A recent survey among developers revealed that half plan to use HTML5 for mobile apps in the future. An earlier survey showed that access to native device APIs is the biggest shortcoming of HTML5 compared to native apps. Several different approaches exist to overcome this limitation, among them cross-compilation and packaging the HTML5 as a native app. In this paper we propose a novel approach by using a device-local service that runs on the smartphone and that acts as a gateway to the native layer for HTML5-based apps running inside the standard browser. WebSockets are used for bi-directional communication between the web apps and the device-local service. The service approach is a generalization of the packaging solution. In this paper we describe
our approach and compare it with other popular ways to grant web apps access to the native API layer of the operating system.