Mobile Web Apps vs. Native Apps
Contrary to popular belief, the discussion doesn't need to produce a winner and a loser
By: Max Katz
Nov. 26, 2012 09:00 AM
Web Apps vs. Native Apps is a topic that still excites readers to this day, as if it were anticipated that one side will win and the other will lose.
There are a number of important factors to consider when deciding whether to go with a mobile web app or a mobile native app.
Features and Performance
The extra jolt of performance that dominates natively developed apps is not always necessary. Many business applications do not necessarily require such high levels of performance. In these cases, web and hybrid apps are more cost-effective, efficient, and dynamic due to API adaptability. On the other hand, games that require more advanced performance features should utilize native development.
Publishing to App Stores and Updating Apps
Apple's stringency in App Store acceptance is contended by Google's somewhat more lenient rules, which don't necessarily adhere to the same rigid standards, and therefore accept apps more readily into its Google Play marketplace. Windows, on the other hand, takes a more "middle-of-the-road" approach when it comes to app acceptance. For whichever platform, any updates to native apps would fall under the same rules and regulations.
A mobile web app doesn't need to be published to any store, because it is simply accessed by its URL in the browser or an app icon/bookmark on the phone home screen. App updates are very simple as well. Just push any changes, and the next time the app is opened, the user will get all the new features.
A hybrid app offers many of the advantages of both approaches: discoverability in the app stores, access to the most common device APIs, and broad device coverage while not requiring the specialized skills, bigger budgets and longer time-to-market that are more typical of fully native apps.
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