A website is not enough! RBS choose PlayBook tablet and a native application

It was interesting to read that RBS are to offer institutional clients a PlayBook tablet app

Obviously the choice of the as yet unreleased Blackberry PlayBook is mildly controversial, with most of the world talking about iPads or Android based tablets. The PlayBook has the advantage that it is made by Blackberry, who still dominate the corporate phone market, but whether that makes the PlayBook the right horse to back is open to debate.

However, what I found more interesting was the quote at the end of the article.

“Successful banks in this space will deliver content optimised for client use on their preferred devices. Mobile access to a Website will not be enough.”

There is a lot of debate in the tech world about native vs web for mobile devices. There are benefits to both of course, but the last sentence (Mobile access to a Website will not be enough) is possibly confusing. However good mobile browsers are at viewing websites, if it is content that is intended to be regularly viewed on a mobile device a more targeted approach can provide a much improved user experience.

This does not mean that a ‘website’ that is designed for mobile devices cannot be as good as, or even better, than a device specific native application. This would normally be called a ‘web app’ rather than a ‘website’, which is where the ambiguity in the quote lies. The difference may be subtle in some cases, but it is important that a mobile application, native or web app, is made with the type of device, screen size and input method in mind.