Before we go into detail and dive into “Building a Mobile App” I am going to define the difference between a web based application and a native based application.
Web Based Apps
A web based app is browser based and generally run off a URL, but can be added to a home screen of a tablet or smartphone. Written in text rather than binary code. Therefore a little less secure than a native app. The security aspect is arguable, therefore I encourage readers to comment. Web based apps are progressing rapidly but have yet to achieve the processing power of native based app.
Native Based Apps
Native apps are your typical App Store and Google Play apps that can be downloaded, unlike web based apps that run in the browser. Native apps are great for enterprise because they can be loaded on devices and are very user friendly. Also they have offline capabilities. Think of a native app as software rather than a webpage.
1. Do you need Offline Capabilities?
If your organization needs offline capabilities and your team is constantly working in the field, than a native based app will best suit your organizations needs. Native apps are especially beneficial to industrial, oil and gas, manufacturing organizations that may not have connectivity 100% of the time. Native apps are able to store information gathered during “offline mode” and upload the data to a server once connectivity is restored.
Generally, web apps need connectivity, there are methods that allow browser based apps to store information but they have yet to prove useful for enterprise organizations. Basically, if you need offline capabilities native based is your best bet.
2. Have you thought about Mobile Commerce?
So…this is a tricky one, because web-apps can be responsive (responsive = automatically adapts to the type of device the web-app is being viewed on i.e. a desktop web-app may look different than the mobile and tablet web app). The intelligence of a web app is able to recognize the device and display a mobile, tablet or desktop optimized web based application. Generally, the user experience is pretty good with web based apps. Cost is generally lower and many major brands are using web based mobile commerce platforms.
A native based app offers an immersive experience that is catered to each operating system and downloaded to the device. Therefore the user experience is smoother, much faster and offers the opportunity to reach customers through push notifications. Since the user downloads a native app to their device, mobile commerce providers can market flash sales, new products, and other marketing initiatives through a push notification that offers an immediate call to action.
3. Are you Considering Leveraging the Capability of the Device…Camera, Calendar, Near Field Communications, GPS, Location Aware Offerings?
If an app is meant to leverage the potential of the device, than a native based mobile strategy would best suit your needs and objectives. Although certain web based techniques are being used to integrate the camera features, GPS and Location aware offerings they are unproven and lack user experience.
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