Native apps, Web apps, iTunes apps, Android apps, what does it all mean? And where does a web site fit into the brave new world of the mobile web and app stores? This comparison table will help you better understand your options and why some sompanies are creating both.
A Native App vs.
A Web App
|Native apps must be downloaded from the iTunes Store, the Android Market, the Amazon Appstore, or a similar service.Native apps play locally on an iPhone, iPad, or other device. That means they ‘execute’ on your system not on a remote web server.In general, native apps provide the most options for rich media and interactivity.||Web Apps: Highly interactive web-based programs, such as the reservation system at American Airlines (aa.com), provide app-like experiences from a web site.Web apps play in a web browser over a network (for example: wifi or 3G).Web apps require advanced programming skills.|
|If you want to create high-end interactive games or other rich media with advanced interactive features …Nothing compares with a native app when it comes to creating race car games that let you “drive” the car by tilting your iPhone or iPad back and forth.Accessing the accelerometer, location detection, and other advanced features often requires a native app.||You can provide advanced interactivity with web apps.Just use Safari on an iPhone to view Facebook, Twitter, Amazon.com AA.com, and many other sites and you’ll see that you can use a web app to manage reservations, protect banking information, and more.|
|If you want to reach anyone, anytime, anywhere …Most native apps require a relatively high-speed connection or a long wait for the initial download.After an app is downloaded, some can play anywhere, anytime, but many apps are designed to download additional information, such as GPS coordinates or news updates and require a connection for the latest information.||Web apps require users to be connected, but if done well, they don’t require a very fast connection and they can be updated in real time very efficiently.All web apps essentially run a program on a remote web server. Kill that connection, and you get nada.|
|If you want to publish to many devices at once …When you develop apps you have to create a version for each operating system. That means a different version for each of the following:
||If you’re focused on the latest in tablet and touchscreen devices, you can do a lot with a web app.If you want to reach the broadest audience, you’ll want to deliver just the right version to each device using device detection and content adaptation.|