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Native app vs web app

Native mobile apps vs. Mobile web apps: which should you go for?

By | March 20, 2017

The moment you consider to make an investment in the app development field, you have stepped into a very risky and costly game, in which you have to make every smart move in order not to waste your hard-earning budget. At your very first step, you may get confused among native mobile apps, mobile web apps and hybrid apps. You will wonder what are the differences between them and more important, which is most appropriate for your app. In order to decide which one you should adopt to your app, you need to consider the following points:

Native mobile apps vs web apps

 

  1. Accessibility & installation

A mobile web app is a website that provides some basic mobile device features (like maps and click-to-call features) and has a specially designed format to look good on mobile devices. It can be accessed via the Internet browser without installation, but of course, with Internet provided. One more disadvantage is that it has limited scope for using some certain mobile devices’ features.

On the contrary, you can only use a native mobile app after you find it in the app store and install on your mobile devices. If you use the app on other devices, of course, you have to do that job once more. However, once you install it, it works with the device’s built-in features, so it is easier to be launched (just by a single tap on the icon) and it can perform faster without the Internet.

 

  1. Purposes of use

Both methods have certain strong points that satisfy users’ purposes of using the app. Studies show that users prefer mobile web apps for shopping, searching and entertainment, while choosing native mobile apps for managing data, playing games, and using productivity apps. In addition, the frequency of users using your apps is also a matter. For example, if a new customer seeks for information about a company, or look for directions, or whichsoever activities that they don’t do regularly, they don’t want to download an app on their phone to handle these tasks. For these types of users, a mobile-friendly web app is an excellent choice. In contrast, for a loyal customer want to take out orders on a weekly basis, installing an app on their phone would be more useful and convenient.

 

  1. Goals of development and release:

Beside audience purposes, your own goals of developing and releasing the app also contribute to your decision of choosing between these two types of apps. If you tend to release an app with a lot of interactive features, a native mobile app will do. On the other hand, if you want to simplify your existing websites or publish a mobile-friendly content that can reach a large audience, then a native mobile app would be a smarter choice. In short, a native mobile app is suitable for specific activities and target audience while a mobile web app is a new solution for the general audience. You can build both, a mobile web app in the first step of creating the mobile presence and a native mobile app for developing more specific features that can’t be effectively used via web browsers.

 

  1. Cost & Longevity

A mobile web app takes less time, money and effort to develop, maintain and release. However, a native mobile app has more potential for longevity and growth, so if an app can be long-lasting, it would worth the higher costs.Compare the cost between native app and web app

 

  1. Compatibility, Maintenance and Upgradability on multi-platform

Native mobile apps are more difficult to be compatible on different mobile devices, which is a real challenge for developers. The cost of developing, maintaining, supporting and updating on multiple platforms is also higher for native apps. The progress with mobile web apps is much easier, as they have a common code base across multiple platforms, and they can be manipulated to be compatible with more than one mobile device.

Users use different mobile browsers to access to mobile web apps. This requests developers for more budgets and efforts in managing to maintain, update and support all of the users.

 

  1. Marketplace supports

Native mobile apps get full support from the app marketplaces. Users can easily find or even go “shopping” in these stores and choose to download the apps they are interested in. It is more difficult to discover web apps, as they are not systematically listed in any app marketplaces. However, the web apps have greater reach capability in search engines.

Moreover, native apps must get through the approval of the app store, the safety and security of the apps are firmly guaranteed, while mobile web apps are a little bit riskier.

However, the process of getting the app approved at the app store can be long and tedious that is not always successful. Web apps do not require submissions to any app stores for approval, so the developers can release them at any time and in any form they want.

 

Hybrid apps

Hybrid app

While native apps and web apps are neck and neck, here come the hybrid apps to take the best of both worlds. Hybrid apps are built in the combination of the same technologies used to build web apps, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, so it’s faster, easier, and more rapid to develop and maintain. However, they are wrapped in a native container, which enables them to do things like access hardware capabilities of the mobile device. This allows you to use any web-native framework you want, change platforms anytime you need and enhances user experience to the max. The main problem with hybrid apps is that they still depend on browsers, which means they are not as fast as native apps.

 

Conclusion

All types of apps do have pros and cons. Hopefully, Mobytelab has given you a sound understanding of these types of apps available. Consider the above aspects and then make a choice of the method that goes the best with your app. There is no definitive answer to that question. You may have heard that mobile web app is one of the hottest trends in technology on 2017. It may be proven to be true, but that doesn’t mean you should follow the trend. Your choice should depend on your end goals, your budget and time-scale.

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