On the surface, all mobile apps might appear to be pretty similar – many of them supply the same types of features, information, even user interfaces. However, when you really start comparing different apps, you’ll often notice limited functionality, speed, and quality of display on many apps currently being utilized by small and large businesses alike.
Essentially, what’s being described here is the difference between a mobile web app and a native app. A native app, or true app, is specifically built for a certain mobile device, such as an iPhone or Android, and is installed directly onto a device via a marketplace, like The App Store. Web apps run in your mobile device’s web browser; each one may have its own specific features and quirks, and are created using a standard development process.
While each business has different needs and expectations for their apps, native apps are generally regarded as the superior choice for a myriad of reasons.
The capabilities of a mobile web app versus a native app are really where you start to see the differences. Mobile web apps are more limited in their capabilities for the simple fact that they are often not built specifically for a device – in their simplest form, they’re essentially a mobile version of a website, which may or may not operate the same on all devices. Because they’re not built in to the fabric of a given device, they also cannot utilize many of the aspects of a smart device’s hardware and features.
Native apps, however, are built to interface with each device’s native features, information, and hardware, meaning the feature options for your app are significantly greater.
The other main difference you’ll notice between a mobile web app and a native mobile app is how they’re downloaded and accessed on various devices – this plays a big role in how you can market your app and use it to generate revenue for your business. Mobile web apps are accessed through a mobile device’s web browser, rather than downloaded from an app store, which means it can often be harder to get in the hands of your desired users simply because there’s no way for people to search for the app.
Native apps are downloaded directly to your mobile device and run as a standalone app, rather than through your device’s web browser. Additionally, they’re hosted in app stores and marketplaces, allowing perspective users to search for or organically find your mobile app. While native apps do have the extra step of undergoing an approval process in order to officially be put on the market, this does put them at somewhat of an advantage, credibility wise.
From a development standpoint, mobile web apps present a less daunting task. But while their common code base across all platforms might sound appealing, it can slow performance and also presents significant limitations both technologically and aesthetically. Additionally, the absence of a store or marketplace makes it harder for users to find your app, and the lack of approval process can often compromise quality for the app users.
Since native apps have to go through such a rigorous approval process, these apps tend to have better quality, uniqueness, and safety. The iPhone App Store, for example, is notorious for not approving apps because they don’t meet the correct requirements.
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This is great news for app users because they’re guaranteed a higher quality app. On the other hand, this can be considered a good news/bad news situation for app developers; getting your app approved usually involves a longer, more tedious process, often requiring rebuilds and multiple submissions, which may extend the amount of time it takes to make your app available to your customers. However, once you get an app approved and available in the app store, your business’ credibility goes way up because consumers can be sure you’ve developed a quality app.
One of the most compelling reasons to go with a native app is their capability to interface with all of a device’s native features, information, and hardware. Therefore, the power of what your application can do is not restricted like it is with web apps.
Native apps, unlike mobile web apps, are able to utilize the GPS system on users’ devices, the time and date stamping feature, the camera, and so on. Think of the possibilities when you have this type of technology built into your app!
For example, one of the most powerful features available to native apps are push notifications – the pop-up messages you receive on your mobile devices with important info, coupons, etc. This type of functionality is not available in mobile web apps because it is part of a device’s hardware, and a mobile web app is only running within the device’s browser. With a native app, however, you’ll have the opportunity to send push notifications to anyone who has downloaded your app! Push notifications are also known for their incredibly high read rate, meaning your message is being viewed by nearly everyone you send it to!
GPS technology is another powerful tool being utilized through native apps. Many businesses are implementing GPS-triggered coupons or messages into their app, meaning they can setup a virtual fence around their business or in the area, and when an app user crosses that fence they’ll automatically receive a notice of a special message or deal because they’re close by. This use of innovative, forward-thinking technology can really only be utilized through mobile app development, and is practically invaluable to businesses seeking to truly engage their customers.
Apps will only continue to use more and more of the technology of each device over time, which means consumers will come to expect more functionality that mobile web apps are simply unable to provide.
A truly beautiful native app will make your business stand out on your customers’ device. It will go through all the rigorous approval processes required of native apps and will be configured to use all of the capabilities, information, and hardware that it was expertly built for. Therefore, it will stay relevant and useful with the changes that will naturally take place during this technological boom.
Here at AppGiraffe, we build native apps with an eye towards what’s common across each industry, as well as features that are unique to each. Similarly, we build for today and we continue to build for tomorrow.
Learn more about native mobile apps from AppGiraffe here.
AppGiraffe helps small businesses participate in the mobile explosion with affordable, world class technology. AppGiraffe provides small businesses with an-easy-to-use interface, innovative features tailored for their specific business (such as Geo-Location Triggered Push Notifications) and a comprehensive plan to get customers to download their apps.
Small Businesses using AppGiraffe apps are able to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and go beyond an information-centric mobile app to a mobile app that generates revenue for their business.