On the surface, all mobile apps might appear to be pretty similar – many of them supply the same types of features, information, even user interfaces. However, when you really start comparing different apps, you’ll often notice limited functionality, speed, and quality of display on many apps currently being utilized by small and large businesses alike.
Essentially, what’s being described here is the difference between a mobile web app and a native app. A native app, or true app, is specifically built for a certain mobile device, such as an iPhone or Android, and is installed directly onto a device via a marketplace, like The App Store. Web apps run in your mobile device’s web browser; each one may have its own specific features and quirks, and are created using a standard development process. smart gallery app
While each business has different needs and expectations for their apps, native apps are generally regarded as the superior choice for a myriad of reasons.
The capabilities of a mobile web app versus a native app are really where you start to see the differences. Mobile web apps are more limited in their capabilities for the simple fact that they are often not built specifically for a device – in their simplest form, they’re essentially a mobile version of a website, which may or may not operate the same on all devices. Because they’re not built in to the fabric of a given device, they also cannot utilize many of the aspects of a smart device’s hardware and features.
Native apps, however, are built to interface with each device’s native features, information, and hardware, meaning the feature options for your app are significantly greater.
The other main difference you’ll notice between a mobile web app and a native mobile app is how they’re downloaded and accessed on various devices – this plays a big role in how you can market your app and use it to generate revenue for your business. Mobile web apps are accessed through a mobile device’s web browser, rather than downloaded from an app store, which means it can often be harder to get in the hands of your desired users simply because there’s no way for people to search for the app.
Native apps are downloaded directly to your mobile device and run as a standalone app, rather than through your device’s web browser. Additionally, they’re hosted in app stores and marketplaces, allowing perspective users to search for or organically find your mobile app. While native apps do have the extra step of undergoing an approval process in order to officially be put on the market, this does put them at somewhat of an advantage, credibility wise.
From a development standpoint, mobile web apps present a less daunting task. But while their common code base across all platforms might sound appealing, it can slow performance and also presents significant limitations both technologically and aesthetically. Additionally, the absence of a store or marketplace makes it harder for users to find your app, and the lack of approval process can often compromise quality for the app users.
Since native apps have to go through such a rigorous approval process, these apps tend to have better quality, uniqueness, and safety. The iPhone App Store, for example, is notorious for not approving apps because they don’t meet the correct requirements.
This is great news for app users because they’re guaranteed a higher quality app. On the other hand, this can be considered a good news/bad news situation for app developers; getting your app approved usually involves a longer, more tedious process, often requiring rebuilds and multiple submissions, which may extend the amount of time it takes to make your app available to your customers. However, once you get an app approved and available in the app store, your business’ credibility goes way up because consumers can be sure you’ve developed a quality app.