There is a general perception that native mobile applications – which can be directly downloaded from the Play Store and installed on your phone – are more user-friendly than web-based apps, in terms of their general features. The high sales figures of native apps also seemingly bear evidence to this view. However, do these native, customized applications really outsmart the web apps on all counts? Let’s take a look:
- Creation – As far as the process of mobile application development is concerned, native apps do win hands down. Since they are customized for the different mobile platforms, the entire coding is done by the in-house developers of app companies. Detecting bugs (if any) and releasing updates is easier, and monitoring the application analytics becomes a cinch too. The time-factor is a concern though, and we will come to that later.
- Speed – This round also goes to native mobile applications. When you purchase and install an app from a Blackberry or iphone application development company, it automatically becomes a part of your handset’s built-in features. As such, launching them on compatible handsets hardly takes more than a few seconds. Web apps, due to their requirement of fairly strong internet connectivity at all times, are typically slower.
- Cost factor – From the perspective of professional app developers, the mobile application development cost for native apps is significantly higher than that of the web-based ones. Applications that are compatible across several platforms, in particular, can be rather pricey. The average time required to create prototypes of native apps is also higher. If you prefer native applications, you’ll have to wait more!
- Usability – According to experts from any top Android or iphone application development company, both native apps and web apps can be user-friendly – although the former seems to have the edge here. This is because most native applications can be seamlessly integrated with the phone camera, sound/video recorder, and other handset features. Apps downloaded from mobile websites are not likely to have this feature.
- App Store approval – A major point where web apps outscore the native mobile applications. For a developer who is in the business of iphone app development, it can take up to a few weeks, to get new applications approved and displayed at the online app stores. Even then, there is no guarantee that the app would be able to garner adequate amounts of users’ interest. Web applications do not require such store approval, and are, hence, easier to promote.
- Security – While getting visibility on the app stores can be a rather time-consuming process, the procedure can work in favor of native apps too. People can rest assured that a mobile application which has been quality-tested and approved by leading app stores would be bug-free and completely secure (both in terms of its operation, as well as its effects on the phone on which it is used). No such assurance is available for web apps, although the more well-known ones can be easily trusted.
- Requirement of internal memory – Native applications require a certain, pre-specified amount of memory space in handsets – for functioning in an efficient manner. That’s precisely why so much importance is given on selecting a mobile application development framework that would not consume too much of the available bandwidth on smartphones. Since web apps do not need any extra memory space to be launched and operated, their convenience is definitely higher on this count.
- Monitoring app performance – Way more challenging for native apps, than it is for web-based applications. A mobile application development company specializing in native app-creation would typically have to develop multiple versions of each app – depending on the platform (iphone, Blackberry, or Android) on which it would be used. The analytics for each of these versions have to be tracked, to get an idea of how the application is performing. As far as web apps are concerned, they have a single version, making performance tracking much easier.
- Finding the necessary apps – With the gamut of web apps available, it can, at times become slightly tricky for users to find the ones that they actually require on their phones. There are no such room for confusions regarding native mobile apps though – since they are systematically displayed on the Apple Play Store, Android store and the Blackberry App World. Selecting and downloading native apps is generally much less cumbersome than searching for suitable web apps.
- Maintenance – Since native apps generally involve customized coding for the different development platforms, their maintenance is deemed to be at least slightly more challenging than that for web apps. The latter typically have a cross-platform single coding involved, making the task of modifications (if required) easier as well. The maintenance cost figures for web applications, understandably, are also lower.
At times, it can be difficult to keep a tab on which version of a native app someone is using, which makes rolling out upgrade plans rather difficult. In terms of quality and performance though, these native applications are mostly better than web apps. All things considered, native apps do seem to offer more user-advantages – although web apps also have several positive points of their own.