Cost is frequently cited as a top reason why companies don’t develop as many mobile applications as they would like.
There are, of course, ways around this–many of which we’ve discussed here on our blog. Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD), for example, turned traditional mobile app development on its head by giving companies a low-priced, efficient way to quickly develop and deploy apps. Many companies have used RMAD to do just that.
Always looming on the horizon, though, have been web applications. Web apps are platform agnostic and inexpensive to develop compared to native apps, at the cost of (we think) worse user experience and often less functionality.
In a recent Forbes article, Andrew Gazdecki, founder and CEO of Bizness Apps, discussed why he thinks progressive web apps will replace native mobile apps. Here are just a few reasons he thinks that the days of native apps in the enterprise are numbered:
- There’s no need to download native apps from an app store
- Thanks to pre-caching, the most current version of the app is always displayed
- They’re faster to build and update, and are more economical
- One version of a web app can be used on all devices
- Web apps can help companies without established mobile presences easily enter the space
On top of all that, Gazdecki cites a number of consumer brands–from Tinder to Pinterest and Lancome–that have abandoned native apps, adopted web apps, and seen good results. Progressive web apps, Gazdecki says, “are proving to be the best of both worlds for businesses. Bigger and better things await as this technology continues to develop.”
All of these are good points. Many companies have found native apps to be cost prohibitive, which we think is at least part of the reason that traditional enterprise apps have not taken off as much as expected. Also, deployment and management of native apps can be a challenge for some companies. (Not if they use App47, of course.) That said, native apps no doubt have the edge in terms of usability, UI, and their ability to truly be embedded on a platform. Native apps ‘feel’ better in many cases, even though they do certainly have their tradeoffs.
Some common complaints about mobile apps–namely cost and complexity–are resolved with progressive web apps. But they don’t address every problem, and native apps are good in their own right. So, what do you think: will web apps steal native mobile apps’ crown in the enterprise?