Businesses making big wave-like movements through mobile apps cannot be stipulated as a circumstantial event in the topical references, as it turns out it is a matter of logic, dialects, and conscious choices. In the transition of digital transformation, anyone looking to build an app will inevitably face the dilemma of finding an answer to the question: which mobile app type should we create? 

It is readily perceived that smartphones have entrenched themselves as an inseparable part of daily lives. According to market research, the total number of global mobile app downloads accounted for 230bn. By 2025, the mobile apps are projected to spawn over 613 billion U.S dollars in total revenue. The outstretched numbers indicate the growing demand for app development in the current arena. Keeping up with the shift in the market, businesses are constantly launching new apps while jumping onto the app bandwagon without identifying the kind of app they need to bring expected results. Let’s explore the classification of mobile apps available in the market, and we hope to assist you in your journey of understanding the mobile app development domain. 

What Is A Mobile Application?

A mobile application can also be stated as an app, is a type of software designed to run on a mobile phone, such as a smartphone or tablet PC. Mobile applications frequently provide clients with similar administrations to those available on PCs. Apps are often small, standalone software units with limited storage capacity. Apple Inc. offers a wide range of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch applications and was among the first to promote application programming. Mobile applications can also be referred to as web apps, and apps, online, a smartphone, or iPhone apps.  

It can be articulated that Mobile applications are a tool used for waving the departure from the traditional integrated software systems seen on PCs. Instead, each app offers a single, limited feature, such as a game, calculator, or mobile web browsing. Although early mobile devices’ restricted hardware resources prevented programs from multitasking, their uniqueness is now part of their appeal because it allows consumers to choose what their devices can and cannot accomplish. The most basic mobile apps are just PC-based software that has been ported to a mobile device.

This strategy loses its power as mobile apps become more sophisticated. A more developed method involves building expressly for mobile devices, taking advantage of both pros and cons. Apps that use location-based features are inherently created with a mobile user in mind because, unlike on a PC, the user is not tethered to a specific area. Mobile apps were initially developed for general information retrieval and productivity, including contacts, email, calendars, weather information, and the stock market.

However, the growing public demand and the easy availability of developer tools marked the fit into other categories, for instance, apps handled by application software packages on desktop. The expansion in the number and variety of applications has spawned a plethora of new fields. Many services, such as detecting location and internet banking, monitoring, purchasing tickets, and even mobile medical services, increasingly rely on mobile application technology. 

Types Of Mobile Apps By Technology

1. Native Apps

Native-Scripts-LOGO
Native Apps

Overview: The native applications are developed for a specific type of device platform or operating systems like IOS or Android using a particular coding language. As it tends to optimize the user experience, the native platform can be helpful and work more swiftly and naturally because it was created exclusively for the platform.

Native Apps are designed expressly for a given operating system to leverage the available features available on the devices that run that operating system. As a result, native programs cannot run on multiple operating systems. To put it another way, you can’t use iOS apps on Android phones and vice versa. Because they are designed for a particular OS, the programming languages they write are also specialized. For iOS apps, Xcode and Objective-C are commonly utilized, while Eclipse and Java are widely used for Android apps. Native apps are designed to take advantage of the phone’s features and tools, such as contacts, cameras, and sensors.

Native apps provide a high-performance and elegant user experience because they are built using the native device UI. Native apps can be found in the app shops for each operating system. For example, native Android apps can be found on the Google Play Store, iOS apps on the App Store, and Windows apps on the Microsoft Store, among other places. 

Native Apps

Technology Used In Native Apps

Native apps are coded with the help of various programming languages. Java, C++, Kotlin, React, Objective-C, and Swift are some examples of notable programming languages used to develop native apps. 

Advantages Of Native Apps

  • The singular focus in native apps makes them more reliable and faster in context to the overall performance. 
  • Better usage of OS and specific functionalities like phonebook, NFC, Bluetooth, camera roll, and many more related to the device. 
  • Interactive UX/UI gives users a more optimized customer experience 
  • Lesser issues related to compatibility.
  • Faster to configure 

Disadvantages Of Native Apps

  • Time-consuming in terms of development. 
  • Built with hard-to-learn OS-specific programming languages like Java and Swift. 
  • To ensure stability, it requires longer release cycles
  • New features can only be added through a separate codebase. 

Example Of Native Apps

1. WhatsApp 
whatsapp

WhatsApp was first presented as a type of native smartphone application. It is a prominent free instant chat and voice-over IP service that originated in the United States and is now owned by Meta. It is an Android or iOS-based application for smartphones and tablets.

2. SoundCloud 
SoundCloud 

It’s a free platform used to listen to and share audio files. This sound club caters to music lovers of various genres. 

3. Spotify 

Spotify is a proficient internal streaming audio service that allows users to legally read audiobooks, podcasts, and music without downloading them to the device. It is an app for all operating systems, websites, smart devices, and car media systems.

2. Web Apps/PWA

Web Apps/PWA

Responsive websites change to a different design when accessed from a mobile device. Adaptive web apps, on the other hand, scale to match the various screen sizes of mobile devices. The interface of these apps doesn’t always change. Web apps are developed with the most common programming languages but cannot be used on mobile devices or sold in app stores. Web applications are software programs that run on mobile devices in the same way as native mobile applications do. To use the app, you don’t need any storage space or to go through an installation process. Mobile web apps readily adapt to different screen sizes and devices. Because both native and web apps have nearly identical features and responsive nature, the responsiveness and functionality of web apps could easily be fooled with that of a native app. A wide range of differences can be pointed out between native and online programs.

WEB Apps

Technology Used In Web Apps/PWA

Web apps are designed using the following programming languages for web work: HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, etc. 

Advantages Of Web Apps/PWA

  • Reduced cost for business 
  • No need for installation 
  • Can be accessed from anywhere, which expands its reach 
  • Up-to-date 

Disadvantages Of Web Apps/PWA

  • Security risk 
  • Takes a longer period for development 
  • Web apps do not work in offline mode 
  • A limited number of functionalities 
  • Limited access to mobile device functionality 
  • Decreased user awareness 

Example Of Web Apps/PWA

1. Google Office Suite
Google Office Suite

Google Workspace is one of the most in-demand collections of web apps. Google Docs is mainly used to create and automatically save documents. In addition, it also offers the features like usage without an internet connection and enabling synching once the connection is back. These workspace apps are also available in the form of mobile app downloads. 

2. Netflix 
Netflix

Netflix is the leading video-streaming platform that allows users to watch tv shows and movies on demand with no fixed limitations. This platform demonstrates how web apps are the best option for content platforms. 

3. Microsoft Office 
Microsoft Office 

The Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) must be installed on your computer and saved files on your hard drive. Microsoft Office, like Google Workspace, has become a tremendously popular online suite of tools, featuring web versions for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Users may securely work on shared files online, and collaborative tools like Teams are now included in the package, making collaboration simple. 

3. Hybrid Apps

Hybrid-Apps

Hybrid apps hold the advantages of both native apps and mobile apps. It is built using JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, running on mobile WebView. However, it can still use the benefits of devise features like vibration, capture, GPS, camera, microphone, geolocation, address book, etc. Internet connection is a must since they download content from a server hosted by an external source. Hybrid applications, like native apps, are produced on a single platform and distributed across several app stores such as Google Play or Apple’s app store. When one decides to create apps that don’t require high-performance or complete device access, hybrid apps are the way to go.

Hybrid Apps

Technology Used In Hybrid apps

Ionic, Objective C, Swift, HTML5, etc.

Advantages Of Hybrid Apps

  • Easy to build 
  • Can function offline
  • Cheaper option because of shareable codes 
  • Needs a shorter time to market as it can be deployed for multiple OSs. 
  • A single code base allows pushing new features 

Disadvantages Of Hybrid Apps

  • Cannot perform OS-specific tasks 
  • More expensive than web apps 
  • Complex functions tend to slow down the app 
  • Less interactive than native apps 

Example Of Hybrid Apps

1. Gmail 
GMAIL

Gmail allows the user to sort emails, share photos, work with documents, and call all within one window. 

2. Twitter 
Twitter 

It is a well-known social network and one of the most known hybrid apps that allow users to send short text notes. 

3. Evernote 
Evernote

This note-taking app allows users to prioritize project tasks and hold ideas, maintain a to-do list, and conveniently keep life checks. 

How To Choose Just One

Choosing an app type is a complex and multi-dimensional process. One must explore the ultimate factor that leads to the decision to develop an app. The answer to this query will indeed dictate the journey ahead. The developer must create a balance between the total cost invested and resources to determine the best suitable app. Some critical points that need to be considered as the decision factors are time, resources, and performance.

For instance, if you require an urgent app and do not have time to invest in building the app, then a web app is a suitable option. Is it capable of speeding the development time with the codebase, but it will also act as a great option as the users already have a mobile browser. 

In case of limited resources like time and money, hybrid and web apps are a suitable option. As the hybrid app will allow the business to perform a market test while using the minimum viable product, the apps can land in the hands of users within a limited period. As if it succeeds in grabbing attention, then one has the opportunity of building a full-fledged native version.

In terms of performance, speed, customization features, and stability, native apps are the type of mobile app one should opt for as it allows monitoring of the metrics that determine the actual brand growth. 

Conclusion

Native, Hybrid, and Web apps are all built on the foundation of some benefits and flaws. Based on business demands, one needs to take a final call regarding the type of app that will align with your predefined goals. If, as a business functioning in the modern business landscape, you don’t provide the new user-friendly features that your clients want, your competitors surely will.

As a result, you must regularly upgrade components and offer unique user experiences to sustain audience reach and loyalty, among other things. There are currently dozens of programs accessible for each difficulty. It would help if you created a unique or qualitatively new level of execution of an established concept to separate yourself apart from the competitors.

The key to employing various applications is to consider the features, requirements, and purpose of the app you’re creating. And each of the app kinds has its own set of benefits to provide. 

To clinch an in-depth assessment into the app development cirque and other product design nuances, feel free to contact us for professional assistance and guidance. 

Author

CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.