Woman using a mobile app on her smartphone

At a time when smartphones are indispensable, mobile apps are the best way to deliver services and solutions to a wide audience. However, choosing the right kind of Mobile App that suits your business needs is not an easy task. The type of app you choose to develop can make or break not only your idea, but potentially also your business. In this article, we will go through all the three kinds of Mobile Apps, namely Mobile Web, Native, and Hybrid Apps, while considering several important factors that will help you make the final decision.

  • Accessibility
  • Affordability
  • Development & Maintenance
  • Speed & Seamlessness

With these criteria in mind, let’s dive into the different kinds of mobile apps.

1. Mobile Web Apps

Characteristics of a Mobile Web App

Built using the HTML/CSS/JavaScript language, Mobile Web Apps are applications that are run and accessed through a web browser such as Google Chrome or Safari. Like its more common desktop counterparts, Mobile Web Apps are built like regular websites, but are designed to work and look good on mobile devices.The biggest advantages of the Mobile Web App is its simplicity to develop and its accessibility. Since there is no need to learn a platform-specific language, Mobile Web Apps are quick to build. In some cases, development can take less than a month. Not only that, Mobile Web Apps can be instantly accessed with any device with a web browser and an internet connection, without needing to be installed beforehand. This makes it very accessible and able to be distributed quickly.Although the Mobile Web App is simple to build and easy to access, it can be slow and less interactive with the device. Mobile Web Apps are prone to lags and unable to utilize the full features of the device such as the camera or push notifications since it is not created to cater specifically to an operating system. Mobile Web Apps also cannot be accessed with a single click on a shortcut located in the device’s home screen as a result of the app not being installed on the device itself. In terms of cost, Mobile Web Apps are the cheapest to develop. However, since it will require a server to run, it requires a maintenance cost that may make the long term running costs more expensive than other types of apps.

2. Native Apps

Characteristics of a Native App

The Native App is the most common type of Mobile App. It is built exclusively — or “natively” — for specific operating systems, hence its name. Native Apps is developed native programming languages such as Swift (iOS) or Java/Kotlin (Android).Contrasting with the Mobile Web App, the strengths of the native app lies in its very fast speed and seamlessness. Because it is made specifically to run on a particular device, its performance is not only fast, it can also interact and utilize the device’s in-built features, making a smooth and seamless user experience. Apps whose main goal requires heavy use of a device’s specific features, such as the microphone, camera, and contact lists must undoubtedly be developed as a Native App.But Native Apps can take more time to develop and maintain if the app will be developed on both mobile operating systems, iOS and Android. Both systems use different programming languages, and that it takes time and effort to be good at both. This is why developing Native Apps for both systems requires a long timeframe and also a big budget. Developing a Native App on just one platform, however, will be more simple and won’t cost as much.The accessibility of Native Apps is more limited than Mobile Web Apps as it needs to be downloaded and installed through the respective app distribution platform of each operating system (App Store for iOS, Google Play Store for Android). It is also subject to the distribution platform’s various terms and conditions. But, developers of Native Apps can explore the many dynamics of the App Store and Google Play Store such as Optimization and Ads for the purpose of marketing, allowing for a more targeted approach in marketing the app.

3. Hybrid Apps

Characteristics of a Hybrid App

Just like its name suggests, Hybrid Apps are a combination of Mobile Web Apps and Native Apps. Utilizing the React Native and Flutter framework, Hybrid Apps are basically developed using Mobile Web App technology and are packaged into a Native application. Hybrid Apps behave like Native Apps, and so are able to access device features like the camera, microphone, or push notifications. The advantages of the Hybrid App is that it is cheap and has a decent level of speed and seamlessness with the device. In comparison to the Native App, Hybrid Apps are much cheaper to build and maintain. Just like Mobile Web Apps, Hybrid Apps do not need different versions of the app to run on different operating platforms, and so its development cost does not differ much from the Mobile Web App. It also has the advantage of having its own shortcut icon on a device’s home screen.Of course, Hybrid Apps’ cost-effectiveness is traded off with its inability to match a Native App’s speed and seamlessness with the device’s operating system. Hybrid Apps are also prone to looking and also acting differently on different platforms. The app may not be able to tap into small features of the operating system, such as animations, which may cause the app to look laggy.

Man designing a mobile app

Now that we’ve looked at all three types of apps and evaluated them through different criteria, we can match our needs to the app that fits. Ask yourself these questions: Will my app be dependent on the use of device features? How much time and money am I willing to pay for development and running costs? How do I want to distribute and market my app? Once you’ve made your decision, the next step is to start developing! As a one-stop IT solutions provider, Tokyo Techies provides complete support in developing your dream app from scratch. Putting your business goals in mind, we tailor the most optimized and cost-effective app and also make sure that your product finds success in the market.

Ready to take your idea to the next level? Contact us today for a free consultation.

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