Mobile apps have become the lifeblood of tech marketing. Anybody who’s anybody in the business world has an app that can sit conveniently on a smartphone or tablet for quick access to news and advertising. The smartphone has revolutionised how users access information- not only can we pull the internet out of our pocket, we can get to our favorite web destinations without a browser middle man. Apps have evolved in two parallel ways, focusing on the device and the web- so which one’s better for developers and users? Which one should a business pursue?
Native apps are a source of debate right now. These are the apps that are tied to a specific operating system. Primarily, with the raging battles between smartphone and tablet platforms, it’s hard to tell which horse to bet on. Given that native apps are confined to particular operating systems, you might want to research which platform to engage with marketing research. Besides that, there are some serious perks to native apps, namely that some can run offline. They integrate with the particular device they’re downloaded to and therefore provide services that can access a user’s personal information. Because they’re tailored to a specific platform, they have the ability to be faster and more powerful than a web app.
With HTML5, web apps have the benefit of being able to run on any platform. This is a big leap for app designers agonizing over which platform their audience is more likely to embrace. Of course, the addendum to this breakthrough is that they can run on any platform with an internet connection. Compared to native apps, they’re essentially more disembodied from the user’s device. This is a sacrifice worth making for some, especially given that it can be more cost-effective to design a single interface that is distributed through the web. The web app design might be anonymous on a personal level, but it has the advantage of constant updating. A web app has no excuse to be behind the times because it exists on the most mutable medium the world has ever seen.
There is a happy medium! Essentially, developers hybridized the options by putting web content into native-style apps. By doing so, they made a native app that can be distributed on platforms but also be updated with information from the web. These apps can also access a device’s information, giving the ease of experience found in native apps. As with anything tech, the rigidity of preceding methods and systems tends to go away with time. Hybrid apps are the first step in the direction of integration and are perhaps the best option to go with if you’re on the fence.
Now, which one of these fine options should you choose? That’s a matter of opinion at present. Personally, I liken native apps to putting on blinders to the rest of the content the web offers. Therefore, as a consumer, I tend to lean towards the web app model for its flexibility and generally low-commitment vibe. However, from a business standpoint, if you can get a consumer to put on blinders and focus on your app and product, alone, you should absolutely do it. It’s just a matter of convincing users that your blinders are the best ones. This leads many businesses to embrace the task of making multiple native apps for different systems to provide a more immersive experience. But, in general, hybrid apps are developing quickly. You probably won’t have to make a choice for long.
Adam Kinsey is a freelance writer and tech consultant. His favorite part of the tech industry is the constant influx of challenges and solutions. He writes for technology consulting company, Silicus.
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