PWA vs Native App Development: Benefits for Users

It’s been more than ten years since the App Store was released, changing the distribution of mobile software, and establishing a mobile application market. Since then, the line between web and native app development gets blurred day by day. Native apps have become increasingly accessible to the masses due to frameworks like Flutter, React Native, and Cordova that have taken them to the next level. In its turn, web app development regularly gets feature and performance updates that make it more efficient. Each of the solutions has its strengths and weaknesses.

With the prevalence of app stores and rising reliance on mobile devices, many people start believing that Progressive Web Apps are the future of mobile app development. Indeed, there is a high possibility that PWAs will someday completely replace native apps, offering an ideal combination of websites and native applications. However, specialists do not see this coming in the nearest years. So should one develop a native app or a progressive web app? In this article, we will try to figure this out to help you make a final choice. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!


What are PWAs?

PWAs stand for Progressive Web Applications. This type of apps uses features similar to a mobile application while remaining accessible via a browser, and providing the web-like experience. We have already discussed them in detail in one of our previous postings. PWAs deploy advanced features to an existing site or web application, improving its functionality.

Pros of PWA development

  • Better user experience that is available within one-click distance 
  • Better customer retention
  • With no intermediaries and app stores involved, PWAs are more easy and quick to install/access 
  • High performance and the use of service workers
  • Lower cost and reduced development time compared to native app development as building a PWA is very similar to creating a standard web app
  • PWA code can be used for multiple platforms

Cons of PWA development

  • PWAs require too many memory resources due to the use of cache for memory storage
  • PWA loading speed is determined by the speed of a browser
  • Relatively higher security risks. If you need a high-security application, it is better to go with native app development

How are PWAs different from a regular site? 

As opposed to a standard website, a PWA is able to cache all the accessible elements that allow it to be viewed offline. PWAs work even if the internet is down while providing a native-like interface, and supporting native features like push notifications.


What are Native Apps?

Native applications directly use device OS roots. This type of apps is designed for specific platforms like Android or iOS. For this reason, native apps have been the only way to go for the previous ten years, utilizing the capabilities and resources of the intended platforms/devices to the fullest potential.

Pros of Native App Development

  • Access to a powerful distribution platform
  • High security. Native apps are a perfect choice if you need to handle sensitive customer data 
  • Offline functionality
  • Great user experience and interface. This type of apps can make the most out of the device by creating a smooth user interface and enjoyable user experience.

Cons of Native App Development

  • Complex bug fixing process 
  • More complex quality control and distribution-related issues
  • Higher cost and increased development time as native apps need different versions of UI to suit multiple platforms.


How to Choose App for Your Business?

First of all, you should clearly define the purpose of the app before creating it. A native solution is best when you need versatile features and seamless UX that PWAs are simply incapable of offering. So if you plan on building a device-reliant and resource-hungry apps like AR/VR, high-security application for finance and banking, or game-like application, it is best to go with native app development. At the same time, if usability matters more for you than advanced functionality, or when you need to deliver simple services, PWAs are a perfect choice. In this case, you do not need to invest a fortune in a more expensive native application.

Key Takeaways

We have underlined the main benefits and drawbacks of native applications vs. PWAs. Definitely, just as any new product on the market, PWAs can retain more customers and improve your marketing approach. Nonetheless, native apps can still bring you numerous advantages. So will progressive web apps replace native applications? Well, maybe partially but with some limitations. Are PWAs the future of the Web? Most likely, they are. But before making a final choice between these two types of apps, you should first determine what functionality you’d like to have and clearly define your strategy. Or you may go with a combination of both types if it seems optimal for your business goals. If you want to learn more about the possibilities, or if you still have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out with us! Cheers!