Mobile App Vs Mobile Web App – Which One To Choose?

One of the biggest decisions facing Businesses or Individuals who are looking to have a Mobile Application developed for them are whether to go with a Mobile Application which is coded in the phone’s native programming language, or to simply have a mobile “aware” or compatible website.
This is a big decision and also a complex one that depends on a case by case basis, but there are, however, some things you can keep in mind when making this decision that will make things somewhat easier.
Speed
In this category, a natively coded Mobile Application wins hands down. By taking advantage of the fact that a full-fledged Mobile App is actually running within the devices memory, it can run very smoothly and can perform very complex tasks seamlessly. In contrast, with a Mobile Web App, it is limited to the device’s browser and to fetch data or go to a different requires the page to be reloaded which can take upwards of 5 to 10 seconds or more.
Advantage: Mobile App
Features and Capabilities
Again, the natively coded Mobile App blows Mobile Web Apps out of the water. With Mobile Web Apps, you don’t have access to the phone’s hardware which means you can’t use features like the accelerometer or camera. With a Mobile App, you have access to all of the features of the device.
Advantage: Mobile App
Development Costs
This is a category in which Mobile Apps lose ground to Mobile Web Apps. A Mobile Web App or Mobile “aware” app is much less costly to develop than its competitor. This is due to many factors such as the abundance of Web Programmers over Mobile Programmers, the complexity of Mobile Application Programming, and the overall low barrier-to-entry on the web as opposed to the Mobile App Stores to name a few.
Advantage: Mobile Web App
Potential Market
Which type of Mobile App excels in this category is somewhat hard to determine. On the one hand, there are around five billion people who are connected to the Web whereas there are around a few hundred million people with iPhones, Android-powered devices, BlackBerrys or Windows Phone 7 devices. It’s definitely easier and cost-effective to launch a website. However, you get more exposure (mostly when you first launch the app) with a Mobile App.
Advantage: Draw
In the end, as mentioned earlier in this article, this decision is based more on the needs of your business than on a clear-cut answer. From my perspective, I can say that if you are looking to have a game or location-based app or an app that is feature heavy, then I would heavily recommend a Mobile App. For something like a lead generation or “brochure” style experience, then you could possibly use a Mobile Web App.

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