Progressive Web Apps & Native Apps: Which to Choose?

As the number of mobile phone users increases per day, businesses are moving towards switching their approaches to the digital world. Therefore, there has been a rise in the development of mobile applications which run on different mobile devices and are developed according to the requirements of the users. However, mobile application development costs a pretty penny to the businesses investing in them.

There are basically three approaches a business can choose from to approach the customers using mobile devices: A native application, or a responsive website, or a progressive web application (PWA). While progressive web apps have been introduced later than the other two, native applications and responsive websites are the approaches adopted by the majority of businesses. However, both these approaches hold their own cons, which affect the businesses when they deploy them with the motive of attracting more customers.

While responsive websites fail at providing a better user experience to users, native applications are being preferred more. However, the development of native applications includes many factors that are required to be considered before starting with the development of the application. As the native applications are required to be developed individually for each operating system that your customers are using, (Android or iOS), it costs a pretty penny for getting developed. 

Also, the native applications are required to be downloaded on the devices from App stores (Google Play Store for Android and Apple App Store for iOS), the promotion and marketing of the application are required to be done for letting it reach the customer base you are targeting. Therefore, the process becomes more complex with passing time and progressive web apps are here to the rescue.

Progressive web applications are developed keeping in mind the requirements of users which involve the elimination of downloading requirements. Yes, progressive web applications are built in a way that eliminates the requirement for downloading and tries to provide the exact user experience as the native applications are providing. Also, progressive web applications can access certain features of the device, including the camera, which makes them stand different from websites. 

As the responsibility for running the progressive web applications is on the mobile browsers, it saves the run time of the operating system. Here is a comparison of native applications with these progressive web apps that can give a clear idea of what to choose between these two.


When it comes to cross-platform availability, progressive web apps are available to use on every platform. As they do not run on the operating system, rather mobile web browsers are used for running a progressive web app, developing a single web app is required to get it running on all the mobile devices available. Hence, Progressive mobile applications are available to be used on every platform or operating system the user is using. 

However, when it comes to native applications, these applications run on the operating system a particular device is having, it is necessary to get an application developed which can run on a particular operating system and hence it is required to develop separate application dedicated to each operating system in order to let the users run it thoroughly on every device. Therefore, it increases the development cost as you are required to hire developers and Android developers separately to get your native application developed, which indeed costs high for developing an application. 

Cost of Development

A progressive web application developed once can run on any mobile device supporting or using any operating system. Hence, it costs much less to get developed as only one of these applications is required to be deployed and later can be used on any mobile device supporting any operating system. 

Therefore, when compared to native applications, progressive web applications pose a better chance of developing if businesses have set lower budget limits. You can find the best business model such as twitch business model or any other while crafting the solution for your business. 

While the native applications are platform-dependent and hence are required to be developed for each operating system independently which leaves the businesses in trouble for costing much more than what they have anticipated and also the post-deployment maintenance costs are a brick added to the load on their back. 

Connectivity Requirements

The biggest advantage native applications hold over progressive web apps is that they can even display the content and perform actions without needing an internet connection. Yes, avoiding the applications requiring the internet connection strictly, most native applications save the data in the cache, and the users are enabled to view it and also use the application even when the internet connection is turned off. 

However, progressive web apps have also come far from where they started, and now they are also saving the content when connected to the internet to cache and allowing users to view them but using the functions without an internet connection is not possible. Therefore, progressive web apps strictly insist on having an internet connection while users want to operate them. 

Push Notifications

Push notifications are one of the primary sources which can be used to keep the users engaged with the developed application and keep them updated with the latest news regarding the business. However, native apps are better at delivering push notifications as they make use of the system resources and can notify the users once the notification has been set. 

While progressive web applications were previously not enabled to support this feature, which now has become possible with the latest updates in the technology. However, this service is currently available in only a few noteworthy browsers and is surviving on iOS devices with only Mac Safari supporting it. Therefore, it becomes difficult to implement push notifications for iOS devices.

When native applications provide better interactivity with the device it is being installed upon, progressive web apps hold their own significance by cutting on costs and development time to a great extent. However, it can not be ignored that progressive web applications are the future of mobile app development, and with changing times, there are chances of evolution to it which can lead to better and extended support.

Guest article written by: Gaurav Kanabar, founder of Alphanso Tech. He has specialized in blog writing, article writing, and copyright on different topics like the latest music industry trends, music sharing website benefits, app development, marketing tips, and many more. Besides that, Gaurav loves spending time with nature, reading novels, and playing snooker. Twitter || Linkedin

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