The Pros and Cons of Native Apps vs Progressive Web Apps

Native App Vs Progressive Web App

Mobile Web App

Mobile web apps, Progressive Web Apps, mobile apps, native apps. What's the difference? We know that there's a mobile-first mindset today; most people are using their phones to interact with the world around them. But what does that really mean? In a Mobile Matters podcast episode, they discussed why mobile technology is proliferating and what that means for marketing.

So, let's dig a little deeper. A mobile web app is an app that you access on your phone through a web browser. It is, for all intents and purposes, just a website... but it's a website that's intended to do a discrete thing. What can web apps do? Pretty much everything that a website can do; it's like a mobile site. It's a website that's designed for mobile.

To see mobile web app examples, just go to Uber on your phone. You'll see a site that looks a lot different from the site that you'd see on a computer.

So, that's a mobile web app. Now, you also have a native Android app, which is different from an Android web app. A native Android app will actually be downloadable to your device. You do need to download it and it takes up space on your device. But it's got some advanced features — like sending notifications.

Finally, there's a PWA mobile app. These are the future of mobile engagement. PWA apps are Progressive Web Apps. A PWA platform is like a web app but it has the features of a native app. It's an excellent compromise between the two technologies and it can give you the benefits of both worlds. You don't need to create a web app and a native app; you'll just create a single platform that can function both ways.

Progressive Web App Framework

What's special about the Progressive Web App framework? Let's take a look at some of the major PWA pros and cons. You can find out more about PWAs from a Progressive Web App tutorial.

The anatomy of a Progressive Web App is not that different from any web app. It's essentially a piece of software that's accessed through the web. A web app differs from a website in that an app is dynamic and a website is static. So, most of the websites you're probably used to using are actually web apps.

When it comes to comparing PWA vs native mobile app downloads, PWAs don't need to be on the user's device. They don't go through the app store. They can work on any platform in any browser. The primary benefit you'll see on many Progressive Web Apps articles is that the Progressive Web Apps cross platform performance.

There are some downsides. Progressive Web Apps on mobile can use many native app features, such as using the phone's camera. For games, a Progressive Web App may not have enough access to the device or to processing power; a native app might be better.

Other than that, though, PWAs are clearly better than either websites or native apps. PWAs are almost like web apps that can use mobile-specific features and functionality, and unlike native apps, they don't need to go through the additional process of being accepted to a web store, or getting downloaded onto a user's device. But they can still put an icon on the user's machine, so they "live" on that machine.

Many people believe PWAs are the way of the future. iOS and Android are both adding features that PWAs can use so that the divide between PWAs and native applications is constantly narrowing. You can read more about why PWAs and why they're so great in our Marketer's PWA tutorial. Alex Russell spoke on the future of PWAs and why they make such an impact on the design process to instantly push out updates and new apps.

Lumavate is the leading PWA app builder, helping companies create low-code and no code PWAs. With Lumavate, even a marketing team can create their own app that's specifically designed to reach out to major demographics.

PWA Examples

What are some great PWA examples? Pinterest, Twitter, Starbucks, DuoLingo, and Coca-Cola are among the brands that have developed PWAs. for these brands, PWAs are able to be a website, web app, and native app, all in one; they are able to fulfill those roles with a single platform, consequently making it easier to manage their brand and their owned media.

Starbucks was able to double its daily active users. The Washington Post experienced a 23% increase in its mobile search. And Forbes received 100% more engagement. PWAs work.

You can look at the Starbucks PWA vs website to understand progressive web app performance. The website itself provides basic information about Starbucks. But the PWA provides for a loyalty program, the ability to easily order, and much more. By extending their functionality in this easy-to-use way, Starbucks was able to vastly increase their user activity.

So, why use Progressive Web Apps? Statistically, they make sense. Progressive Web Apps trends are showing continually that PWAs work better than websites, native apps, or just regular web apps.

Native App vs Progressive Web App

Most people want to know whether PWAs will replace native apps. Yes and no.

In most cases, yes. PWAs are going to replace most native mobile apps. There's no app store download, there's minimal storage space needed, and PWAs can do almost everything native mobile apps can do. Over time, it's likely PWAs will be able to access even more functionality and be even more competitive with native mobile apps.

But when it comes to native app vs Progressive Web App, there will still be some demand for native apps. Native apps will be used for games, augmented reality, and even virtual reality. In the PWA vs native space, native apps are still better for things that need to access processing power and hard drive space.

So when deciding between PWA vs mobile app, it’s actually an easy choice, because PWAs are mobile apps. However, PWA vs native app performance is almost identical with most websites, such as Starbucks' Progressive Web App, but it's not quite the same for things that need to do a lot of real-time data processing.

When looking at PWA vs native pros and cons, it's easy to see that PWAs will outlast most native mobile apps. While they're easier to develop and maintain, the really important aspect is that they're easier for the user to use. Anything that's easier for users will ultimately become more powerful because people want more active users and greater levels of engagement.

So, will PWA replace native apps? In the future, a mobile app vs Progressive Web App will likely come out on the side of the Progressive Web App. Are PWAs dead? Far from it, they're only advancing.

If you're looking at Progressive Web Apps vs native apps for your next application, it's more likely that you'll be successful with a Progressive Web App. There are only a few minor scenarios (such as needing Bluetooth access) under which it's better to use a native app.

Native App Vs Hybrid App

Why would a company choose a native app vs hybrid app? When would they need to make that determination? What's the difference between React Native (a web-based system) and a hybrid app?

Let's go through a native vs hybrid app comparison. Hybrid mobile apps work as a cross between web apps and native mobile apps. Hybrid apps are popular because they're a way for a developer to create apps that include native functions without having to develop a downloadable native application.

React Native is used to create apps for Android and iOS in a web-based framework. It's a hybrid platform insofar as it is developed for web-based usage, but ultimately creates native apps.

Native App Vs Web App

What are the key strengths and weaknesses of the native app vs web app?

A native app's major issue is that it has to be downloaded. It's fast; there's no latency because it's running on the user's device. But in order to be downloaded, it also has to be accepted into the app store. So, users need to look it up and download it to their device and then keep it on their device. That's the major difference between native app and web app.

Another difference between web application and mobile application framework is the functions that they can use. A mobile application can use features like accessing Bluetooth. A web application can only use some of these features, such as sending notifications. 

Native app vs web app pros and cons show that Progressive Web Apps generally perform better for most applications. But the difference web app native app is growing smaller every day because support for web apps is growing. Whether you want to make a standalone app vs web app may not always be an important question, as everything may soon be web apps.

PWA Vs Native Vs Hybrid

Let's compare some apps head-to-head. If you want to learn more about PWA vs Native vs Hybrid, you can use Mobile Champion.

  • Mobile websites. Look at Etsy. It functions as a responsive website. It doesn't use any features such as notifications. It's just a website. It's accessible, but you can't save your progress through your phone, and you can't use it offline.
  • Progressive Web Apps. Look at Starbucks. It has a native mobile app and a Progressive Web App counterpart. It can send notifications to users and provides both a rewards and a mobile ordering platform.
  • Native apps. Look at Disney. Disney has a parks app that makes it easier for users to access their account while they're physically at the park. This can be used offline.

Are you ready to start building your PWA? Check out Lumavate, where you can create a mobile app for free.

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