Mobile computing is clearly the way forward. Smartphones and their features are irresistible, due to the availability of new and innovative apps that aim to make daily activities simpler and convenient.
In fact, a comScore study S reveals that smartphones, in fact, show impressive app activity at 88% usage as against 82% on tablets. It is no surprise then that the market for mobile apps is witnessing explosive growth, riding high on rapidly evolving technological innovations in the field of mobile app development framework. In addition, a survey done by Google reveals that 67% of customers admitted that they are more likely to make a purchase from a mobile-friendly website.
Types of Mobile Apps
Just as there are varying mobile technologies and diverse kinds of smartphones, there are a many kinds of mobile apps that can be developed as per a company’s requirements.
There are the traditional web apps that are internet-enabled apps accessible via the web browser of a smartphone. These are apps that were originally specifically developed for mobiles; they could have been adaptations or extensions of earlier desktop or laptop versions. The web apps work on all types of mobiles, since they depend on the compatibility with the supported browser(s), smoothly functioning on the concerned phone.
Many mobile websites use responsive technology wherein the same we page can run on various types of desktop, mobiles etc. responding to the nature of the device.
Native apps are the path-breaking solutions that consist of apps that are developed specifically for a particular mobile and then installed directly onto the device. These apps need to be downloaded from an app store by the user.
Then there are the hybrid apps that are initially developed as web pages and then wrapped up in in the device’s native browser. Here an effective encapsulation layer hides and in fact maps the generic web page to the device-specific features.
Features of Native Web Apps
They can well leverage the built-in features of the mobile, such as the GPS, movement detector or the camera. These specialized apps focus on giving better and unique user experience, as expected from the nature and design of the phone. Therefore, a native mobile app will provide its users such functionalities that are unique to the smartphone environment (hardware or OS etc.). Native mobile apps are therefore akin to boutique services for the users of particular mobiles.
Security and Support:
Native apps are usually quite safe and secure, since they reside on the mobile, and can hence use the security features of the mobile.They also get complete support from their respective app store or marketplace, hence are always up-to-date and have high quality. Users can easily search, locate these apps and conveniently download them from the stores.
These apps are very efficient and have better performance, due to the tight coupling with the device’s built-in features.
Native apps need regular updates to be downloaded from time to time, since they operate in standalone mode. However, this is well offset by a standardized and ready listing and automatic sync-up between the mobile and the app store triggers a prompt to the user to update the app. In fact, some apps are configured to update themselves automatically and the user is sent a notification of the same.
Native apps can be used to tap in and understand the user’s usage patterns, online habits, preferences and help the app providers collect user profiles, which can be then used to push relevant product recommendations or suggest focused user-driven actions.
These apps such as purchase or e-commerce apps, make it convenient for the user to make a repeat purchase quickly, since information such as credit card details are already stored inside the native app on their mobile.
Maximum Usage of Features:
Every mobile platform has its own specific OS, app dev environment, API’s, standard SDK and development tools which utilize the benefits of the environment. Native mobile app development is positioned to make maximum usage of these features to develop an enhanced and better app with a richer user experience.
Native app development can be more expensive. They will also need prior approval and registration with the app store, before being released. Monetizing these apps may be tricky, since the platform or device manufacturers may have legal or technical restrictions with integration with certain advertisement solutions or other partnering networks. On the other hand, the app store acts as a care taker of the payment system of supported native app, and hence tracks and maintains all revenues and commissions for that app.
Different devices need entirely different variations of native apps, even though the logic may be same, yet the development would need to use an entirely new set of API’s and SDK’s. The apps on different devices may also be running different versions, and so the look and feel of the user interface may be different if a user switches devices. Maintaining and supporting apps on many devices is cumbersome in native apps.
At the end, native mobile web development is best suited for apps that need to leverage the device-specific features, score high on the security aspect, and need to be fast, efficient and have high performance. If unique and enhanced user experience is high priority for the app to be developed, then it is a perfect candidate for the native format.
The budget of the app provider for the app development, practicality of support over multiple devices and the importance of monetizing capability of the app are very important factors to consider before making a beeline for the development of a native web app.