Mobile phones are no longer mere communication devices. Modern smartphones are like smaller, portable versions of laptops. Today a majority of mobile devices offer access to the internet. Mobile web usage has been increasing rapidly over the last few years.
According to a recent report by International Data Corporation, by 2015 the number of people using mobile devices for accessing the internet will surpass those using PCs. This has made it essential for business owners to establish a strong mobile presence.
Choosing between an app and a mobile website
Currently apps are all the rage and many people are convinced that it is exactly what their business needs. But a majority of them are unsure about the difference between an app and a mobile website. Both can seem alike at first, but it is important to understand the difference between them in order to make the right choice.
A mobile site, just like a regular website, is formed of HTML pages, but it is optimized for handheld small displays. Apps can pre-download data and provide access to user even in the absence of an internet connection. The choice between an app and a mobile website depends on your purpose, required features and target audience distribution.
Web apps vs. native apps
Once you decide that an app is the perfect solution for your requirements, the next step is deciding whether to develop a web app or a native app. Web apps are the ones that are completely based on web technology with browser executed code, while native apps are explicitly created and stored on a mobile device. Installation is a necessity for native apps, while it is optional for web apps.
Both web apps and native apps have their own pros and cons. 100% integration with mobile hardware and its complete usage is the biggest benefit of native app. This makes it the best option for those, who require graphically intensive performance, for instance, games and graphical simulators, and access to the device hardware like camera.
For most business needs, web apps are the way to go. HTML5 enables quicker development and easer testing. Moreover, web apps can be publicly distributed on a website without third party approval. The choice between web and native app once again depends on your business needs and purpose.