What are the Different Types of Mobile Apps?

Now a day everyone wants a mobile app for their business. In this era of smartphones and mobile app, different types of mobile apps are published on the Play Store and App Store.

With the advancement of technology and competition in business, companies are focusing on what type of mobile app is best for our market.

So, let’s talk about different types of mobile app.

Types of Mobile Apps by Technology

Generally, mobile apps are classified into 3 categories, Native apps, Hybrid apps, Web apps, and also I’m mentioning Progressive Web apps here.

  • Native Apps created for a specific operating system or platform
  • Web Apps are the simply responsive version of the website. It’s a website so it’s open in any mobile browser of any OS.
  • Hybrid Apps are a combination of both native and web app, it’s wrapped with a native app and it’s available different app stores.
  • Progressive Web Apps are the advancement of the web app. It can download and install and run like a native app.

1. Native Apps

Native apps are specially made for specific mobile Operating system. Like for Android or iOS. This means if the app is made for Android doesn’t run in iOS. Android apps are made in Java, Kotlin like technology while iOS apps are made in Swift. Now, a day flutter is also an option to develop create apps for both platforms in a single codebase.

Native apps provide developers to access device controls like contacts, camera, audio, sensors, etc. Native apps ensure high performance and great experience because of the UI. Native apps are accessed by their respective app store like PlayStore for android and AppStore for iOS apps.

Pros

  • Native apps are very fast and more reliable in terms of performance.
  • More interactive and intuitive.
  • Easily interact with any feature of the phone.

Cons

  • Built for a single platform
  • Expensive to develop
  • Hard to maintain

Example: Calculator, WhatsApp

2. Web Apps

Web apps are looks like native apps but it is accessed by mobile browser. These apps use typically HTML, CSS, JavaScript web technologies. They cannot install in your device and not able to access mobile controls like camera, sensors and etc.

Pros

  • Reduce cost
  • No installation needed
  • Access from anywhere and any platform
  • Always up-to-date

Cons

  • Need internet, does not work offline
  • UI sometimes becomes unresponsive
  • Security risk

Example: financial times, child fund international

3. Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are a mixture of Native apps and Web apps. They look like Native apps but it’s a web app that wraps with a native app. These are developed using technologies like HTML5, CSS, Javascript, JQuery, Mobile Javascript frameworks, Cordova/PhoneGap, etc. 

Hybrid apps are also installed in your device and distributed through different app stores. These apps do not much give a high performance like native apps but they can access mobile controls.

Pros

  • Easy to develop
  • Much cheaper than Native apps
  • Single app for all platforms
  • No browser needed
  • Can usually access device utilities using an API
  • Faster to develop than native apps

Cons

  • Not faster than Native apps
  • A little bit less interactive

Example: Instagram, Facebook

4. Progressive Web Apps

The term ‘progressive web apps were coined by designer Frances Berriman and Google Chrome engineer Alex Russell in 2015. As per my understanding, PWA is the advancement of web apps.

Progressive Web Apps are simply web apps but it provides additional functionality like working offline, push notification, and device hardware access which was earlier only available to native mobile apps. 

The great thing about this app is you can access the web through icon once you install or add from the website.  When you come across the option to “install” a web app, it often simply bookmarks the website URL on your device. This blog also uses PWA, just click on “Add to Home screen” in your mobile browser.

For a deeper discussion on PWAs, we will see in the next article.

Pros

  • Once you update the web app it automatically gets up-to-date.
  • Deep linking, means if you search for that website on the browser then it automatically opens in the PWA app.
  • Easily install from a web browser

Cons

  • Less interactive then Native apps
  • Not supports modern technology
  • Less access to mobile controls

Example: twitter, vue.org, codesnail.com

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