Native vs Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): Who is Winning?

by Klaus on June 20, 2018

in Articles


In the today’s world, mobile applications are one of the most effective tools for digital marketing. The mobile applications are used to promote business, increase traffic on a website and increase user experience. That’s why today we find many app development companies in the market.
Coming to the app development, there are two types of apps which developers can choose from. These two types of apps are:

  • Native Apps
  • Progressive Web Apps

Most of us do not have the correct knowledge about the apps. Hence, we remain confused between these two names. This article deals with the comparison between these two above listed apps. Here, we will discuss the pros and cons of these two apps. After reading the article, you will be able to choose which app is best suited for your business.

Native Apps

Native apps are those mobile applications that are developed to run on a single mobile platform. Android apps, iOS apps, and Windows apps are some of these mobile platforms. These mobile applications are downloaded and installed on phone from the store. Such stores include Google Play Store, App Store, and Windows Store.

If we talk about the programming language used to develop the Native apps, Native apps are written in the programming languages that an operating system supports. Some examples of the programming languages for Native apps are given below:

  • For iOS apps: Swift or Objective C programming language is used.
  • JAVA programming language is used to develop Android apps.
  • C# is used to develop Windows applications.

Pros of Native apps

Native apps are fast

Native apps use device’s own machinery to run. That’s why Native apps perform much fast.

NFC Support

Native apps support NFC. NFC stands for Native Field Communication. It is a protocol which a device uses at the time of online payment. Mobile payments make the things simple and enhance the user experience. On the other hand, PWA apps do not have such feature of NFC support.

Native apps can interact with other apps on the device

Native apps come with a feature that makes them interact with the other apps. For example, if you download a certain application on your device which requires a login ID and password. You have two options. You can either create a new account or login with your existing account.

If you select login with an existing account feature, it lets you log in either with your google account or facebook account. In this way, Native apps can interact with other apps on your mobile phone. This feature of Native apps saves a lot of time. On the other hand, PWAs lack this important feature.

Push Notifications

Native apps come with push notification feature. The push notifications are the types of alert messages that update users about any information. Let’s take a weather app to understand this useful feature. Weather app will alert the users in case of extreme weather conditions. All such alerts are sent via these push notifications.

Native apps provide full functionality to the users

The Native apps work on the device’s operating system. Hence, users can make use of all the features of Native apps.

Native apps easily integrate

As you download and install the Native apps on your device, they become the part of your device. This property of behaving like the phone’s own app makes the Native app easy to integrate.

Native apps provide safety and security

Since Native apps need approval from the Google Play Store or App Store before being uploaded. Hence, they are completely secure to download and use.

Cons of Native apps

Native apps are expensive

The development cost of Native apps is expensive. If you are a startup firm and want to develop an app for the promotion of your business, it is necessary that the app is of good quality and is developed by one of the top app developers. For this, you have to pay more to the developers.

Native apps are OS specific

Native apps are developed for a specific operating system. For example, Android apps, iOS apps, Windows mobile apps. The apps developed for one platform cannot run on the other platform.

Native apps take a lot of time to build

The time consumption during development is one more disadvantage of Native apps. The reason behind this fact is the low-level programming used to develop the app. Well, this is not the case in Progressive Web Apps as they have an automated development process.

Difficult to gain popularity

Today there are a lot of Native apps on the Google Play Store and App Store. Hence, gaining the customers’ attraction towards a newly developed app is quite difficult.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

The Progressive Web Apps are generally called as PWAs. These are actually the web applications that use the web capabilities to deliver the app like experience to the users. The programming language used to develop PWA apps is HTML.
Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps.

Pros of PWAs

Low development cost

The entire cost of developing, launching, and, marketing the PWA is less as compared to that of the Native apps. This low cost of PWA apps makes them the favourite of most of the large firms.

Lightweight Applications

As compared to the Native apps, the Progressive Web Applications require less space on the device. This feature PWA for the customers having less limited space on their device.

One app for all OS

Unlike Native apps, PWAs are compatible with multiple operating systems. However, such Native apps can also be developed, but the process is more time taking and requires more capital.

PWAs are easy to update

Since the PWAs are simply web pages, these apps require a refresh in order to update.

No approval is required

Unlike the Native apps, PWA apps do not require developers to submit their apps for approval at App Store. This is an added advantage to the Progressive Web Apps.

Cons of Progressive Web Apps

Do not communicate with other mobile applications

The Native apps can communicate with the other mobile applications. This feature is not provided in the PWAs.

PWAs can be expensive

PWA apps can be expensive if they are made to support multiple web browsers. This is because of the increase in the cost of development and maintenance.

PWA apps are supported on limited web browsers

The PWA apps do not support all web browsers. However, the latest PWA apps support some of the web browsers like Samsung’s Internet Browser, Chrome, etc. But the apps that support Internet Explorer, Safari, Edge and many other custom browsers are yet to be developed.

The absence of download store

Unlike the Native apps which are available in multiple stores like Google Play Store, Apple Store, Windows Store, etc. There is no store available for the Progressive Web Applications.

Closing words

Every coin has two faces. Similarly, both of these apps have their own pros and cons. Users can select any of these apps as per their requirements. If your requirements fit best with PWA, go for it otherwise you can choose the Native apps.

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