Custom Software Apps & SharePoint Consulting

How to Know If You Need a Native Mobile App

Today, mobile apps are coded in various languages to reach a diverse audience. While developers continue implementing more responsive designs for mobile web apps, native mobile apps are often necessary to ensure efficient access to device-specific functionality. But while they have much to offer, native apps may not be suitable for all product and service offerings.

WHAT IS A NATIVE MOBILE APP?

Unlike cross-platform apps that can function across several mobile operating systems, such as iOS or Android, native mobile apps are coded for specific operating systems. Apple’s iOS system, for example, uses Objective C or Swift coding while Android apps use Java code.

Coding for a native system results in apps with high performance and reliability.

Additionally, native mobile apps allow full integration with device hardware features and operating system elements. Many cross-platform apps, on the other hand, experience integration challenges with target operating systems.

BENEFITS AND RESTRICTIONS OF NATIVE MOBILE APPS

Creating native mobile apps requires careful consideration of their advantages and disadvantages.

ADVANTAGES

  • Performance and stability
    Since native apps correspond to the OS they run on, they offer robust efficiency and access to the device’s exclusive APIs and components. This results in optimized displays for screen sizes and operating system versions. Native apps also have greater stability.
  • Enhanced security
    Because they run on a device’s native operating system, native apps can utilize the operating system’s strong security features.
  • Greater access to developers
    Many programmers specialize in native app development and are well-versed in the behavior idiosyncrasies of their OS of choice. They can better advise on technical solutions to expedite an app’s release.
  • Improved UX/UI
    Programming to the OS enables higher performance and smoother operations. This leads to improved user experience (UX) and interface (UI).

DISADVANTAGES

  • Higher development and maintenance costs
    Native apps can be more costly to design and maintain when they must be duplicated for compatibility with multiple different operating systems.
  • Time-consuming to update
    Since developers must update the app for each supported operating system, it takes time to complete tasks for every platform. This also adds to the cost of developer resources and can lead to slower response times when fixing critical issues.
  • Support issues
    The bugs and errors on each platform may not be easy to fix, resulting in a loss of app efficiency. In addition to bugs and errors, keeping app rules aligned across multiple systems poses a critical challenge.
  • Varying app store guidelines
    Each app store has its own set of requirements for app design. As a result, familiarity with each store’s guidelines is essential for the app to be approved for release.

PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS: AN EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE

If native apps aren’t a practical choice, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) offer many similar features such as push notifications, local storage, and an offline mode. PWAs run in browsers and function like native apps. This means PWAs can utilize existing website frameworks.

The following list summarizes the benefits of deploying PWAs.

  • They utilize common web technologies.
  • PWAs offer a variety of screen sizes.
  • They are less expensive to develop and maintain.
  • A single codebase ensures the same functionality for all users.
  • PWAs are more accessible to users since they appear in search engines and can be installed through the browser.
  • PWAs feel and act like native apps. This gives users an immersive experience. Push notifications can also be integrated to encourage prompt updates on the part of users.
  • PWAs also allow access to the same device features as native apps, such as cameras, fingerprint scanners, and GPS.
  • PWAs use the Native File System API, allowing the apps to access the device’s file system with permissions.

This app technology is quickly gaining in popularity and rapid growth has been projected, with 24% of online retailers considering them for optimizing their mobile traffic.

DO YOU NEED A NATIVE MOBILE APP OR PROGRESSIVE WEB APP?

Native mobile apps and PWAs each carry unique capabilities, benefits, and limitations. As a result, there’s no absolute answer to which type should be deployed. When selecting the app type to build, it’s best to address the needs of the business and target audience.

Determining app features and exploring whether users have the data connection and hardware to support them are important considerations.  How users will utilize the app for their needs should also be a part of the decision-making process. Finally, it’s important to consider development and maintenance costs, especially for small businesses that have budget constraints.

At Entrance, our team specializes in custom application development services for all business sectors. Contact us to schedule a consultation and find out how we can assist your company in its next app development project.

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