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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 NEW Kindle iOS App Makes You Smarter!

On Productivity - Technology - Video

Last week the magic integration of Kindle books with professional narration dropped on iOS! This tilts the book buying choice back in favor of Kindle over the iBook store.

So how can this make me smarter (being as I'm already pretty smart)? Well now when you buy a book, if there is professional narration, you can add it for a discounted price. This allows you to listen to books on walks, getting ready in the AM or waiting in line, and follow along in the Kindle book at the same time, when something catches your ear. The pages even turn for you.

This combined approach to learning is handy because, if a jew of wisdom is dropped on your head, you can immediately highlight it in the book for future reference. Internalizing key insights you are exposed to, through study and reference, is what delivers the value that enticed you to buy the book to start with. This is your easiest path to becoming the expert — by learning, and then by applying what you learned.

When getting ready for bed, if you do a little reading after hours, you can read the Kindle book visually, and pick up the next morning in the same place, listening as you get ready. This is a feature owners of Kindle e-readers have had for a while, but it has finally come to iOS, which is a smart business move by Amazon.

Where you left off in your book, your bookmarks, notes, and highlights sync across devices too — so switching between your iPhone, iPad or Kindle device couldn’t be easier. It is a very pleasant way to absorb information. Most of us are visual learners, and others auditory, but the combination of the two is immersive, and the convenience of switching between the two is unparalleled.

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