Mobile Web App or Native Apps?

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Mobile Web App

A mobile web app is an Internet-enabled app that works on all mobile phones, tables, and the latest desktop browsers. You access it through your mobile device’s web browser and you don’t need to download and install it on the device.

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Native App

A native app is installed directly on your device. You typically acquire an app through an online store or marketplace such as Apple Store or Google Play. A native app requires a separate version to be developed for each type of device.

So, how do you decide which one you need ?

Unless you need a specific application that requires native functionality like camera, accelerometer, GPS, you start with a mobile web app that guareantees you will reach the broadest audience for the least cost.

FeatureMobile Web AppNative App

  • Can be accessed immediatly from the browser, no installations required. Integrates well with QR codes
  • App store approval required, which can take 2-4 weeks. Users have to download and install it from the app market

  • Work on all mobile phones, tablets and latest desktop brwosers
  • A separate app has to be developed for each device

  • Cheap, one web app for all devices
  • Expensive to develop and maintain for different devices and versions
Internet connectivity
  • Can work offline and read data from the local storage
  • Can work without Internet connection

App upgrades
  • Immediately visible to users
  • Have to be pushed to users and a new version downloaded

  • Can be indexed by Google
User interface
  • Improving at high speed
  • Smooth look and feel
Native functionality
  • Getting better getting at accessing certain mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS and GPS
  • Can leverage functionality like camera, GPS, graphics etc
Hybrid solutions
  • Just the shell of the application is implemented natively, the rest of the application runs in a web view