Mobile Web Apps vs. Native Apps: Which One Is Better?


Browser-based mobile applications vs. native applications. It is a serious debate of about three years. And pretty much since the beginning of that debate, there has been a general undercurrent among the internet community that browser based is good and native is bad. But Native dominates despite serious downsides, and browser-based applications need to catch up.

Clearly, organizations are realizing the growing importance of the mobile web channel as a way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty, yet many are unaware that there are new and innovative approaches to native mobile app that leverage the browser. and they greatly facilitate participation. consumers through the exponential number of mobile device warfare.

The NATIVE form.

Mobile apps are nothing new. Hundreds of thousands of productivity, game, utility, and entertainment apps abound in stores like Apple’s iTunes or’s AppExchange, available for free but mostly paid apps through a variety of models. Applications redefined usability and interaction on mobile phones, especially touchscreen devices and, today, tablets. But the native way comes at a price: serious development costs plus maintenance and distribution costs. Not to mention the reliance on app stores and the ongoing install and update cycle. So for commercial mobile apps, the downsides can be outweighed by the business model, for informational mobile apps, which are essentially free, the downsides are paid for in cash.

One of the prerequisites of this native approach is the extensive infrastructure that is required for basic maintenance and distribution upgrades. And beyond the distribution infrastructure, organizations need to create custom versions of the application for each of the mobile platforms it will run on (Android, Mac O / S, RIM, Windows Mobile, Symbian, etc.) which in turn also requires updates for end users to install and update. For commercial applications it is not a big hurdle, for informational applications and for companies with a limited amount of resources to implement, it is not an obvious choice.

Native has its advantages; applications work offline, which is particularly interesting for games and native applications can take advantage of the proprietary features of the native platform; On iPhone apps, you can take advantage of the tilt angle or movement of the device, whenever your apps need that capability. For media and entertainment, native apps can be an additional revenue stream, as apps can generate a new, recurring revenue stream. But for most businesses, the apps will be free, so there won’t be an added incentive to build native apps.

The shape of the mobile browser

The technical and financial barriers to overcome in the native applications approach are too high for most companies and their marketing staff. They need to look for an alternative way to enter the mobile web market and the mobile device market. Small and medium-sized organizations are still struggling to launch a third-generation website or web presence, let alone now dealing with three or four different content management, distribution, and maintenance platforms.

Looking from a different angle, we might consider providing customers with a mobile web experience rather than an app experience. And that approach is made possible through newly developed standards like HTML5 and CSS3, combined with Javascripts that optimize a website’s content for a first-class mobile user experience. Applications can be easily replicated through the browser, without the need for a new and different underlying platform. Simply put, you are leveraging your existing website content on a mobile platform, accessible from any mobile device or tablet and regardless of the operating system and mobile browser used on the device or tablet.

The benefits of mobile web applications

For mobile app provider

The most obvious advantages for the application provider are the ability to leverage their existing investment in a website or content management system on the mobile platform. No need to create new content, no new distribution platform, no hardware and software investments, just content optimization for a robust mobile experience. And some content management platforms are now providing it as a supplement to their existing platform for creating non-mobile websites.

Another big advantage is that the approach is technology independent and that, with browser-based mobile applications, you are covering the entire market for mobile devices and tablets, regardless of the manufacturer and the underlying operating systems used. IOS covers about 52% of the mobile market and as such is an extraordinary figure, but leaves 48% to the others. Building native apps at Apple gives you 52% coverage of the market, building browser-based mobile apps gives you 100% coverage and you don’t need to worry about the percentage of your customers that will be covered when creating a native Apple . Applications.

The third and probably the biggest advantage for a small or medium business is the fact that your cost of updating and maintenance will be shared with the cost of updating and maintaining your main site. Therefore, an investment cost for both the main site and the mobile site, a URL or domain, and a cost to update and maintain both platforms.

For users or clients

Users do not have to download an application or any maintenance update, but instead “invoke” a URL through their mobile browser, which instantly delivers the most up-to-date application to their device. The URL can then be bookmarked as a local app on your device’s desktop for repeated use. In cases where users only want a one-time interaction with an application, they receive immediate access without a download, while organizations take a one-time opportunity to excite their audience.


The native app vs. mobile web app debate is not so much one of the best, but one of the best suited to the needs of your organization and your customers. Business apps are best served through native apps, but for most organizations that see a mobile web presence as an extension of their primary web presence, browser-based mobile apps are an alternative that is technically and financially far more. easy to implement and it will give customers the mobile experience they are looking for, navigating your website.

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