App Development

The Battle of the Web App vs Mobile App: Which is Right for Your Startup?

Uzma Naz | June 27, 2022
The Battle of the Web App vs Mobile App: Which is Right for Your Startup?

“The right decision in a business is always made by evaluating the pros and cons of each option in the light of what the company is trying to achieve. “

As the technology revolution expands, entrepreneurs are blessed with more opportunities to get their startups off the ground. However, with these new possibilities come new difficulties, one of which is deciding which platform is best for your startup idea: a web app or a mobile app?

Naturally, the answer is that it depends on your particular startup and your goals. To help you decide which is best for your company, let’s examine the main distinctions between web apps and mobile apps in more detail.

Web App vs Mobile App: What’s The Difference?

Web Apps- A Quick Overview

The first thing to know about web apps is that they are hosted on a web server and accessed through a web browser like Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. Web apps are built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s important to note that web apps are not the same as websites. Websites are typically informational and have static content, while web apps are interactive and have dynamic content.

Moreover, web apps can be designed to work offline, a significant advantage over traditional websites. Thus, users can still access the app and its features even if they don’t have an internet connection. Some popular examples of web apps include Google Docs, Trello, and Asana.

Mobile Apps- A Quick Overview

Mobile apps, on the other hand, are full-fledged native apps that are specifically designed to run on a mobile device. They are written in specific programming languages such as Swift or Java and require approval from app stores before they can be downloaded and installed by users.

Unlike web apps, mobile apps must be downloaded and installed on a user’s device. They also have access to the device’s hardware and software, which means they can take advantage of features like the camera, GPS, and push notifications. Moreover, there are different mobile apps, such as native apps, hybrid apps, and cross-platform apps. Some popular examples of mobile apps include Instagram, Snapchat, and Uber.

Also, Read [How to convert your website into a Mobile App]

Web Apps vs Mobile Apps: The Pros and Cons

Which is then appropriate for your startup? It’s still challenging to understand. Don’t worry; we’ll look more closely at each choice’s main benefits and drawbacks to help you make the best choice.

Web App Pros

1. Accessibility

A web app means you don’t have to be limited by your operating system or hardware. Besides, you can connect with any device with an internet connection and use your web app. The cloud-based technology behind web apps makes it easy to access anywhere with any device. You can even design them to work on smartphones and tablets, too! The average conversion rate for progressive web apps was 36 percent higher than the one for native mobile apps, according to a separate study by the TOP 30 PWAs report.

2. Easy to develop

A web app is built upon code, which can be easily compiled and run through a browser. Thus, anyone with basic coding skills (or any web application development company, for that matter) can build a web app relatively quickly. Moreover, the possibilities are almost endless when customizing or updating a web app. Therefore, if you have an original idea, you can quickly bring it to life online.

3. No need for app store approval

With web apps, you can usually go ahead and publish them—there’s no need to have a developer submit your app to an app store. That’s because they run in a browser, not on a device (e.g., iOS or Android). This means you don’t have to worry about all sorts of restrictions on app stores. For example, no one cares if your web app is ad-supported; users will never see it.

4. Easy to scale

As your business grows, it’s easy to scale up a web app to accommodate more users. You can add more servers and storage without rewriting the code or redesigning the app—unlike native apps. This makes web apps much more cost-effective in the long run.

5. More affordable to develop

In general, web apps are an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. They’re especially well-suited for startups and small businesses on a tight budget. When you compare the cost of developing a web app to a native app, the former is usually much cheaper. This is because you only have to develop one version that will work on all devices—you don’t have to create separate versions for iOS, Android, etc.

Web App Cons: 

1. Limited access to device features:

The biggest downside of web apps is their limited access to a device’s features and hardware. This includes the camera, microphone, storage, etc. For example, you can’t develop a web app that would let users take photos and upload them directly to the app.

2. Can be slow:

Web apps can be slower than native apps because they have to load all the code every time they’re used. Moreover, this is especially true if there’s a lot of code or the internet connection is slow.

3. Security issues:

Since web apps are run in a browser, they’re susceptible to the same security risks as any other website. This includes viruses, malware, and hackers.

4. Not all browsers are created equal:

Different browsers can interpret code differently, which can cause your app to look or function differently on each one. This can be frustrating for users and is an extra development challenge for you.

5. Dependent on internet connection:

Web apps cannot operate offline as native apps can; they require an internet connection to function. Plus, this could be a problem if your app uses a lot of data or if users are in an area with a spotty or nonexistent internet signal.

Mobile App Pros:

1. Personalization:

Mobile apps offer customization and personalization that you can’t get with web apps. This is because they’re designed to work specifically on one type of device and operating system. For example, you can tailor the look and feel of your app to match your company’s branding. You can also take advantage of features unique to mobile devices, such as push notifications.

2. Increased engagement:

Mobile apps tend to be more engaging than web apps because they’re designed for use on a smaller screen. This forces designers to be more intentional about the user experience and how users will interact with the app. As a result, mobile apps are usually more user-friendly and easier to navigate.

Mobile apps may generate more than $935 billion in revenue by 2023, based on app sales data. (Serpwatch)

3. Access to device features:

Unlike web apps, mobile apps have access to a device’s features, including the camera, microphone, storage, etc. Furthermore, this makes them much more versatile and allows you to develop more innovative applications.

4. Offline capabilities:

Mobile apps can work offline, which is a significant advantage over web apps. This means that users can still use your app even if they don’t have an internet connection.

5. Better performance:

Due to their focus on mobile devices, mobile apps are typically faster and more responsive than web apps. This is because mobile apps can utilize a device’s built-in features, such as the processor and graphics chip. You can fully utilize these options with the assistance of a mobile app development company.

Mobile App Cons:

1. More expensive to develop:

The biggest downside of mobile apps is that they’re more expensive to develop than web apps. This is because you must create separate versions for each device and operating system. For example, you’ll need to develop an app for iOS and Android devices.

2. Requires approval from app stores:

Moreover, if you want to distribute your app through an app store, you’ll need to go through a lengthy approval process. This can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience.

3. It can be challenging to keep updated:

Keeping your app up-to-date can be challenging because you must submit new versions to the app store for approval. Besides, this process can take a long time, which can be frustrating for users.

4. Requires more maintenance:

Mobile apps require more maintenance than web apps because there are more moving parts. For example, you must keep track of multiple app versions for different devices and operating systems. Moreover, this can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

What Factors Should You Consider When Deciding Between a Mobile App and a Web App?

1. The type of audience you’re targeting:

Your customer base and business niche will play a significant role in deciding whether to develop a mobile or web app. Therefore, if your target audience is mostly mobile users, you should develop a mobile app. However, if your target audience is desktop users, then you should develop a web app.

2. Your budget:

Mobile apps tend to be more expensive to develop than web apps, so you’ll need to consider your budget when deciding. Consequently, if you have a limited budget, you may want to create a web app.

3.   The features you need:

Another factor to consider is the features you need for your app. Mobile apps have access to all of the features of a device, which gives them an advantage over web apps. However, a web app may be a better option if you don’t need access to those features.

4.    The level of engagement you want:

Mobile apps tend to be more engaging than web apps, so if you want your users to be highly engaged with your app, you should develop a mobile app. However, a web app may be a better option if you’re not as concerned about engagement.

5. Your timeline:

A web app may be the best option if you need to develop your app quickly. However, if you’re willing to take the time to develop a high-quality app, then a mobile app may be a better choice.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many things to take into account when choosing between a web app and a mobile app. It’s essential to think about your target audience, budget, timeline, and needed features. What’s best for your business ultimately determines the choice.

Furthermore, you can always create both a mobile app and a web app to reach the broadest possible audience. This increases your chances of success and gives you the best of both worlds. Get in touch with a reliable web and mobile app development company for more information.

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