Mobile phones have become an integral part of our daily routine, with an increasing number of people relying on them for everything from communication to entertainment. Statistics suggest that most users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up, highlighting the importance of mobile devices in our lives. As a result, businesses that want to stay ahead in today’s digital age must prioritize their customers’ mobile experience as part of their digital strategy.
To keep customers engaged and expand into new markets, businesses must create memorable experiences. In this regard, Progressive Web Applications development and Native app development are two excellent options companies increasingly utilize to reach more customers and create new revenue streams.
This blog aims to provide an overview of PWA vs. Native apps, including their fundamental differences, strengths, and weaknesses. It also includes essential questions businesses should consider before building a digital solution.
By answering these questions, businesses can make informed decisions that align with their objectives and budget while ensuring an excellent user experience.
What is a Progressive Web App?
Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web application that delivers an app-like experience to users without requiring them to download an app directly onto their device. PWAs are designed as websites but with a mobile app feel and functionality. They offer several advantages over native apps, such as taking up far less storage space on a user’s device. They can be accessed through any browser, regardless of the device or operating system.
Google promotes PWAs as being “reliable, quick, and engaging” and provides developers with a checklist to transform a “baseline PWA” into a fully optimized “exemplary PWA.” This checklist includes offline functionality, fast load times, push notifications, and key features of a high-quality PWA.
As more businesses adopt PWAs, users can enjoy an app-like experience without downloading and installing a native app. Popular brands such as Starbucks, Chess Online, Uber, and Netflix have already implemented PWAs, providing users with a fast, reliable, and engaging experience on their mobile devices.
By leveraging PWAs, businesses can effectively engage users and provide a seamless experience while reducing the costs of developing and maintaining a native app. As PWAs become increasingly popular and more powerful, they are poised to become the go-to choice for businesses looking to reach users through a mobile app-like experience.
What is a Native App?
Native apps are software applications designed to function on a particular operating system, hardware, or software platform. These apps are the ones you download from app stores and install on your smartphone or other mobile devices.
Native app development involves creating an application tailored to a specific OS, allowing developers to leverage the platform’s unique features and capabilities.
Using native programming languages, frameworks, and APIs, native apps are optimized for the target platform, resulting in improved performance, reliability, and user experience.
Looking to stay ahead of the competition in 2023 with the latest mobile app technology?
Let Syndell help you determine if a PWA or native app is the right choice for your business.
PWA vs. Native App: Pros and cons
When it comes to app development, developers often decide whether to build a native app, a Progressive Web App (PWA), or even both.
Each approach offers unique advantages that cater to different scenarios and app functionalities. It’s crucial to carefully consider the pros and cons of each app type to determine the best fit for your specific requirements.
This thoughtful analysis ensures that resources are allocated toward a solution that enhances the user experience.
What are the Advantages of a Progressive Web App (PWA)?
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) offer several benefits, making them a compelling choice for developers. Here are some of the key advantages of PWAs:
PWAs are designed to load quickly, even in areas with poor internet connectivity. They use service workers to cache app data, allowing users to access the content instantly without waiting to load. This enhances the user experience and reduces bounce rates.
PWAs deliver an app-like experience directly through a web browser. They offer features like push notifications, offline functionality, and the ability to be installed on the device’s home screen, enhancing user engagement and loyalty. Additionally, PWAs are responsive and adaptive, meaning they can adjust their layout and features based on the device and screen size, offering a seamless experience across multiple devices.
A PWA can be more cost-effective than building native apps for multiple platforms. Since PWAs are web-based, they require only one codebase, reducing development time and costs. Additionally, PWAs don’t need to be published to app stores, avoiding the costs associated with app store fees and app marketing.
PWAs are easily discoverable via search engines and can be shared via links, making them more visible and accessible. Moreover, PWAs can be indexed by search engines, increasing their online visibility and reach.
Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
While Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) offer many advantages, there are also some limitations. Here are some of the disadvantages of PWAs:
PWAs have limited access to device hardware, such as sensors, cameras, and Bluetooth. This can restrict the functionality of the app compared to a native app.
PWAs rely on web browsers to function, meaning that their performance and functionality depend on the browser used. Compatibility issues can arise if the browser doesn’t support all of the PWA’s features.
Limited offline functionality:
While PWAs can work offline to a certain extent, they still rely on an internet connection. This can limit their usefulness in areas with poor connectivity.
While PWAs can be indexed by search engines, they don’t have the same level of visibility as native apps in app stores. This can limit their discoverability and potential reach.
Limited payment options:
PWAs may have limited payment options compared to native apps. This can affect the ability to offer in-app purchases and subscriptions.
What are the Advantages of a Native App?
Native apps are developed specifically for platforms like Android or iOS, using platform-specific languages such as Java, Kotlin, Swift, or Objective-C.
Here are some benefits of native apps:
Native apps can take full advantage of the platform’s built-in features and capabilities, providing seamless integration with the device’s hardware and software. This allows for advanced features such as camera access, GPS location tracking, and push notifications.
Supported tools and frameworks:
Native apps have access to a wide range of tools and frameworks, such as Android Studio and Xcode, which offer extensive libraries and APIs that help to streamline development and improve app performance.
Native apps provide various monetization options, such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, and advertisements, allowing developers to generate revenue from their apps.
App store visibility:
Native apps are distributed through app stores, which offer a high level of visibility and accessibility to users. App stores also provide users with trust and confidence in the app’s security and quality.
Native apps offer a higher security level than web-based apps. They are developed to comply with platform-specific security standards and can be thoroughly tested before being released to the public.
Native apps are optimized to consume less battery power and use device resources more efficiently, which leads to better performance and improved user experience.
Disadvantages of native apps
While native apps offer many benefits, they also have some potential drawbacks:
Native apps are platform-specific, meaning they only work on the operating system for which they were developed. This can limit your app’s potential reach, as users of other platforms will not be able to use it.
Developing a native app can be more complex and time-consuming than developing a web-based or hybrid app. This is due to the need for platform-specific programming languages, tools, and frameworks, which can add to the development time and cost.
Native apps require ongoing maintenance and updates to stay up-to-date with platform changes and address bugs and issues. This can add to the overall cost and time investment of the app.
A native app is developed for a specific platform, such as Android or iOS, so separate development is required for each platform. This can increase development time and cost if the app needs to be developed for multiple platforms.
Progressive vs. native app: Decision-making criteria
When it comes to choosing between PWA vs. Native apps, there is no straightforward answer.
Each option has pros and cons; the decision ultimately depends on your goals, requirements, and user needs.
To make an informed choice, it’s important to consider the following criteria during the planning stage:
Consider the type of functionality your app requires. If your app needs to access native device features like camera, GPS, or contacts, a native app might be the better choice. However, if your app is primarily focused on content delivery or e-commerce, a PWA may provide a more streamlined user experience.
Native app development can be more expensive than PWA development, particularly if you need to develop separate apps for iOS and Android. Consider your budget and determine whether a PWA can meet your needs at a lower cost.
Consider your timeline for launching the app. Native app development can take longer due to the need to develop separate apps for different platforms and submit them for approval to app stores. PWAs can be developed more quickly and launched on the web without requiring approval from app stores.
Consider your marketing strategy and how your app will be promoted. Native apps require users to download and install them, which can be a barrier to adoption. PWAs, on the other hand, can be easily shared via a URL and can be indexed by search engines, making them easier to discover.
Consider your overall business objectives and how your app will help you achieve them. If you need to leverage device features or provide an immersive user experience, a native app might be the better choice. If your objective is to reach a wide audience quickly and cost-effectively, a PWA might be the way to go.
|Criteria||Progressive Web App (PWA)||Native App|
Limited access to device features; suitable for content delivery or e-commerce
Full access to device features; suitable for immersive experiences
Less expensive to develop; can be launched on the web without app store approval
More expensive to develop; requires separate apps for iOS and Android
Can be developed more quickly and launched on the web without app store approval
Longer development timelines due to separate apps and app store approval
Easy to share via URL and can be indexed by search engines
Requires download and installation, potentially a barrier to adoption
Best for reaching a wide audience quickly and cost-effectively
Best for leveraging device features or providing an immersive user experience
Food & catering, entertainment, hospitality, beauty
Fintech & banking, healthcare, social media
Ready to make a decision on whether to use a PWA or a native app for your business in 2023?
Let Syndell help you make the right choice.
While native apps have traditionally been considered the gold standard for reliability and security, progressive web apps are increasingly gaining popularity among businesses and startups. They offer a native-like experience to users while requiring a lower investment than native apps.
Ultimately, choosing PWA vs. Native apps depends on your unique business needs and goals. However, if you require expert consulting and mobile development services to guide you in making the right choice, look at Syndell.
Our experienced professionals are dedicated to providing personalized guidance and support throughout the app development process. We can help you decide on the best app development approach based on your specific requirements and budget.
At Syndell, we pride ourselves on delivering high-quality mobile app development services that meet the needs of our clients. Whether you need a native app, a progressive web app, or a hybrid solution, we have the skills and expertise to deliver a product that meets your expectations.
No, a PWA is not required if you already have native mobile solutions. However, incorporating a PWA into your existing mobile strategy can offer several benefits, such as increased reach across multiple platforms and cost-effectiveness.
While progressive web apps offer several benefits over native smartphone apps, they have some potential drawbacks. These include:
- Limited access to native device features
- Limited support on older devices and browsers
- Less discoverability
- Limited monetization options
Yes, it is possible to convert a PWA into a native app using tools such as Apache Cordova or React Native. However, this process may require additional development time and cost.
Yes, it is possible to convert a native app into a PWA using technologies such as WebViews or Service Workers. However, this process may not provide the same performance and user experience as a native app.