The Quick and Easy App Guide for Businesses

Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Business Technology, Marketing, Mobile [ 0 Comments ]

mobile devicesIn the ever-changing tech world, the smartphone and the tablet have emerged as must-have devices. Therefore, they have also emerged as the must-target platforms for marketing and information dissemination. The last decade taught us that a business without a website is dead in the water; this current decade is teaching us that apps are necessary to reach the new mobile consumer. Comprehensive apps will probably require the expertise of a software outsourcing company in order to be polished and intuitive, but their value is unmatched when it comes to connecting with consumers. Knowing which kind of app is best for your business is the first step to success in the mobile world and knowing the difference between mobile apps and native apps, will also help you understand how they might be useful for your business.

Native Apps

These are the apps that you can attain through your phone’s specialized app stores (Google Play, iTunes App Store, etc.), so they’re easy to find. They download onto your device and essentially bond with it so that it can use your phone or tablet’s functions like GPS, camera, etc. Because they’re specially designed for your kind of device, these apps can be monstrously powerful, fast, and customizable. They do have drawbacks, however. Because they’re designed specifically for a particular operating system, they need multiple versions for multiple operating systems- you either have to spring for the development of these multiple versions or bank on one operating system that you hope your market base is using more often. Businesses that have an emphasis on social media may lean towards native apps, as will those with a stable database of information (store locations, contacts) that doesn’t need much upkeep.

Related: Mobile Website vs. Mobile App: Do You Need Both?

Mobile apps are a little more flexible than their native brethren. For one thing, they can be used across multiple operating systems, unbothered by the differences between Apple or Microsoft devices. They’re pretty fast, as well, though they have the glaring limitation of needing internet access to function. So far, mobile apps have proven to be cheaper to develop than native, which means that smaller businesses are far more likely to utilize them. They’re also much easier to update, meaning that you can revise your specs and info on a user’s phone via the internet. Native apps require manual updating, which is up to the user and therefore riskier if you’re trying to convey a constant stream of new information (like new inventory). Of course, mobile apps are more immaterial than native because they lack the personalization and power.

Hybrid Apps

Luckily, because we live in the future, the process of hybridizing both kinds of apps is going quickly. It won’t be too long before choosing between mobile and native will be a thing of the past. The current hybrid apps are trying to bridge the gap between mobile and native, addressing the flaws of both. These will likely be useful to a larger selection of companies, particularly because they have the power of a native app with the flexibility of a mobile app.

Web Apps

Now, there are a whole mess of people out there who haven’t yet jumped on board with the whole app thing. Essentially, they don’t tend to download apps to sit on their device desktops. How does one cater to these anti-app folks? You give them an app without it seeming like an app.

Web apps are designed to make websites easier to read on mobile devices. If you visit a normal website on a mobile device’s smaller screen, there’s a lot of scrolling up and down, left and right, to search for a hidden bit of information, unless your site is responsive and that’s a whole other topic. In web apps, you have the ability to place neatly at the top an appropriately sized home screen. Many of the frills you may have added to your actual website will likely be absent to avoid overcrowding the precious screen space. Calling web apps “apps” is a little misleading because they don’t require the same type of intentional download the way the other examples do.

Related: 4 Tips for Developing Business Apps

So there you have it. There are app designs for every business and every user. If you’re looking to have a constantly updated app that is unhindered by different operating systems, mobile app could be the way to go. If you want a more integrated experience for users with a personal touch, native apps are your better option. Hybrid apps are on their way up and web apps are for everybody.

Adam Kinsey is a tech writer and consultant with a serious love of gadgets and software. He has years of experience translating technical information into understandable language for clients and family and writes for software outsourcing company, SilicusYou can find him on Twitter @AdamWKinsey.

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