Time to market
If your business is up against it with a tight deadline, a PWA is the way to go. As you don’t need a separate, dedicated team to launch on iOS and Android devices, and you don’t have to contend with mandatory approval processes from each individual app store, there’s much less work involved to get your product to market.
It’s best to think of a PWA as an extension of your existing website; the groundwork has already been done for you.
As PWAs require less work and time to get to market than native apps, you’ve probably guessed that they’re cheaper to develop.
Unlike native apps, PWAs don’t require your team to learn the language of and build a specific application for each platform, meaning they’re far cheaper to build in the long run.
But it isn’t only the initial outlay that proves more expensive; there’s also a higher cost associated with the maintenance and updates for native apps – whereas a single codebase can be used for multiple platforms with PWAs, so naturally it’s quicker to build and update one. Rather than developing an app from scratch, you can configure your existing website with the help of tools like Google Lighthouse, and it will display in an identical manner on all devices.
The whole purpose of developing a mobile app is so that your business can reach a larger audience. There’s a strong possibility that there will be a fairly even split of iOS and Android among your audience, so launching a native app for a single platform isn’t the best option. The beauty of a progressive web app is that they’re designed to be responsive and readily available to all users, irrespective of what platform they’re on.
In the world of mobile apps, performance is everything. If the user experience is blighted by poor performance, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of alternatives for users to download instead.
Generally speaking, native apps perform a lot faster because the code is written specifically for each platform, whereas PWAs run directly from a mobile browser. Native apps also enable users the ability to access information offline, as opposed to PWAs which enable this where possible using cached data.
The ability to sync with other device applications, such as camera, calendar, contacts, GPS and mobile banking is another advantage native apps have over PWAs.
One of the main differences between a progressive web app and native app is how end users access them. PWAs are accessed by inserting a URL in a mobile browser, so they don’t have to comply with strict regulations set out by app stores, but users may be less familiar with the process.
In contrast, native apps are installed directly from a platform’s app store, such as Google Play or Apple’s iOS App Store, and can be accessed from the app’s icon on the user’s home screen at any time.
Now more than ever, mobile app users are clued up on how their data is handled and how it can be abused. On face value, PWAs offer a more secure platform because they have to run under HTTPS, with security protocols that reassure users that their bank details or login information won’t be compromised.
However, in reality, a native app affords users far more protection because of the option to build in extra security measures. Multi-factor authentication can be used alongside an app’s login process to make it more secure. This means that users may be more likely to trust a native app over a PWA because apps need to comply with stringent security regulations set out by individual app stores.
Storage, data and battery life
When it comes to storage, data and battery life, both progressive mobile apps and native apps can have an impact on a device’s operating power. Ultimately, it comes down to how well coded an app is, how frequently the user uses it, and how many other resources the app needs access to in order to function at full capacity.