Native apps vs. mobile web apps – which option matches your business model?

If you are hoping to build a mobile application for your business, you need to decide whether you want a native app or a web app. This decision can make your project succeed or fail completely. Think twice before taking an approach. Native applications, as well as mobile web applications are popular among consumers. However, do their benefits translate to business results? It is important to have the right mobile strategy in place from the first day. In this article, you have the information you need to decide for yourself.

Native apps

A native app is a software program that is specifically developed for a mobile platform, such as Android or iOS, or mobile device. The application is installed directly on the gadget (smartphone, tablet, watch) and it works best in all circumstances. Users can download the app, together with its contents, via online stores (Google Play, Apple Store) or app marketplaces. Blackberry and Windows phones still exist, yet they do not have a considerable marketplace. Native applications account for approximately 90% of mobile traffic.

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The software program is coded in a specific programming language. This can be Objective-C, Python, or JavaScript. Developers write iOS applications using Objective-C, while they create Android applications with the help of JavaScript. Examples of native apps include Contacts, Mail, Photos, Google Maps. There are various development practices for each platform. Developers, as far as they are concerned, have to abide by the rules because they differ in graphic styles, typography, gestures, visual effects, and so on and so forth.

Advantages

·      Optimized app performance: A native app has the best performance because it is built precisely for the operating system. It is able to use the mobile device’s hardware and software. The contents and visual elements are stored on the device when the user navigates through the app. The information is stored locally and synchronizes with the server after the user is done with the application.

·      Offline capabilities: A native app can be deployed in the offline mode, managing the flow of data between the server and the user. It is quicker to open and access. If you want clients to take advantage of working without the Internet connection, you should develop a native application. The continuity of the network may not be perfect, but at least the features work offline. Mobile web apps, on the contrary, cannot operate offline.

·      Quality assurance: The number of apps in the marketplace is overwhelming. Consumers are looking to use the best one, so the software program should ensure a seamless experience. Quality assurance is a priority in native app development. Rankings in application stores will ensure the success of your project.

Drawbacks

·      Monetization: There are restrictions when it comes to integrating services on certain mobile ad platforms and networks. What is more, getting the application approved can turn out to be a long and tiresome process.

·      App update:  It is necessary to invest time in updating the native app for separate platforms – in other words, duplicate versions. Supporting multiple platforms means maintaining various code bases.

Mobile web apps

A mobile app is a feature-rich responsive application for mobile devices that requires an Internet browser to be installed on the device. Put simply, the application can be accessed via the mobile device’s Internet browser. As far as web app development is concerned, it has a short development cycle. Developers can use Microsoft Visual Studio to write code, along with other programming languages. Web technologies are used and there are no restrictions in terms of the underlying platform for development. As you can imagine, a mobile web app does not need to be downloaded.

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You can market a mobile web app to your customers quite easily. It eliminates installation time and complexity, running on low configuration devices. If one of the components of the mobile web app happens to fail, the end user can retrieve information from a backup server. A mobile web application is not the same thing as a mobile web page. They differ, although both are developed for handheld devices. A mobile web page is a static page, while an application is a software program that connects back-end databases and requires business logic. Examples of mobile web apps include the Safari browser and Google Docs.

Advantages

·      Easy development: The mobile web app runs in the device’s Internet browser, having singular features and perks. Development does not cost a lot of money and maintenance is low. Given that JavaScript engines in browsers are becoming faster, mobile web applications perform better.

·      Using a multitude of devices: Since it is not required to install new software, the mobile app can be accessed on numerous devices using an Internet browser. End-users can use the application on as many devices as they have.

·      Does not take up storage space: A mobile web app does not take up space on the device. They do not take up any room on the smartphone, tablet or watch, which can come in handy for consumers who have old models. This is why an increasing number of companies are adding mobile web apps to their tech solutions.

Drawbacks

·      Limitations with offline storage: A mobile web app does not always offer a meaningful offline experience. The good news is that ensuring offline functionality has become easier these days. Developers know how to make software programs work even in bad Internet conditions.

·      Absence of centralized marketplaces: It may be hard for consumers to find what they are looking for because there is no centralized app store, even if listings exist in Apple’s Web apps.

Native apps or mobile web apps? The decision is yours

As a business owner, it is important to make sure that you are developing the right application software for mobile devices. There is more than one option and you must take into account your objectives. If you wish to have a strong mobile presence, opt for a mobile web app. On the other hand, if you want an application that works just like a computer, building a native app is the smart thing to do. If you want to enjoy the best of both worlds, consider developing a hybrid app. It is just a thought.

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