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The future of native mobile apps themselves is hard to predict. Because devices are constantly advancing and offers are constantly changing it is hard to know what will happen with future phones and what features app developers will create for them. However, the biggest deciding factor will be the amount of attention those smartphone manufacturers will put on those apps. Although some may say that they don’t need to develop apps for their phones, those who do so will be able to sell more.
Let’s first by looking at what native mobile apps are and compare them to progressive web apps.
What’s a Native Mobile App?
Native mobile apps are the native interface to an Android, iOS, or Windows app. They come with the app installation package and can be written in Objective-C, Java, or Swift. These apps are also interpreted in a Native Development Kit (NDK) and run directly on a device’s operating system without touching a web browser.
Why would I want one?
They’re fast and easy to update when embedded into an existing website or application. App features can be included easily in one location instead of copying and pasting them into each website that utilizes it. They’re also more secure than websites since your data is never uploaded to a server where hackers can steal it.
Where do I get one?
There are currently two most popular app stores for mobile applications open to the public: Google Play and Apple’s App Store and others.
Benefits of native app development
As mentioned previously, native app development looks more like a project of the past, while progressive web apps are future projects.
Native apps are optimized for speed, ease of use, and security while progressive web apps are optimized for performance, interactivity, and easy updating.
Hardware and network access
Native apps use hardware acceleration and network communication to make web pages as fast as possible. No such acceleration exists in the mobile web. As a result, static HTML web pages cannot be as responsive as native apps. This is especially true when loading large images and videos, which often take over 100ms to load on a mobile device.
Native mobile apps are more secure because they run on the device instead of on a web server. They contain offline storage so if users are traveling they’ll have access to their files even if there is no internet connection. If the phone is stolen, it can be remotely disabled so no one can use it. A “kill switch” can also be activated if your device is lost or stolen which erases all its data and disables any service that was provided by your company.
Disadvantages of native Apps
Higher cost of development
One is that it can be overwhelming. The cost of hiring a developer or company to build one for you can be very high. If you don’t know anything about it, it’s best to learn as much as you can before hiring anyone to develop one for your company.
Depending on the complexity of features, the cost may be expended quickly without a return on investment. Native app development will ultimately not be as profitable as a web app because there is a great deal more time invested in it. Also, you’ll have to purchase a separate development kit for each operating system from which your app is being developed from which you’d have to purchase the same developer account if you want to release them under different company names.
Manual upload of the app
Making changes after an app has been launched requires updating the APK file then re-uploading it to the store which takes time. You must also have enough time to test an app’s performance before releasing it, so it should be tested on all different types of devices with different configurations before release.
App thrive best in official app stores
The other disadvantage is the lack of an app store for your business. If you’re not part of someone else’s app store, then you can’t get your app in the front page like you would with other types of applications that are considered “web apps.” While having an official store works well since there is a lot taken care off by default – such as standardisation, sometimes, this might be a disadvantage for your company depending on what you would like to do.
Relatively harder to develop
Native mobile development also takes a relatively longer time to develop. It can take months or even years to put together a single application that’s functional and will work the way you want it.
What’s a Progressive Web App?
Benefits of progressive web apps
They are Fast
A native mobile app will be faster than using a website to display the same content. This is because the browser will be interpreted instead of running on your computer’s operating system as an app does.
Can run on multiple devices at once
The second benefit is that they require less CPU, memory, or storage than websites do, so an app can run on more devices at once. Finally, they are developed to run on any browser.
Responsive to most/all screen sizes
The last benefit is that native apps are usually designed with a responsive design for all devices, so they are responsive across the board.
Have offline capabilities
Most native apps also include the ability to function offline, so users can check their schedule or view other information even when no data connection is available.
Easy to update
Since these apps are served by a server, they can be updated automatically without making a trip to a store or click updates. They also work offline and any stored data is stored securely on your device – not on a server – so there’s no chance of hacking.
Easy to install
They can be updated from the server without needing to go through the store, and you can even download them from a website without installing anything. Since there is no need to be installed from a store, you don’t even need an app package file (.apk). This format is becoming increasingly popular since there are no fees associated with it.
You don’t need any additional software or plugins to install, but you need the app manifest file that tells your browser that this is an app and how it should be run on a mobile device. Keep in mind that you will need a website in order to get a PWA since none of these files actually exist on their own.
What is the future of native mobile apps?
The future of native mobile apps looks to be automated. The advent of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation are changing the way software is produced.
Artificial intelligence will allow machines to handle all the repetitive tasks involved in running mobile phone software. This could lead to a “future without apps” because the amount of time one has to spend running mobile phone software may diminish significantly. However, this would also mean that app makers would have less control over their product if they didn’t build it themselves. This will be a significant change for both consumers and corporations alike. In an age where Facebook posts their earnings in seconds at a shareholder meeting, automated software is growing more and more popular.
Read this interesting article on ways to ensure your website is effective.