Commonwealth Bank Explains Why Its Android App Was A Bookmark

When the Commonwealth Bank rolled out its Android app in February, it copped a lot of criticism from Lifehacker readers (amongst others) for being not much more than a bookmark to the NetBank site. According to CommBank executives, that was largely due to security concerns, but the future of its app strategy will be centred on HTML5 rather than platform-specific apps.

I’ve spent the day at a Commonwealth Bank media session on how it is evolving its technology strategy to meet customer needs, and I’ll be writing that up in more detail later. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask: why wasn’t the Android app made into more of a full-featured application?

According to head of online banking Drew Unsworth, the main reason the bank rushed an application to market was to make sure there was a legitimate Commonwealth Bank app in the Android Market and ensure scammers couldn’t roll out potentially dodgy alternatives. “The key was to remove those and to give customers an entry point to remove those,” he told Lifehacker.

While some of the bank’s current iPhone apps do use phone-specific features, Unsworth said that long-term development strategies would centre around HTML5. An iPad-specific NetBank app will launch in May, but Unsworth noted that this was developed in HTML5 and can be easily ported to other platforms or made available generally via a browser. “The app that we did for the iPad was done in HTML5, so we can take it to any device. That’s the way that we would be going in the future.”

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