Jan 22, 2021

about 3 min read

Mobile app vs Web app - What is the right choice in 2021?

Unprecedentedly, the typical time invested in smartphones has recently surpassed the time spent on TV. As calculated by eMarketer's, the regular US resident will spend as much as 3hrs 54minutes on cell phones in 2021. These statistics signal the ripe opportunity to build a focused application for your products. Making an application for your business is considered to be the quickest way to trigger business development.

As both web and mobile applications have developed quickly, corporates continuously ask themselves: Which one is the correct medium to reach a particular target. Shockingly, numerous business leaders don't have the foggiest idea about distinguishing web applications and mobile applications. That brings us to this article's purpose today; we'll ultimately discover which is better for your business: Mobile apps or Web apps?

What is Web App & what is Mobile App?

Mobile apps are intended for an explicit platform, such as iOS (Apple iPhones) or Android (Samsung and other brands). Users download them from their app store, install them, and then grant access to system assets, such as GPS and cameras. Mobile applications are an attachment to the phone's software itself. Paypal, Pinterest, Messenger, and Telegram are a few instances of famous mobile applications.

Learn more - Cost of creating an app

On the other hand, web apps are in the form of a website that adjusts to whichever device you're browsing them on. They are not native to a specific framework, and you can't download nor install them at all. Because of their responsive capability, they look and feel like mobile applications — and this is why they're often mistaken. That leaves us with the quest to deep dive into the differences in details.

Web App vs Mobile App Comparison

Web Apps | Mobile Apps
Needs an Internet connection to run | Can run offline
Takes longer to load | Faster and more efficient
The system will update automatically | Users need to regularly download updates
No need to download | Need to be downloaded and installed
The total time users spend on websites when using desktop devices is larger than the total time for mobile. | An average mobile user spends more time on Mobile applications than a web browser. The daily time spent on mobile and desktops is 132mins and 39mins respectively.
Developers need not cater to the underlying platform | Developers need to write code targeting a specific platform or hardware.

Read more - Hybrid apps vs Native apps

How Mobile Apps are built

Mobile apps are more costly to create than web applications. Since they are platform explicit, making an application across various systems essentially implies coding every building block from appearance to functionality barehanded. Nonetheless, they run much more smoothly and have the potential to be developed with multiple features. 

Native mobile apps 

Native mobile apps are a built-in component of a particular platform. For apps on iPhones, developers will apply Swift or Objective-C. Meanwhile, they use Java or C++ for their Android counterparts. On occasions when apps are written for Windows Phone, C# is in use. Building native apps essentially mean you will have to develop variants of the app for each platform. All of which will have at least a few inconsistencies in UI. 

Hybrid apps

Hybrid apps, as apparent as it sounds, is a combination of mobile app & web app. They are nothing different from Mobile apps - you will install them from the app store, but then when you open the app, they will  behave like a web app using WebView (full-screen mini browser of the platform itself)

How Web-apps are built

Non-native means were purposefully made to avoid coding duplication and give engineers more time to build apps. In general, web-app will be made with languages such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5 without any official software development tools as opposed to mobile apps.  It takes less time to construct web apps than mobile apps — yet they are a lot less complicated with a limited range of features.

Progressive Web Apps

There is one more trend not to forget about - PWAs or progressive web apps! They use recent browser innovations to help web apps reach the complexity level of mobile apps. Nonetheless, there remains insufficient OS support & functionality compared to real mobile apps.

Web apps & Mobile apps - When to use which

When to build a web app

Suppose you intend to have an interactive panel for reading information or any other cases where the user experience is fulfilled only with an internet connection. In that case, you can opt for the web app. Meanwhile, to upgrade your current mobile site, PWAs - progressive web apps are a good option to pick.

When to build a native mobile app

Native mobile apps, on the other hand, will do wonders if your app needs access to its camera or GPS. While hybrid mobile apps can also do the trick, the user experience wouldn't be as smooth. Pokémon Go is the native app that uses both the camera and device GPS, plus augmented reality.

When to build a hybrid mobile app

While hybrid mobile apps aren't as prevalent as web & native apps, it is the choice of many big brands globally. In specific conditions, web apps are made into hybrid apps to enjoy native features such as getting listed on the app store. If you thought Twitter is a native app, it's not your fault. It looks and feels like one, but secretly, it is a hybrid app!

Making the Right Choice

Finally, if you are planning a mobile strategy for your organization, we can help you make informed decisions with the right project plan to match your goals. Please contact us for additional information. 

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