The progressive web applications are all the hype right now. For businesses, the apps have become an irreplaceable tool in their kit. They greatly benefit from a good working app that shows results. A progressive web app is a combo of native apps and a website. But how exactly are they different from native apps?
Now, there are two perspectives, one from the user’s perspective and one from the developer’s perspective. Let’s check out both.
PWA vs Native Apps
How many apps do users download on a daily basis? Most of the time, none. Users don’t go downloading apps every day. Getting them to install one requires the user’s commitment. They need to search for it in the app store, download it, and wait for installation.
But, a PWA does not require an app store or installation. Users can simply bookmark the site and add the app to their home screen. Moreover, PWAs do not take up as much space as native apps. And what’s more, users won’t have to continuously update the app as well because visiting the URL will always show them the recent version.
While a PWA loads better than a website. As compared to a responsive mobile site, PWAs load faster. They even work seamlessly in a poor network connection.
However, they are not yet better than a native app in these regards. A native code is faster than its PWA version, and native apps are more powerful. Not to mention that PWA runs from a browser, which means there will be more battery consumption.
This is just the beginning of progressive web apps. We are yet to see what they can accomplish. However, as of now, native apps can do much more than progressive web apps. Let’s check out some features and see how PWAs figure into it.
- Push notifications: both native apps and PWAs support push notifications. However, for PWAs, its not the same across all platforms.
- Geofencing: It helps developers set boundaries in real life. The app can trigger various actions when a user enters this boundary. As of now, only native apps have these.
- Mobile payment: The PWAs, interacting with digital payment hardware varies from platform to platform.
- Interaction with other apps: Native apps facilitate calling on other apps, add events to calendars and carry out similar functions. However, a progressive web app has its limitations.
- Others: There are some smart functions native apps can carry out, like proximity sensors, smart locks, ambient light detection, and much more. But, a PWA cannot access the user’s smartphone for the same functionalities.
So, now that we have seen how PWAs and native apps are different from each other, let’s move on to the next order of business. Which one to use?
You can opt for a progressive web application if you want to get started with a simple app to interact with your users. If you are on a tight budget, then you can develop a PWA quickly and it will cost you less. PWAs are also the way to go if you want to build brand awareness and improve SEO, as it is similar to a website.
Native apps are for when you want to build your brand’s credibility. Having apps on the app store increases the brand’s reliability, plus there are more security options. Also, when businesses want advanced smartphone features, they can go with native apps.