58 is the number of times an average user checks their smartphone on a daily basis. If we had to refine this statistic further, an average US citizen looks at their smartphone every twelve minutes and around 10% of them check their phones every four minutes.
By the time, you reach the end of the article, chances are high that you would have checked your smartphone once. Similarly, it is also highly possible that you are reading this article on your smartphone right now. Such has become our dependency on smartphones.
With people spending an average of up to 4 hours on their smartphone every single day, businesses are looking at this as an amazing opportunity to develop an app for their brands and push their products and services directly to their users.
This is a wise choice as well because over half of the global traffic for businesses come from mobile. Besides, in-app advertising is also an extremely profitable source of revenue with global expenditures anticipated to number to around $201bn by the end of 2021.
From a business owner perspective, the process ends with the decision to develop and roll out an app for their venture. For developers, product and project managers out there, this is where their work begins.
For the uninitiated, mobile apps are of two types – native apps and mobile web apps. Both look, feel and function very differently from each other with the distinctions being clearly visible to users. Depending on business requirements, competition, market segment, user demographics and more, businesses have to decide if they intend to prefer a native app or a mobile web app solution. Both offer their own set of pros and cons for developers, business owners and the end users.
So, it is extremely crucial to get a clear idea of what both are and which one should be preferred for development. If you have an app development company or if you’re an entrepreneur, looking to build an app for your venture, this post is just right for you.
Here, we break down what native app development and mobile web app development are, their advantages and disadvantages and shed light on other resourceful insights.
Let’s get started.
Native Mobile Apps
What Are They?
Like you know, there are two broad types of users – iOS users and Android users. Owned by Apple and Google respectively, developers have to develop an app for either an Android device or an Apple device (or both). Things get a little complicated here because the device features, operating systems, functionality requirements, development frameworks, strategies and protocols and more vary for both the systems and across devices and brands in each (mostly for Android).
With so many differences, developers cannot develop one single app and deploy it on both Android and iOS marketplaces. They have to individually build apps for both the operating systems, adhering to the requirements and mandates of each.
This means that both the time and budget involved in the native app development is more as business owners have to recruit two distinct teams of developers to work on individual versions.
While this may look like an operational constraint, native apps stand out in the fact that they offer exceptional performances and experience to users by completely leveraging the potential of the device they are deployed on.
For instance, native apps take full advantage of device components such as GPS, camera, processor and clock speed and more and offer a superior user experience. Advanced app development strategies can also allow users to control some of the components and execute actions through gestures and dictation.
To give you a better idea of what native app development is, here’s a complete breakdown.
- They directly access device hardware, offering fast and immersive experiences to users.
- Native apps can be used offline without having to be perpetually connected to the internet.
- Performance is mostly smooth and precise because data is stored and processed locally in the device with occasional syncs.
- Native app developers will only have to work on updating security patches and glitches as they are moderated for performance and standards by the prevailing app marketplaces.
The Not So Good
- The cost of development is higher for native apps.
- As the complexity associated with an app increases, the cost increases as well.
- It takes a lot of time to roll out a native app. This doesn’t work for businesses who are looking to quickly capitalize on a trend with minimal go to market.
- Getting an approval from app stores is a task in itself with so many compliances and adherences involved.
- Maintenance of the app is complex, specifically if a brand has apps rolled out for both the operating systems.
What Are They?
Contrary to how it sounds, mobile web applications are not apps in the first place. They are websites that look, feel and function like native apps but aren’t. They are not device or operating system specific like native apps. In fact, they can run on any device, operating system, version, browser and more without bias or prerequisites. The reason is they are simply websites that are rendered on device browsers. They are HTML web pages that are accessed by a URL. Even the term installation refers to the process of bookmarking the URL for quick access.
However, web application architecture cannot be trivialized to this extent as the implementation of HTML5 and CSS standards are increasingly bridging the gap between native and mobile web apps. The latter is gradually becoming more dynamic, interactive, responsive and functional like their native counterparts.
To get a more comprehensive idea, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of web applications.
- They don’t require any installation whatsoever. Simply an internet connection.
- Constant updating is not a concern users have to face frequently. They update autonomously when developers push one from the backend.
- They are relatively simpler to deploy and maintain.
- The time taken to build a web app is less (very).
- They just need to be taken live. There are no approvals or moderations involved like in native app development.
The Not So Good
- Strength can also be a weakness in mobile web app development. The fact that they have to be consistently connected to the internet hinders the functionality of the app and prevents users from executing a task when they are offline or in places with limited connectivity.
- Because they aren’t supervised or approved, one cannot be completely sure about the quality of web applications.
- App discoverability is a major concern and is immensely dependent on SEO.
- They offer limited functionalities and are comparatively slower.
A Tabular Analysis of Native And Mobile Web App Development
While understanding the pros and cons of each is good, what’s better is comparing both simultaneously and realizing what works for your business and what doesn’t. This will also help you understand the cost to develop an app and work accordingly on your budget and allied requirements.
We believe this extensive post helped you understand the differences between the two and to an extent arrive at a conclusion on which model you need to prefer for your business. If you are too confused, you could also take a middle ground and prefer progressive web app development strategies. These blend the best of both worlds for your app idea. What do you think? Let us know in your comments.