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3 types of mobile apps

“In my opinion, the future of mobile is the future of everything”.

- Matt Galligan, Co-founder of Circa.


Native apps



Native apps are built particulary for a mobile device’s operating system (OS). Because they’re built for just one platform. They are installed directly into the device. Users normally acquire these apps through an online store like the The App Store, Android Apps on Google Play. Some examples of these apps are Camera+ for ios devices and KeePassDroid for android devices. Native apps are coded using a variety of programming languages. Some examples are Java, Kotlin, Python, Swift, Objective-C, C++, and React. Because of their singular focus, native apps have the advantage of being faster and more reliable in terms of performance. In these apps the App store approval processes can hold back the launch of the app or prevent the release of the app. Developers have the ability to impose a download price and app stores will typically handle the payment process (in exchange for a percentage of sales). And because native apps connect with the device’s hardware directly, they have accession to a broad choice of device features like Bluetooth, phonebook contacts, camera roll, NFC, and more. Every time there’s an update to the app, the user has to download the new file and reinstall it. And hence they concur a lot of precious space in the device’s storage.


Web Apps



Web apps are similar to native apps but are accessed through a web browser on the mobile device with an active internet connection. These apps are designed using HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, and other similar programming languages. They can be accessed through a web browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari. Since these are web based apps there is no need to customize to a platform or OS. This also cuts down on development costs. Charging the users to use the mobile web app requires the user to set up their own paywall or subscription-based system. For the users, it may be difficult to find a mobile web app because of the lack of a centralized app store. Another advantage is that there is no need to download, which reduces the take up space on the device. We can update live over the web and don’t need to download the update at the app store. While the disadvantage is that they are wholly dependent on the browser used on the device. So these apps do not work on offline mode. Some examples of web apps are web mail, online auctions and online banking.


Hybrid Apps


Hybrid apps are web apps that look and feel like native apps. They might have a home screen app icon, responsive design, fast performance, even be able to function offline, but they’re really web apps made to look native. Hybrid apps use a mixture of web technologies and native APIs. They’re developed using Ionic, Objective C, Swift, HTML5, and others. They are built much quicker and more economical than a native app. Hybrid apps are easier to launch patches and updates. These apps can operate on different platforms. Hybrid apps are a combination of native and web apps, since it is installed and operated similar to a native app, but has the inner workings of a web app. In these apps the code is written once, which substantially reduces development time and costs compared to native apps, in which they require development for iOS and Andriod. They can work on both online and offline mode. These apps are popular since they allow developers to write code for a mobile app once and still accommodate multiple platforms.

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