There’s a big debate out there on this topic but there’s no silver bullet. Mobile web and native apps offer different benefits and serve different audiences. You need to look at what experience your app needs to deliver? What you are trying to achieve? What is your business model? What is your budget? Who is your target? etc; weigh the pros and cons of both the mediums and decide what works best for you.
It is obvious that from a cost / time to market / UX perspective the options order or path that businesses usually chose is:1) mobile website transcoder/optimizer (with custom design option to enhance the UX)2) own mobile website for the unique or relatively complex cases3) native wrapper around mobile website from (1) or (2) built with PhoneGap or similargreat design 4) 100% native app with great designMany businesses skip some options, some of them make a mistakes by spending too much time on (3) before they reach (4) – but based on our experience most end up with combination of (1) and (4) or (2) and (4).If you take a look at the publishers as a market/segment leaders (Bloomberg, BNET, TIME etc) who benefit from a mobile user base utmost – they all have mobile web sites along with native app. How did they all start? Mobile Web. And they will continue to maintain both.
If you want to dig in even more deeper Max Klatz has created an interesting table that gives a blow by blow comparison of native apps Vs mobile web