so I began pruning it. I removed apps, organized, and simplified. Now I've done it again and am down to the 8 best apps I have and what I use them for. The background is a reminder of how I should live my life. Each time I see my phone I take one of those ideas and try to do it for the next hour, no excuses. @Buster created the original list, check it out then make your own.

1. I use phone for calls. Of the 8 apps this probably gets the least use.

2. Mail. When I began pairing down my phone for the second time I began thinking about what I could consolidate. I removed GoodReads and Facebook and instead use their email services and mobile sites to update, view and continue conversations.

3. Calendar. I see my wife's work schedule, plan our meals here, see my work schedule.

4. Music. I removed the Downcast app because I was more bored with podcasts and more interested in audio books and music. If you enjoy podcasts check it out.

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