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Head to Head Series: Web Apps vs. Native Apps

Following the introduction of smartphones and the growing number of mobile internet usage, Applications or Apps have become a staple component of many businesses. Both e-commerce and brick & mortar based businesses often utilize Apps to streamline transactions or improve their user experience to ultimately benefit their customers. There are many additional benefits to creating an App but before jumping in, it is necessary to understand the two different types of Apps:

  1. Native Apps – Found within Apple, Google and Amazon’s individual App hubs, native apps are built from the ground up to act as a stand-alone software that is meant to be downloaded and utilized differently by each unique device. Native apps require heavy engineering and developmental work as the app will need to be optimized for each platform that it is intended to be downloaded on. For example, a native app on an iPhone will not operate the same way on an iPad as the screen resolution is significantly different. Even more so, a native app on an iPhone will require a vast amount of changes before it can run on an Android device as the different operating systems require different codes for an app to run properly.
  2. Web Apps – Based on a mobile web browser, web apps are essentially websites that are built to function like an app. Because the app is based on the web, the development process is much easier and most mobile devices that have access to the web can utilize the app without having to download or update anything.

Native Apps – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Native Apps can be optimized for a unique device and operating system, ensuring that users are utilizing the app to its full capabilities and potential.
  • More functionality as hardware is the only limiting factor to a Native app. A wide variety of functions are readily available to be implemented and new functions can be developed and implemented into the app.
  • In-app performance is much stronger on Native apps as the main contents of the app are physically downloaded on each device.

Cons

  • Expensive to produce and distribute as heavy engineering and developmental work is required for each unique app. Distribution is also expensive as App stores and hubs are the main outlets for distribution. There is a 30% fee for each paid download.
  • Getting someone to download an app requires a ton of marketing to convince users that the app is worthy of a download. With the flood of available apps in the marketplace, it is hard to stand out.

Web Apps – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Easier to develop and update as the process is universal across most devices.
  • Production cost is much more affordable and streamlined. There are services that also provide DIY solutions for web-based apps.

Cons

  • Lack of customizable functions may limit user-friendliness.
  • Push notifications are not available on web apps, preventing you from notifying users of updates or changes.

Assessing the pros and cons of the two different types of Apps will solidify which direction to go when developing or building your app. Utilizing them wisely will truly benefit your business.

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