2017 Debate Continues: Web apps vs. Native Apps
January 12, 2017
Author: Erwin Lee

We are often approached by inventors, organizations, and entrepreneurs if we build native mobile apps. The short answer is no, we do not but with good reason. Aside from focusing on our core capabilities, we simply don’t like the unsustainable working model of native apps. We still see that it has a lot of growing pains of time and cost for our market audience to adopt.

The middle ground we propose is to develop a web-based mobile application instead. The drawback is the integration to the actual phone itself would be limited compared to a native app. But there’s great news as it appears the tech gods have listened! Google will be launching 'Progressive Web Apps' (PWA) that will allow web apps to almost fully integrate into Android phones through its next Chrome browser update. This means no more apps to download.

(Source: Google Developers, Getting Started with Progressive Web Apps - 2016. https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2015/12/getting-started-pwa)

Google achieves this by using 'service workers' to cache key assets on a user's device so that a web app can load faster, even if network strength is poor. The web app will also feel more like a natural app on the device, with an engaging user experience.

While this in app browser operation is not new for iPhone users, it is a big deal for Android phones as this is where the trend of growth has reached a peak and now maturity consolidation sets in. A single application will run multiple tasks and serve information. Google’s Progressive Web App will empower technology firms like Hubnest to build cool experiences for users. PWA will be rolling out in the next couple of weeks, starting with the beta version of Chrome 57.

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