Native vs. Hybrid vs. Progressive Web Apps — Find Out Which Is Best For You

  • What happens if the mobile device has no internet connectivity?
  • Do you need access to advanced device-specific features of the mobile device?
  • Where do you want to market your app? On the web? In one or more app stores? Or both web and app stores?
  • What type of user experience does your target audience expect?
  • The cost of one or more native applications versus one web application.

Native Apps

  • Access to native functionality (push notifications, accelerometer, geofencing, sensors, Bluetooth, access to other apps such as calendar, alarms etc).
  • Has offline storage, which is good when the device has no internet connectivity.
  • Performance is better than anything browser-based.
  • Better UI/UX encouragement. For example, All iOS apps must comply with Apple’s Human Design Guidelines to be published on the App Store. This typically leads to a higher quality product, but does come at a cost.
  • App Store presence; this grants a perceived credibility of brand as there is a cost associated with being in the app store.
  • App Store approval; perception of your code reviewed by app store is valuable.
  • Interaction with other apps.
  • Typically, the costs to develop Native Apps are significantly more than Progressive Web Apps.
  • You’ll need to completely build a separate app for each store, so this also increases cost. This also increases the cost of maintenance.
  • You still need a marketing website for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
  • App Store Optimisation (ASO) for each store is needed if you want your product easily found in app store search results.
  • App Store approval process can be time-consuming and increase costs and delays in updates.
  • Some app stores take a percentage of app revenue.
  • Users are in charge of whether they update to the latest version or not.
  • Higher maintenance costs in constantly keeping the app updated for mobile operating system compatibility.
  • High compatibility with devices; the majority of apple users update to the latest version of the operating system.
  • More likely to spend money on apps and in-app purchases.
  • Harder to get app approval.
  • Larger user-base.
  • More device versatility; screen sizes and operating system versions. Additionally, if the device is purchased through a telecommunication provider, there is a risk that they have altered versions of native Android or installed ‘middle-ware’ and therefore delay the operating system update process.

Progressive Web Apps

  • One site used across all platforms. This means one code-base which greatly reduces the cost of development and maintenance.
  • Accessed by browser of choice, so users get an experience they are familiar with.
  • Updates can be deployed without app store approval process delay.
  • All users use the same version as you’re in control of when updates are deployed.
  • Only Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is required, no App Store Optimisation (ASO).
  • No access to certain native functionality (fingerprint scanning, vicinity sensors, NFC, Bluetooth, geofencing, inter-app communications, and advanced camera controls).
  • No iOS push notifications. Push notifications are not only a good way to get users back into your app, but navigate the user to a precise location within the app.
  • No app store presence.
  • Limited Storage. If off-line a PWA might have limited functionality or none at all. For Apple users, the off-line storage is limited to 50MB and will automatically get cleared if not used for two weeks.

Hybrid Apps

  • One code-base used across all platforms, which greatly reduces the cost of development and maintenance.
  • Access to native functionality (push notifications, accelerometer, geofencing, sensors, Bluetooth, access to other apps such as calendar, alarms etc).
  • Has offline storage, which is good when the device has no internet connectivity.
  • Most updates can be deployed without app store approval process delay.
  • All users use the same version as you’re in control of when updates are deployed.
  • Performance is slower than native apps.
  • Some customisations might make the code-base more complex and therefore lead to increase cost and development time (compared to a PWA).
  • Deal with issues that stem from both Native Apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
  • App Store Optimisation (ASO) for each store is needed if you want your product easily found in app store search results.
  • App Store approval process can be time-consuming and increase costs and delays in updates.
  • Some app stores take a percentage of app revenue.
  • Still need to keep base app updated for operating system compatibility.

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