Native & Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): What’s the difference?

27 June 2018


Continuing with our PWA blog series we thought we’d compare the features and functionality of PWAs and Native Apps. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and in this post, we attempt to highlight the differences.
First here’s an overview of each solution …
Native Apps – A native app is a software program that is developed for specific use on a platform or device. Because a native app is built for use on a particular device and its operating system, it has the ability to use device-specific hardware and software.
Progressive Web Apps – PWAs are similar to mobile apps but are delivered via the web. PWAs work and look like native apps because they follow the same app-like format, which offers app-style gestures and navigation. However, unlike native apps, PWAs are developed on web and can work on all devices.
Let’s compare the basics…

App Analytics highlighted the two priorities that today’s mobile app users expect – they want to use their devices’ memory wisely and demand high performance. PWAs seem to have solved the memory solution as they are web-based so are very small to store. Both solutions have high-performance abilities when optimised. Here’s a snapshot of some of the other major differences…
Snapshot of Native App Advantages

  • Full use of inbuilt operating system features and functionality – Fingerprint scanner, Facial recognition, camera, Bluetooth, telephony features, contact integration, push notifications, etc
  • Native apps get full support from the relevant app stores and marketplaces. Meaning users can easily find and download apps of their choice from these stores.
  • Familiar experience for users when downloading an app

Snapshot of PWA Advantages

  • Cross browser compatibility – One codebase across all devices
  • Functionality easily refreshed — no need to go through the app store approval process to push updates
  • Does not need app store approval or revenue share
  • Discoverability – Content can be found by search engines
  • Large data saving – Smaller file size compared to native
  • Offline functionality
  • Users won’t need to actively download/update anything to access new functionality.
  • Cross-browser compatibility

Continue reading about PWAs here.
If you would like to find out more about our Progressive Web Apps or Native Apps solutions please don’t hesitate to contact us.