Mobile Applications are going to be the next big wave in software. They improve consumer connectability, and enhance their ability to interact with a business. Getting in on the ground floor is a goal to set your eye on. Although, just charging in to stake out your mobile territory, could prove to be harmful if not done correctly. It is equally important to spend enough time in pre-production, and determine exactly what you need, instead of rushing to be the first out of your competition to have a shiny new app.
Mobile App Development: The Importance Of Native Apps Versus Mobile Web Application Development
This topic has already been broached in detail, but generally native applications are what most of us recognize as apps. They are the iPhone apps, that involve a digital downloadable, auto-installing, and self contained software. A mobile web application is very similar, it just runs uses the internet as its foundation. The type of app that you should look into will depend greatly on your budget, desired use, how quickly you need it, and whether you need the app to be online or offline. The answers to these questions will tend to show you which side of the spectrum your app will land.
Native applications have been hogging the spot light for some time; meaning many businesses might think they are the better fit. However, some businesses have found that mobile web applications are great alternatives. The major reason being that native applications have longer development times, are specific to one platform, and once designed, fixed. Meaning that future changes will be more difficult to implement. All of these aspects normally translates into a higher development cost.
On the other hand mobile web applications can perform most of the functions of a native. Even despite the fact that they require the internet to work, web apps have shorter development times, are very flexible, and you don’t have to design a different application for each platform out there. These benefits normally translate into lower development costs, and since development times are shorter you can get your app to market faster.
By finding out which style of application will work with your business will be the first vital step. Since each style of application has their own benefits and downfalls picking the one that will provide the highest benefit to your business will ensure that the final product can bring a high degree of utility to your business. This is where pre-production and talking to a developer is important. the time spent thinking will help to avoid the pitfalls of creating a costly and useless application.
Edit (07/09/2011): Part II can be found here.