Native Apps: They're Not Going Anywhere... Not Anytime Soon

In other words, in the "progressive web apps vs native apps" competition PWAs make an alternative, not a replacement for native apps.

For native apps are here to stay and still offer plenty of advantages themselves, too, (while progressive web apps do have their own limitations to consider, as well) for companies and developers not to give them up anytime soon.

And here are just some of the key reasons why they continue to steal the spotlight. Reasons that might help you find your own answer to the “PWA or native app?” question:
 

  1. big brands, already having their own native apps running on their preferred platforms, don't feel the same pressure as low-budgeted companies to switch to PWAs; it's some sort of “inertia-driven stubbornness”
     
  2. app developers with a wide experience with IOS or Android don't feel like replacing their familiar work routines with a PWA-specific one, even if the latter is less complex
     
  3. let's admit it: the web-based app development does come with its own limitations that still need to be addressed 
     

Progressive Web Apps vs Native Apps: 6 Reasons to Go With a Native App

As PWAs exploit some of the native apps' drawbacks, so do the latter turn some of their “rivals'” limitations into their own strong points.

For instance:
 

  • PWAS might be widely adopted thanks to their universal compatibility, hassle-free user experience and short development time, yet they're not capable to interact with the devices that they run on
     
  • native apps can do that; moreover, they're perfectly adapted to leverage a mobile device's smart functionalities
     
  • also, PWAs run in web browsers, which, might turn into a disadvantage: it could slow them down 
     
  • … whereas native apps, being installed on the given devices, first things first, will inevitably load a lot faster; there's no longer a browser intermediating the process 
     

Now, let's dig out other strong reasons for... going native:
 

1. No Ifs and Buts: They're Faster

As previously mentioned: with the web browser acting as an intermediary, progressive web apps can't compete with their native “rivals” in terms of performance.

As opposed to PWAs, native apps are installed on the devices that they run on.

Therefore, not only that their code practically “lives” there, but it's platform-bound. Written with the requirements of that specific mobile operating system in mind.
 

2. They Come With Built-In NFC Support 

The “Near Field Communication” support is vital for certain businesses. So, do consider this native apps' advantage (or this PWAS' shortcoming, depending on how you want to put it) before you give a final answer to your “progressive web apps vs native apps” dilemma.

If it's of critical importance for you that your customers should be able to pay for your services with their phones, then you need to go native. There's no way around this!

PWAS can't yet interact with the NFC chip enabling this type of payment.
 

3. They Provide a Quality Control Guarantee 

All the app stores' “bureaucracy” might be discouraging enough, yet there are good intentions — resulting in a quality guarantee —  behind all those steps to take:

filling out forms, reading specific forums, following strict app development guidelines, waiting for your app's review process to be carried out etc., etc.

Instead of seeing them strictly as... highly restrictive, take them as multiple filters that clear your app of any malicious code.

As for PWAS, just think about it:

The easier it is for anyone to access your app by just visiting the web page hosting it, the easier it is for a hacker, as well, to exploit the vulnerabilities of that connection.
 

4. GEO-fencing: A Superpower Placed in Your Hands

And this is no exaggeration, especially if it's a retail app that you're planning to develop.

Just give it a moment of thought:

GEO-fencing will enable you (your marketing team) to define virtual “boundaries” in the real world; once a customer's mobile device enters or exits that defined area, a push notification gets triggered.

A powerful functionality to ponder on when you're facing a “progressive web apps vs native apps” decision-making challenge. A smart functionality that native apps can easily exploit, while PWAs can't.
 

5. They Can Leverage a Device's “Smart” Capabilities

And this is one of the major advantages of native apps over progressive web apps!

They interact with the mobile devices that they're installed on, meaning that they use their smart features to their full potential. Features such as:
 

  • proximity sensor
  • wave lock: you don't want your users' phone screens to go black right in the middle of a video you've inserted in your app, now do you?
  • ambient light
     

6. They Easily Interact With Other Apps

Take for instance this highly frequent scenario:

A user tries to set up his/her account within your app and he's given the option to enter his Facebook login details

It's the perfect example of native apps interacting with one another. And this is but just one example of inter-app communication that helps users save valuable time.
 

So, What Kind of App Should You Develop After All?

“ The one that best serves your needs.”

So, get them clearly defined first things first:
 

  1. Do you need to develop a basic customer service/retail app? And, moreover, you're both budget and time-limited, as well? Then a progressive web app might just be the perfect fit for your project's needs. 
     
  2. Is it a mobile app exploiting smartphones' advanced functionalities to the fullest that you need to build? Then you should consider opting for a native app: it's fast —  which will definitely impact the overall user experience — it integrates with multiple payment gateways and it harnesses the power of “smart” features (Geo-fencing, NFS, wave lock etc.)
     

Also, when trying to pick your winner in the “progressive web apps vs native apps” contest, consider the expected future advancements, as well:
 

  1. mobile devices will get injected with more and more advanced technologies, tilting the balance in native apps' favor 
     
  2. progressive web apps will continue to be constantly supercharged with new and new functionalities, that go beyond a web browser's standard ones (integration with Bluetooth, with NFC, with smart devices' hardware features)
     

That being said: the choice is yours to make! I've only pointed out the main criteria and the key benefits/limitations for you to weigh and to compare, so you can make a fully informed decision.

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