Mobile Web App vs Native App: What's the Difference?

Mobile Web App vs Native App: What’s the Difference?

You have decided to build an application, but do you know there are different types of applications, such as mobile web apps, native apps, progressive apps, hybrid apps, and more. Yet, the question is whether your requirement is a mobile web application or a native app. If you have a little bit of understanding of these apps, you can easily choose the right app development solution for you.

Are you interested in the development of a native app or web app? Read our blog in detail and understand the difference, advantages and drawbacks of each before choosing any mobile/web app development company.


What is a Mobile Web App?

A mobile web application is an application designed for mobile devices. This application requires a web browser in order to be installed on the device. Moreover, the application uses HTML5 components, Ajax, and leverages rich internet application technologies such as Silverlight, JavaFX, and Flash. Make sure there is some use of these technologies, but they are not exceptionally written for the device.

The usability of mobile web applications is equivalent to PC-rich web applications, and this usability can be experienced better when rich web apps are designed for smaller form factors. This is because RIA technologies are limited when mobile web applications present the information in an action-oriented and readable format.

Mobile web applications are very different from mobile native applications in which they are built using web technologies. For deployment, they are not restricted to a single platform.

Mobile Web App


What is a Native App?

A software program that is developed with the purpose of being used on a particular device or platform is called a native application. The reason to build native apps is that their operating systems can use device-specific software and hardware and ensure optimized performance.

Furthermore, native apps either run on Android or iOS because they are native to a mobile platform and use the language according to their platform support. You may know that native apps are designed specifically for the platform, which means programmers must have unique expertise in order to make these apps successful with more advanced features.

Native Apps


Mobile Web App vs Native App

If you want to understand a mobile web app vs a native app in detail, you need to grab some basics that are given below:

  1. A web application is accessed via the web browser, usually Chrome or Safari on mobile devices. It can also be accessed with the help of a shortcut or a bookmark or by typing in the URL. Whereas native apps can be downloaded with the help of your phone’s app store, such as Google Play or the Apple App Store.
  2. Web apps focus on a higher level of interactivity and functionality and have more condensed content. Similarly, websites are used for different purposes, from marketing and content sharing to brand-building, and websites are fully information-based.
  3. Web apps require an internet connection. On the other hand, mobile applications may work offline.
  4. Web apps work slow compared to native apps, and these apps come with low security. In terms of safety, native apps ensure safer operation.Native apps ensure safer operation
  5. The App Store for web apps requires no approval because they can launch quickly. Approving the native app from the App store is challenging.
  6. Web apps can be automatically updated. At the same time, it requires more cost to maintain and update the native apps consistently.
  7. One of the biggest benefits of a web app is cross-platform compatibility, which means after its building, it is extremely easy to run the app from everywhere. It means you can get a consistent user experience across all mobile devices, like iPhone and Android. In comparison to mobile app development, web apps can save you both time and money because they can work on all mobile platforms. Their code can be operated in various mobile browsers in order to increase the use of reusability and make the mobile app development more platform-specific. It is difficult to fulfill this requirement with native apps. When it comes to cross-platform support, they are developed for one platform.


Should your App be a Native App or a Web App?

Before obtaining the answer to the above question, it is essential to know the pros and cons of both native apps and web apps. After that, it may be easy for you to make a decision between the better app.


Pros and Cons of Native App/Native Mobile App Development 

Pros of Native Apps

Native mobile applications have become very important in our day-to-day life because they differ from web apps and allow us to get the app from the App Store and access/launch the app right from our phone’s home screen. The best part is users can see the icon on their home screen. It means there is no need to go through a web browser.

Local Storage

The dynamic data of your native apps can run asynchronously. Similarly, the data can be stored temporarily on the phone, and this data can further synchronize with the central web server. Although new technologies and features, for example, those in HTML5 may support a web-based environment and allow native apps to advance the web-based application in the area.


Better Offline Performance

In case of losing the internet connection, native apps work better even if the application requires some functionality because it has too many codes that need to work on the user’s device. In comparison to native apps, a web app is slow because it is accessed and loaded through a web browser.


Better User Experience

Native apps produce a better user experience because it has an interactive user interface, including slide-out menus and animated elements, and there is a transition between screens that is an advantage to help users guide well from one area to another.

Native apps produce a better user experience


Cons of Native Mobile App Development

More Maintenance and Support Required

Native app development necessitates the creation and maintenance of numerous codebases. Also, two separate platforms are required to allow updates to be made and deployed. To keep the app running smoothly, more support and maintenance are needed.


Expensive Development

Building a native app for iOS and Android is time-consuming and costly because the developers find its programming language tricky. Also, there are different codes for different platforms that require a minimum of two development teams to work on two separate code bases instead of a single code base, and this process takes more time plus budget.

Apart from that, the cost of maintaining the native app after its development is expensive. Furthermore, the building of a basic native app requires $25,000, and when it comes to maintenance, you may need to spend $5,000 to keep the application safe against cyber threats.


Pros and Cons of Web Apps 

Cross-Platform Compatibility

One can get major advantages when it comes to mobile devices, such as cross-platform compatibility. It means the web app will be built once, and it will work from everywhere.

With this feature, you can even get a consistent user experience throughout all mobile devices, from iPhone to Android, and it will help you in cost savings. Reusability is another benefit of a web app as it has a minimum platform-specific development requirement, and its code can efficiently run on several mobile platforms.


Single Solution 

One of the biggest benefits of a web-based approach is centralizing, which means one can get control of the application and offer their services.

Users of any mobile device, such as Android, iPhone, Palm, Blackberry, or even future devices that don’t exist can access the application and use it immediately. Furthermore, the release time of the app can be reduced. At this point, only one person is required to maintain a single code base.


Freedom of Content Marketing and Advertising

Another significant advantage of the web-based strategy is that you are not bound by the terms and conditions of competing app stores. You can advertise and offer content as per your company’s requirements.

Freedom of Content Marketing and Advertising


Automatic Updates

Web apps ensure easy updates. In case of fixing a new feature or bug, you need to update only the web server that helps the web app run smoothly. If the user wants to access your web application, the next time, they can get automatic updates that can be different from native apps because this type of application needs the developer to build the latest version of each app’s platform, and the expert should also have knowledge of publishing the application to the app store.

Providing an auto-update feature is vital. After the review of any app, users can experience a delay while downloading the updated app. If your app doesn’t include an auto-update feature, the chances are high that your users will never update your app. If this is a matter of native application, you can’t encourage everyone for this task. However, with a web application, you don’t need to worry about the people if they don’t update the latest version of your software. 


Cons of Web Apps

Internet Dependence

In many locations, people access Wi-Fi and 4G, but you will be unable to use your web application if you lose an internet connection.


Browser Support

You may know that people use different browsers. It means you should ensure that your app will support various browsers. Otherwise, it would be challenging for you to meet your expectations.


Less Security

Security is the main concern for a web app because most people think that it is challenging to secure data in a cloud environment. To avoid the risk of data breaches, it is essential to make your website SSL certified and protect your sensitive information.


Which One is Better – Native or Web Apps?

If we talk about native apps, they are faster than web apps and can work without an internet connection. Developing the native app is easy compared to web apps because one can get developer tools, SDKs and interface elements.

These apps are more secure as it is essential to approve the native application from the app store before publishing.

On the other hand, web apps don’t work without an internet connection, and there is no security guarantee. Due to this, we can say that web apps have poor quality and higher risks.

Similarly, discovering the web app is difficult because it is not hosted in a particular database, such as an app store, and it works slower than mobile apps.

Therefore, if you are looking for a faster app for your small business, you can choose native mobile app development. You may also need to create a mobile applications strategy because the focus is given to both retention and customer acquisition. It is not designed just with the purpose of providing information about the products, but also the mission is to help users understand what the app is all about. Also, the delivery is given as per the customer’s requirements and expectations.

Another alternative is a progressive web app, which is a type of website or webpage known as a web application and a type of application software delivered via the web and built using several web technologies, including WebAssembly, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. A progressive app aims to run on any platform, mainly that is compatible with a standards-compliant browser, including mobile devices and desktops.

You may know that a progressive web app is a combination between a mobile app and a responsive website. We would like you to recommend either a native mobile app or progressive web apps because these apps are developed and designed as a website and offer an app-like experience when accessed on a mobile device.

They don’t require different distribution or bundling because the web application is published by developers online, and they ensure that the app will fulfill the instability requirements as a baseline.

Thus, if you are looking for a high-performing, secure, and faster app solution for your business or an online store, you can go with native app development or progressive web apps instead of a basic web application.

Apart from that, if you have more queries regarding any of the apps, you can book a consultation with one of the experts at Alareeb ICT. We are a mobile app strategy partner and help you set the roadmap for your apps. Our aim is to organize your business goals and help you in different mobile app development. Whether you are planning to build an app like Twitter, Pokemon Go, games, or any other native applications, we ensure to serve you as per your requirement. 


At Alareeb ICT, we have many years of experience and have proficiency in several mobile application trends from AI, machine learning, blockchain, AR, VR, and payment gateways to mobile wallets. 

For more information, you can get our mobile app strategy consultation services today or download the AlareebICT eBook, which is part 3 of our book and focuses on both web and mobile apps.

Download Alareeb ICT Digital eBook


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