Around a decade back, no one even knew what mobile app is going to hold for any of us. Consumers were just excited about the new technology and businesses were using it to grow.
Now in 2020, the number of smartphones has increased and is now around 4.78 billion as per Statista. The companies are taking leverage of the mobile app trend due to seamless experience and increased visibility.
Due to this, it is easy to get confused with PWA vs native apps when it is mainly about mobile apps? Where do the Native apps and PWA come into play?
The fact is that both of the options work great for the developers. So, how are you going to decide which one will suit your business?
The fact is that websites are not much used in the present time and consumers are switching to mobile apps. Here are the reasons why mobile apps are preferred to websites.
With this said, let us give you an insight into the world to help you choose the best one out of both the options.
What is PWA?
In 2015, the concept of progressive web apps or as abbreviated PWA are the amazing crafted mobile apps for the users. It hosts web features giving app-like experience to the users using the service workers and APIs that deal with the requests.
In layman terms, it is easy to say that PWA is the ultra optimized website in the form of mobile apps. The users can easily use the content from the browser including Safari, Firefox, and Chrome then browse it in a mobile app.
Here are the PWA benefits, drawbacks, and apps that are using the PWA to grow their business.
What is a Native App?
The Native apps are the ones that are developed specifically for the platforms, be it iOS or Android that offers some device functionality. These apps are available on the Apple or Google Play Store from where users can download and install them to use.
Nevertheless, the Native Apps are coded differently for both the platforms and are optimized as per the device. In simple words, it is a self-contained app that runs over the specific platform utilizing its capability and resources to the fullest potential.
For the past decade, the Native-like apps have become the major part of the mobile app industry that is now introduced with other aspects such as Cross-platform app development.
Read More – Cross Platform Vs Native App Development
Here are the list of Native apps benefits, cons, and the apps that are ruling the market with it.
Detailed Comparison – Progressive Web Apps Vs Native Apps
Since the basics of both types of apps are clear, let us move towards the more pressing issues that are – PWA vs native apps. The fact is that in the present world, every business depends upon the mobile app to increase its visibility.
It is bringing in the paradigm shift in the market in terms of mobile users and hence companies are rushing to develop compelling mobile apps. The motive is to boost business revenue and increase its productivity.
With this said, let us answer the many questions that you might have “why are progressive web apps better than native”, ” What is the future of PWA”, “What about Native Apps”. To answer it all, let us get a better idea about the difference between PWA and native apps.
#1 Tech Stack
The major PWA vs native apps is the use of the technologies used to develop mobile apps. The Android app developers use Kotlin and Java for Android app development with toolkits as Android Developer Tools and Android Studio. There are websites for Android developers that can help the developers to grasp the languages.
Whereas iOS app developers use Objective C and Swift with the toolkits as AppCode and XCode for the Native apps.
PWA works differently since there is no need to develop two separate versions for the operating systems due to the browser use. Hence, the tech stack uses the React Native, CSS, HTML5, Angular, and AMP. The developers can choose the right technology stack for your mobile app as per the requirements.
Another aspect of the PWA vs native apps is its timeline that plays a huge role in the development cycle. The Native apps are developed differently for each platform that is a time taking process and double efforts. To get a better understanding of it, make sure to follow the mobile app development timeline guide. Whereas PWA app development works on the single code only that will take less time as compared to the native apps. The low-code and no-code platforms will cut out the delivery time as well.
Read More – How long does it take to develop an application
Your budget is another factor that helps in considering the best out of both the platforms. Native apps are costlier as compared to the PWA apps since there is only one-time coding done. In addition to this, the native apps are not only developed for different platforms but its updates and maintenance will be done separately that affect the cost of mobile app development.
Whereas PWA apps are developed once for tablets, desktop, and mobile in form factors that can work across all operating systems – web, Android, and iOS. The PWA vs native apps in terms of price is in the PWA pocket. The fact is that PWA is less expensive and much easier to develop instead of the native apps that build on separate platforms doubling the cost.
Now you need to understand that the cost of app development for both the platforms will depend upon a number of factors. The cost of each app, be it for PWA or Native, will be different due to its different requirements. Here is the basic cost of both the platforms for different types of apps.
|Type of App||PWA||Native Apps|
|Fitness App (Admin Panel)||$15-18K||$25K|
|Instant Messaging App||$9K-11K||$15K|
#4 App Development
Due to the separate timing, the development of the Native apps and PWA is different. The development is easier and faster in PWA that is seamless and works on the devices easily. Whereas when it comes to Native apps the development is separately done as mentioned above (many times).
The fact is that development and PWA Design Tips Guidelines are followed to build the browser app that can run easily on any platform. However, when it comes to Native apps, the developers built the apps for the Apple and Android devices using a different tech stack and process.
#5 App Distribution
You might never have considered the app distribution but it is an essential part of the PWA vs native apps. As mentioned above, PWA is not something that you will find on the app store so how will the users know about its existence?
Read More – How to promote an app
Simple, they will search it and use the PWA site that will help them discover all about the PWA app. But do you think it’s ideal? We all know that users use Play Store to search for the app that is in the market. But to make the app visible, it must be valuable, unique, and noticeable.
Let it explain it in a simple language. The app distribution must be done in a manner that can target the users and make them search for it on Google. But if they are a fan of play stores then native apps are at the top of the list.
You can consider it as the PWA vs native pros and cons since it is pro for one and con for another. The native app installation is actually a bit easy as the users just need to go to the Apple or Google Play Store before downloading and installing it. However, it takes a while since it depends upon the internet speed and app size.
PWA is a bit different in this case since it is not available on any App Store. The installation is actually easy for progressive web apps since it is developed using one code for the platforms. The users can easily find the app via Google search that will navigate them to the main page where an install prompt will popup. If the users want they can accept the installation and get the shortcut of the app on their home screen.
#7 Performance & Storage
PWA takes a minimum of the phone storage space whereas this can’t be said for the Native Apps. As a result, the PWA vs native app performance can give a better idea about the whole process. Let us go to the basics of mobile apps.
The most essential thing for users in the smartphone is their memory storage since it directly affects the app performance. The fact is that native apps downloaded and installed on the mobile phone require some space in the memory. As a result, the device can hang or lag in some aspects when memory is minimum that disrupts the performance of users.
Whereas PWA is not installed on the phone and hence needs negligible space on the phone. It is a great way to save some space and work efficiently even with minimum memory left. As a result, the customer retention of PWA is better as compared to Native apps.
#8 User Engagement
No one knows the importance of user engagement better than mobile app development company and hence it is an essential progressive web apps vs native apps aspect. The fact is that business owners know that user experience is directly related to their engagement since it will keep the users hooked to the app and increase the profit.
But they also need to know that device feature integration with apps enhances the user experience. For instance, the push notification, geofencing, payment transaction, camera, call, etc. features must be accessible for users from the app. The Native apps can be built in the features and easily integrate the device with a third-party.
As a result, the users will be able to access the features easily without any hitches. This can be done in PWA apps as well since the users can also get the notifications and can access a few device features (but not all).
The device feature access is one of the major marketing tools that any business can avail of. It directly affects the user engagement as explained above allowing users to pick on the specific features.
PWA is restricted but not limited to the device features that are used by the Native apps. This includes a layer, accelerometer, GLP, NFC, camera, and so on. The primary features are accessible for PWA.
#9 Market Launch
One of the most important PWA vs native apps aspects is its launch in the market. The Native apps need to avail the guidelines of Apple and Google Play store since the users can download the app via stores.
The mobile app developers need to submit the proper applications and its details to the store to get the approval and validation. This makes the developers wait sometime before rolling the app in the market. The worst thing is that the whole process is repeated again during the time of new updates in the app.
This is not something that PWA goes through since it is not available on the App Stores. Hence, there is no need to get the validation or submission required. The developers can work on the development and directly launch it in the market – simple, quick, and easy. It is all set to use and enjoyed by the users.
#10 Offline Work
Whereas Native apps can also work offline but require the functionalities and content in the form of cache memory. Through this cloud data synchronization and local data storage is possible but not ideal.
#11 Updates & Support
Regular updates are another major factor that mobile app developers must be aware of since it has the potential to attract and reach more customers. When it comes to PWA, there is no need to update and regular support since it can be done easily without following a long process of changes.
But with Native Apps, it is a bit different. The users and businesses need an explicit app and as a result different updates. Hence, the maintenance of native apps can increase the cost and require more time. And let’s not forget about the app for each platform. In addition to this, not all users update the app together and hence there are different app versions that are used in the market for the same app. This means more work to do.
Future of PWA Vs Native Apps
If we see the considerations listed above, there are a lot of questions that might pop into your head. One of them can be “Are Native apps dying?”
The answer is No, Native apps are not dying but evolving with time. Cross-platform app development is one such addition in the app world that offers the Native-like look and feel to the customers. It is enhancing the value of the applications in the market with just a single code for all the platforms.
Another can be about the future of native apps. The fact is that native apps are secure for now. There is so must that is to be developed in the first of Native apps that will leave us spellbound.
Will PWA replace native apps?
Partially yes. But it is going to be a long way down the road. The PWA is not the ideal form of mobile app development due to its limitations and hence, it will take a lot of time to replace Native in the market. Be it user experience, offline functionality, UI, and the utilization of resources, PWA needs to pick up the game to give a tough competition to Native Apps as of now.
Till then, PWA is just going to be part of the mobile app development world and help in ruling the industry. But don’t confuse the replacement with its future.
Is PWA the future?
Yes, Progressive Web Apps Future is extremely bright due to its easy implementation and low cost of development. It might not be the replacement for Native apps but it does have a great future due to a number of features in terms of augmenting web experience.
This is the major aspect of the PWA vs native apps that you must be aware of. But now what? Which is ideal? What are you gonna choose?
The fact is that the Native apps and PWA have the ability to cover all the requirements of the businesses. Hence, there is no right or wrong that you can consider but it can depend upon the money and time. Without further ado, here is the best explanation of PWA vs native apps.
Where to use PWA
- PWA can offer better customer retention and enhanced marketing strategies. Hence, it can be ideal for the eCommerce sites that aim to engage maximum customers.
- The first step of your business can be with the PWA that is a simple and user-friendly app. In addition to this push notifications can help in interacting with the audience and hooking them on the product.
- When you aim to reach out to more people without making them download the app in a short time period. The features and links help to target a wide audience with Google Search.
- Work easily on various platforms with the same design and development process without wondering about the operating system.
- Improve SEO and brand awareness with the website and build your brand on the web.
Where to use Native Apps
- When there is a complex product such as dating apps, social platforms, banking sector, and so on. These apps require native-like experience to attract users and connect with each other.
- The major factor of the app is interface and speed then it is vital to consider native apps. For instance, the messenger and gaming apps need the best page load speed without any interruption from the internet connection.
- The privacy and security of the users are priorities that can only be done with native apps. It offers top-notch security protocol to the sensitive client data to the health, finance, and banking industries.
- When the major aim is to integrate the device features in the app and help in enhancing the user experience.
- Build brand credibility in the market with the apps that are reliable in nature and are validated on the app store.
There are so many deciding factors that claim that PWA is better than Native Apps but the fact is that Native has its own importance in the market. The choice completely depends on the tasks and businesses that are included in the app.
Native Apps and PWA, both are extremely important for the business world and have their own sets of opportunities for the future. The major focus of both the app type is customer experience and engagement. So, be aware of choosing one of them since it is all about customers.
With this said about PWA vs native apps, if you need any consulting service to decide on which path to take for your next mobile app venture, then feel free to contact us.
A technocrat and an entrepreneur who is the Co-Founder and Chief Delivery Head at Appventurez. Skilled in object-oriented programming (OOP), iOS Development, Design Principles, Data Structures, and Swift, he has served different organizations as Tech Lead.
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