Native vs. cross-platform distinction and Android vs. iOS

The market for web conferencing solutions is constantly evolving and to make sure our rankings are accurate we have updated our evaluation criteria in two major areas: native vs. cross-platform solutions and smartphone and tablet support.

Making a distinction between “fat” client and browser-based web conferencing solutions does not reveal the contour of the platform landscape any more. Today’s “browser-based” solutions are predominantly Flash-based solutions – and the previous issue that some Flash solutions ran on Windows Internet Explorer only has diminished. We decided that it is much more meaningful to group Flash and Java-based solutions under “platform independent” solutions (vs. native OS client solutions), as both share the same advantages (mostly broad platform support) and challenges (installation of separate runtime environment required and partially limited support of OS-specific interface standards). Also, WebRTC as a new standard for browser-based “no install” online meetings is currently gaining acceptance and we have prepared our rankings accordingly to reflect this new standard’s impact on the web conferencing market.

In addition to this change, our smartphone and tablet support section now focuses on Android, iOS, Windows RT, and BlackBerry PlayBook operating systems -Android and iOS are the most common ones and we highlight them in our evaluation overview accordingly. We no longer separately evaluate individual devices. Especially the distinction between iOS for iPhone and iOS for iPad no longer made real sense. In our frank opinion, serious online meetings require a form factor larger than a smartphone’s one. In our evaluations you will now find a comment if you are able to host and/or participate in meetings using your smartphone or tablet.

A before–after check of our ranking revealed that these changes, although they also included a complete re-design of the score weighting and calculation for the topic “platform support”, finally only resulted in small movements in the rank order. Still, with these changes and the more detailed evaluation overviews we now bring even more transparency into the market and are well prepared to reflect any changes that might come due to WebRTC being widely adopted.

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