Apps or HTML 5 ?

I moderated a panel at adTech in Singapore a few months back – all about how the tablet is changing the game for news and media consumption. AWSJ was there and the FT – 2 papers I read at times. I rarely by the AWSJ cause I get it in the hotels or pick it up when I can – from time to time I buy it. For the FT, the pink sheet, I usually pay for the weekend edition. I try to read news less and less so I am not inundated with a constant barrage of mostly useless news and propaganda but I enjoy sitting at a coffee shop with the FT weekend – a relaxing time for me.

More and more I am using my iPad for stuff – banging this post out on it right now. At times I am experimenting with reading on it as well. Using kindle more than I thought I would and even buying some editions of Fortune Mag and such.

One of the talks at the panel centered around HTML 5 versus apps. FT has recently made a lot of noise around their HTML 5 experience around the iPad. For the most part I am impressed with the layout, navigation, speed and even some offline caching – but when it comes to ease of use around paying for a unit of data and the billing experience I would have to give it a big fat #fail.

First off I can’t just buy the FT weekend issue – this is stupid since I can walk to the paper version and buy only the weekend edition. Why am I forced to buy an annual subscription? My guess is because they don’t want to have to manage the billing for just a small amount of money but this is where not integrating with my apple iTunes account makes no sense at all. If they had made an app I would be able to just buy the weekend issue and be done with it. I would also have a nice seamless experience and not have to worry about if I cached enough data for offline reading.

What’s worse though is the form I have to enter for the subscription is so long that I mostly decided just not to bother with it. Of course the FT could complain about margins and such but seems to me they would have collected some money from me rather than no money from me.

So it is not just about apps versus HTML 5 but about ease of use, time and the billing relationship.

Apps win.

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