Understanding the different types of Mobile Apps

The smartphones and mobile industry has been rapidly booming for a decade with no intention to slow down, it is successfully expanding and constantly presenting new advance technology and features. This increase in usage of mobile devices has demanded app developers to up their game and come up with new innovative ideas for apps. With thousands of apps being launched at various app stores, every day. Developers and businesses are in for a tough competition.

The mobile apps are generally categorized in to four different types, each serving their own unique purpose. Companies or startups are suggested to focus on deciding what type of app would benefit their business. In this article, we’ll go through these different type of apps which would help us understand each of their functionalities and their advantages.

Native Apps:

Built exclusively for a specific type of Operating system, the name itself is self-explanatory as they are native to a particular device or platform. Native apps built on an operating system cannot be used on any other operating system other than its respective platform, for example ‘a native android app would not work or be entertained on an Apple device and vice versa’.  Native apps ensures great user experience at high performance. The app provides full access to all device controls like contacts, camera, sensors, etc. and can be accessed and downloaded at their respective app stores.
For example, Native android apps can be download through Google Play Store and a Native iOS app can only be found at App Store.

Web Apps:

These apps are limited to web browsers and could be accessed on every mobile devices. These are web-based mobile apps that aren’t installed on your devices but are run through web-hosted servers and can only be accessed through a web browser. Web apps typically use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery web technologies. Unlike the native mobile apps, Web apps cannot access features of native device functionality like camera, calendar, contacts, etc. Some of the few advantages of these web apps are that they reduce business costs, are always up-to-date, and does not require to be installed on a device. Another advantage of these web apps are that, because they’re accessed through a web-server, they can be accessed on any device or computer as long as there is an internet connection available.

Hybrid Apps

This combination of native and mobile web apps are great for building apps that do not require high-performance but do need full device access. Developed and brought to life by technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Mobile JavaScript frameworks, etc. Hybrid apps were created to achieve the middle ground between native mobile applications and mobile web applications. Packaged liked a native app, a hybrid app can be downloaded through an app store and can also be accessed through a web browser. Some of the advantages a hybrid apps has are that they are easy to build, much cheaper than a native app, no browser requirement.


Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps can be accessed instantly through their app icon on the home screen of a device which takes you to the app website. PWA are modern technology designed to provide a seamless and smooth mobile experience. A step ahead of the regular web app, PWA additionally provides user functionalities like working offline, push notifications and device hardware access. These apps are easily installable, run fast regardless of the operating systems and device types while maintaining similar user experience and are also considered pretty safe as they are served through HTTPS. Furthermore, a PWA requires low data usage, doesn’t not require updates as they are updated like web-pages and not apps.


Each type of app has its own advantages and some disadvantages. The idea is to get yourself informed about these apps so you can find a relevant app that fills in and benefits your business and its requirements.

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