Native vs. Responsive Apps: Which one you should choose?
BY: EMMANUEL URIAS
The number of businesses that have realized the importance of having a business app that is used on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) is increasing every year. If you are a business owner interested in getting the most from the millions of mobile users out there, you should know that there are basically two types of apps you can invest in – native apps and responsive apps. In order to understand which option is better, you must learn more about their differences and their pros and cons.
Native apps are the apps that users are typically downloading from Application stores like App Store (iOS) and Google Play Store (Android). Each native app comes with a distinctive icon that users should tap to launch.
On the other hand, responsive apps are actually web apps that are launched via web browsers. Each of these specific types of apps comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. We will now highlight these advantages and disadvantages.
UX (User Experience)
When it comes to user experience, native apps come with user-friendly interface and with the target audience in mind. Responsive apps are restricted to the abilities of the web browser. So, it is possible for different users to get different experience depending on the web browser they are using (built-in vs commercial downloadable browsers). The good news is that both options provide a solid offline user experience. However, in the case of responsive apps, only those based on HTML5 can provide offline experience (through cache).
It is good to point out that native apps are able to use more resources and features of the device which means that they run faster and smoother. However, this also means that they can sometimes slow down the background processes. It all depends on the quality of the native app and how it was developed. Obviously, responsive apps need fewer resources – they are displayed in the browser which means that they cannot use more resources than the browser and as we all know modern mobile browsers need minimal CPU and space.
Generally speaking, responsive apps allow business owners to reach a wider audience on a wide range of platforms in a simple and easy way. This is something that you cannot expect from an average native app. The same code is used on all platforms and there is no approval procedure. Native apps have different versions for different operating systems and they need to be approved by application stores.
The truth is that native apps are usually more difficult to maintain once the app is downloaded. There are different code bases that must be maintained. On the other hand, when users are launching responsive apps they are always using the latest version. Native apps need manual update even though it is possible to set the mobile device to automatic update.
It is a well-known fact that native apps cost more because developing an app like this requires more resources and more time. This is one of the reasons why many people opt for responsive apps. However, according to some surveys, more people prefer native apps when they are looking for a way to buy things online. This means that native apps are a smart investment in the long run.
It is difficult to tell which option is better because it all depends on the nature of your business. Native apps allow the use of all the features mobile devices have like GPS, accelerometer, camera and other sophisticated features. Responsive apps are more cost-affordable and easy to maintain. One thing is for sure – having a mobile app is a must for every modern business. If you are not sure which option suits your business the best, feel free to contact our experts.