The Pros and Cons of Native Apps and Mobile Web Apps


We recently made a comparative study of native apps vs. Web apps. Many companies now opt out for including both these types of apps. One also has the advantage of working with HTML5 and freely available tools for cross-platform formatting, which make things easier. However, this post is for those who would still like to know more about the strengths and weaknesses of native apps and Web apps.

Here is a list of the pros and cons of both native and Web apps:

Pros of Native Apps

  • Since native apps work with the device’s built-in features, they are easier to work with and also perform faster on the device.
  • Native apps get full support from the concerned app stores and marketplaces. Users can easily find and download apps of their choice from these stores.
  • Because these apps have to get the approval of the app store they are intended for, the user can be assured of complete safety and security of the app.
  • Native apps work out better for developers, who are provided the SDK and all other tools to create the app with much more ease.

Cons of Native Apps

  • Native apps tend to be a more expensive proposition to the developer. This is especially the case for developers who would like their app to be compatible with multiple mobile devices and platforms.
  • The cost of app maintenance and app updating is also higher for native apps, especially if this app supports more than one mobile platform.
  • The process of getting the app approved at the app store can prove to be long and tedious for the developer and need not always result in success. Also, there is no guarantee that the app becomes instantly popular with users.
  • Users of different mobile devices may be using different versions of the app, which makes it difficult for the developer to maintain and offer support.

Pros of Web Apps

  • Web apps are much easier to maintain, as they have a common code base across multiple mobile platforms.
  • Web apps can be manipulated so as to be made compatible with any older mobile device.
  • Web apps do not require developers to submit their app to any app store for approval. Of course, the Apple App Store does feature a list of Web apps.
  • Since Web apps do not need to be approved by the app marketplace, they can be released at any time and in any form, as per the developer’s preferences.
  • Users need not bother with visiting an app store to download Web apps or updating the same on their mobile devices.
  • FAQ on Designing Multi-Platform Mobile Applications

Cons of Web Apps

  • Mobile Web apps only have limited scope as far as accessing a mobile device’s features is concerned.
  • Web apps that support multiple mobile browsers can prove to be an expensive proposition for developers, as it raises the costs of developing and maintaining them.
  • Different users work with different mobile browsers. This can make it difficult for you to maintain a record of their usage patterns and also provide support for all of them.
  • Users may sometimes find it difficult to discover a Web app, as it is not systematically listed in any app store.
  • Since there is no regularized quality control system for Web apps, users may not always be guaranteed safety and security of the app.

Native Apps or Web Apps

In order to decide if you want to develop a native app of Web app, you need to consider the following points:

  • How important speed and performance would be, to you
  • If you would like your app to include any device-specific features
  • If you want your app to be Internet-enabled
  • If you want your app to support multiple mobile platforms and devices and if yes, how many
  • Your budget, vs. the estimated cost of developing your app
  • If you would like to monetize your app in the future

Consider the above aspects and then make an informed choice of the method you would like to adopt to develop your app.

by Priya Viswanathan

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