Mobile apps are big. The explosion in their use of recent years has seen business scrambling to keep up: the more your customers want to be able to access the companies important to them online, the more you’re going to need to invest in app development.
The problem is that many businesses simply don’t have these skillsets in-house. They’re aware that their customers expect an app, but don’t know the difference between a mobile or a web app – and when you introduce the hybrid app, things start to get really murky.
The good news is that we’re here to help – and so are hybrid apps. These are so-called because they fuse the best bits of mobile and web apps into a single entity. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.
Traditionally, a web app is a tool – for example, your webmail interface – that the user accesses through their web browser (Chrome, for example). On the other hand, a mobile app is a standalone piece of software you can open on your phone or tablet to access its functions.
A hybrid app looks and feels like a mobile application – it has its own icon, and you tap it to enter a specific environment capable of undertaking certain tasks. But, unbeknownst to the user and to put things very simply, it uses a sort of web browser window – often branded and unrecognisable to the person using it – to call up and display its data and functions.
Why bother? Because in some ways hybrid apps square a circle: web apps are clumsy because you have to fire up a browser window and log in to a special website; mobile apps are tricky because you have to build a different one for every mobile device. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, have the ease of access of a mobile app – just tap that icon! – but the cross-platform compatibility of a web app.
All mobile devices use similar web browsing technology. That means that your hybrid app can in theory work very well on every platform without being redesigned for every conceivable mobile operating system.
Likewise, because hybrid apps utilise web browsers, a web developer is just as able to build a hybrid app as a web app – meaning you can transfer expertise from one project to another, rather than invest in whole new skill-sets. This can make them a lot more cost-effective than native apps.
Hybrid apps can also boast improved functionality: from the user end, they tend to be more efficient – that is, faster – when downloading large files, for example; and from your side, they can be very easy and hassle-free to maintain.
As with any business decision, there are negatives to consider: some believe hybrid apps have too much variation in performance across different platforms, for example. But hybrid is overtaking native in the app marketplace – so you need to consider it as an approach. But don’t worry: we’re here to help you pick through the long grass here. Give us a call to talk apps with us – it’s our favourite thing to do!
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We provide mobile app design and development for all project requirements, both consumer and business apps. If you’re in need of a mobile app or just have an idea for a project you wish to discuss, please contact us to arrange a consultancy.