The Financial Times has decided to replace its aging mobile applications for iOS, Android and other platforms with a new web app based on HTML 5. The move could pave the way for more web apps based on the latest web standards — but not just because of the new features HTML5 offers. The new web app also offers the FT a way to provide its 600,000 subscribers with access to the news while sidestepping Apple’s rules for subscription-based apps sold in the App Store. Update: While the web app is designed for the iPhone and iPad you may have some luck getting it to work with browsers on some other platforms.

The FT joins a growing number of companies that have expressed displeasure with Apple’s system, where Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all subscription revenue. The move also offers a platform agnostic approach. You can access the web app on any mobile device with a web browser that supports HTML5.

The new web app is free to use until June 14th. You’ll need to pay for a subscription to keep reading after that, with prices starting at $4.99 per week.

Some users are reporting that the initial load time is tediously slow, but mine was zippy and about as fast as waiting for Mobiputing’s new app for iOS to load. The biggest problem is some unnecessary choppiness when tapping new categories, but the overall speed of the app felt quite fast compared to similar native iOS apps.

Check out the video below for a walkthrough:

Visit from your mobile browser to view the Financial Times’ new HTML 5 web app.

via TUAW



William Shaub is a performance major at Juilliard who balances a life in music with heavy doses of writing and tennis. He loves tech journalism, and spends an enormous amount of time on a smartphone. You...

5 replies on “The Financial Times launches new HTML 5 web app”

  1. I doubt Apple is shedding any tears. While the company certainly makes money off of subscriptions sold through the App Store, Apple execs have also insisted the company wants to push the adoption of web standards. The more high quality web apps there are, the more useful an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad becomes, whether you purchase a native app from the App Store or not. 

  2. I tried visiting the app site with my LG Optimus V but it tells me my device doesn’t support it.  I’ve got 3 different browsers on my phone but none seems to be HTML5 capable.  Can you recommend an android browser that is — or is my phone too underpowered for it to matter anyway?

    1. Interesting. I just tried it with the stock browser on my Nexus One and got the old page as well. But here’s what I did to get it working: Try using Dolphin Browser HD 5 and go into the settings and change your user agent from Android to “iPad.” That should trick the FT web app into recognizing your browser as an HTML5 capable browser. 

      I haven’t found a way to make the initial pop-up message go away though.

      1. Thanks, Brad — that did the trick.  Unfortunately, I’ve now got a different problem: a pop-up window explaining how to get offline access to the FT web app.  It hugs the top of the screen and I can’t get it to close. The blue X close window icon in the upper righthand corner is mostly inaccessible because it runs off the top of my screen. Nothing I do will get rid of this frickin’ window. Sheesh.

        1. Yeah, looks like it’s really optimized for iPhone and iPad. I’ve updated the post to reflect that. The Financial Times also offers a native app for Android though. 

Comments are closed.