Skip to main content

Chances are pretty good that you are reading this blog from your smartphone, since the smartphone is by far the number one device among users. Websites, apps, social media, we do all kinds of things with them, through all kinds of different apps.

Want to develop a mobile application? Then you need to be clear what the purpose of the app is, who the users are and what platform they are on. You also need to choose the type of application you want to develop.

Want to develop an app specifically for a platform, such as Android or iOS? Then a native app is the way to go. Do you also want a website alongside your mobile app, and at the same time a smooth app for both Android and iOS? Then a Progressive Web App (PWA) might be a better solution.

Either way, the choice of application type is an important one. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the key differences between PWAs and native apps so you can make an informed decision for your new app.

What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?

Let’s start by defining what a Progressive Web App (PWA) is. A PWA is basically a website designed to also function as a mobile app. You can easily add these apps to your home screen as you are used to with other apps.
Progressive Web Apps do not require you to download them separately first. So you can use them quickly and easily. This also means that you don’t have to waste storage space and don’t have to rely on app stores to distribute your app.

Photo of kristine, robert and reinoud at the Brthrs office. While drawing on a whiteboard

Don’t have an Internet connection for a while? Then you can just use a Progressive Web App. In fact, a PWA loads all the data on the first request, allowing you to use the app offline as well. Once the app loads, it also feels very fast. After all, since everything is already loaded, there is no need to do this again.

What is a native app?

Native Apps are developed specifically for a particular platform, such as iOS or Android. As a user, you have to download a native app from an app store and install it on a device before you can use it. This means depending on app stores for app distribution and taking up space on the user’s device.
In contrast, native apps often offer a richer user experience. After all, they are designed specifically for one platform and therefore have access to all of the device’s functions and sensors, such as the camera or GPS.

Now that you know what PWAs and native apps are, it’s time to look at the main differences between the two.

Another way of developing

One of the main differences between Progressive Web Apps and native apps is the way they are developed. Progressive Web Apps are developed using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

In contrast, native apps are developed using platform-specific programming languages such as Swift for iOS or Kotlin for Android. This means that native apps are generally more powerful and provide a smooth user experience, but are also more expensive and time-consuming to develop and maintain.

Photo of Reinoud and Romana at work in the Brthrs office

Progressive Web Apps are cheaper and do not require users to update

Developing a Progressive Web App is generally cheaper than developing a native app. Simply because it takes less time to develop. Moreover, with a Progressive Web App, you have a website and application in one. So if you want to have both developed, you save time by choosing a PWA.

Because a Progressive Web App is a web page, you as a user do not have to update it as is the case with native apps. As a result, users always have an app that is up-to-date, without requiring additional storage on the device.

With a Progressive Web App, you can go live faster

Want to go live with the app quickly? Then a Progressive Web App may be a good option. In fact, a PWA does not require you to sign up with an app store first.

Want to appeal to international users for your app? Even then, a Progressive Web App can be a good option. Again, because you don’t rely on app store approval and make the app available directly from your web environment.

Native apps offer a richer user experience with more speed

Native apps can use all the features and functionality of your device, such as the camera and GPS. This means they often provide a fluid user experience. Progressive Web Apps are built with website programming languages and therefore do not always have access to all the features of a mobile device.

A Progressive Web App can sometimes be slow because they depend on the Internet connection and performance of the Web browser. In contrast, native apps tend to be faster because they run directly on the device and do not rely on an Internet connection.

brthrs' office in utrecht

What you want to achieve with your app will determine your choice

With a Progressive Web App, you create an app-like experience on the Web. This has several advantages such as rapid availability on different platforms without updates. Native apps, on the other hand, have access to all the features of the device, making them more powerful apps with a better user experience.

So whether to develop a Progressive Web App or native app depends heavily on what users need to be able to do on the app. What functionalities are important? Which users do you want to reach and how do you want to distribute the app?

Does it involve a web shop? Then the choice of a PWA might make more sense. Do GPS or the camera have an important function in the app? Then it may be better to opt for a native app. In addition, time and your budget are also important criteria when choosing a PWA or native app.

Need a Progressive Web App or native app developed?

At Brthrs, we are happy to help! Want to learn more about the possibilities of a Progressive Web App or native app, and which variant best suits your needs? If so, feel free to contact us or stop by the office and we’ll look at the possibilities with you.

Leave a Reply

Skip to content