PWA Vs. Native Apps: How To Choose Between Them

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Oct 12 , 2023 | 10 min read

Many developers and companies are interested in the debate between native apps and progressive web apps. Will progressive web apps (PWAs) eventually take the role of native apps? What distinguishes PWAs from native apps? What are the benefits and drawbacks of native apps versus PWAs? These are some of the most common questions that everyone has.

Statista claims that there are now more than six billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide. This figure is expected to increase by several hundred million more in the upcoming years. Businesses now have a fantastic chance to embrace mobile apps to provide seamless user experiences. Progressive web apps (PWAs) have, however, experienced increasing popularity in recent years, and businesses must now decide whether to build a PWA or a native app.

Let’s examine the main distinctions between native apps and progressive web apps (PWAs) to decide which is superior in 2023. Let’s start now!

What Is A Progressive Web Application?

PWA stands for Progressive Web Application, which is not just an ordinary app in the traditional sense. It is a website that imitates an app built and optimized to work like a mobile application. In other words, PWAs are more user-friendly than standard web pages yet don’t require app store downloads. Accessing them via browsers and starting using them immediately is sufficient.

Progressive Web Apps Pros And Cons

The main advantages and disadvantages of PWAs that you should be aware of are listed below.

Pros

  • Fast and responsive: Thanks to the service worker technology that supports offline use and caching, they offer speedy loading and a pleasant user experience.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: PWAs are developed under web standards and are usable on all platforms, including tablets, smartphones, and desktops.
  • Lower storage requirements: Compared to native apps, they use less space on a smartphone.
  • SEO-friendly: PWAs may be indexed by search engines like any other website, Secure: improving their visibility on SERPs.
  • Secure: PWAs are safe since they adhere to HTTPS protocols and send encrypted data.

Cons

  • Limited use of native device features: Progressive web apps might not be able to use all of a user’s smartphone’s functions, such as push notifications, a camera, and an accelerometer.
  • Security risks: PWAs may need additional security measures to protect user data because they are susceptible to cyberattacks.
  • Limited user engagement: Progressive web apps might not have as much user interaction as native apps, such as user-generated content or social sharing.

What Is A Native Application?

A native application is created specifically to run on one platform or set of operating systems. The entire power of your device is unlocked when you install a native app, whether it be for iOS or Android. These programs are painstakingly designed to take full advantage of your hardware and software, producing quick performance, quick responses, and increased reliability.

They are, however, offered through platform-specific app stores and call for different development efforts for each platform. This method enables developers to produce programs that are perfectly tailored for a certain device or operating system and are highly integrated and seamless.

Native Apps Pros And Cons

Native apps have advantages and disadvantages of their own, just like PWAs. Let’s learn some of them:

Pros

  • Speedy and effective: Because native apps are optimized for the platform they are operating on, they are far faster than online apps.
  • High performance: Native apps provide better stability and performance because they may be utilized offline.
  • Offline mode: They offer offline data storage and push notifications.
  • Accessible: Users can easily find and install native programs because they can be downloaded from app stores.

Cons

  • Slow time to market (TTM): Because each platform requires a different version, native apps take longer and use more resources to build.
  • Regular updates: Each platform’s native apps must be updated and maintained separately.
  • Costlier: Native app development is more expensive than web app development.
  • Long download time: Native programs must be downloaded and installed, which may prevent certain users from utilizing them.

Progressive web apps vs Native apps: Which is better in 2023?

Your business’s goals, your target market, and the features you require all play a part in the answer to this query. However, before deciding which is superior in 2023, let’s examine the main distinctions between PWAs and native apps.

a. Development cost and time

The expense and length of development time associated with PWAs are one of the main factors driving commercial adoption. PWA development typically costs less money and takes less time than native app development. PWAs are created with web technologies that developers are familiar with and simple to deploy across several platforms.

b. User experience

PWAs could fall short of the polished and refined user experience provided by native apps. Utilizing all of a device’s hardware and software capabilities, native apps excel at providing a smooth and incredibly responsive user experience. PWAs, in contrast, have some restrictions inside the web browser environment, which makes them less responsive than their native counterparts.

c. Accessibility

By working on any device with a web browser and not requiring downloads or installations, PWAs offer simplicity. Native apps, in contrast, are restricted to particular platforms and require installation before use. As a result, PWAs are more widely available than native programs and can thus reach a larger user base.

d. Maintenance and updates

A PWA is typically simpler to update and maintain than a native app. Server-side updates enabled by PWAs allow users to access the most recent version of an app without downloading or installing anything. Conversely, users of native programs must download and install updates, which can take some time.

Conclusion

The choice between Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Native Apps is crucial in the dynamic world of mobile applications. The decision depends on your unique business demands and objectives because each alternative has unique benefits and drawbacks.

PWAs offer cross-platform interoperability, making them an affordable option for a wider audience. Their responsiveness and offline capabilities improve user experiences. While providing unmatched performance, functionality, and access to device capabilities, native apps are the superior choice.

Consider your target audience, budget, development time, and necessary features to make the best decision. PWAs might be the best choice for their wider reach and affordability. When it comes to performance and when it comes to utilizing a platform’s special features, native apps thrive.

In the end, it might not be a choice between PWA and Native but rather a thoughtful fusion of the two to meet the varied needs of users. A more effective and user-friendly application will result from tailoring your mobile strategy to your unique goals and user needs.

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