The global apps debate got another dimension as Google proposed progressive web apps as the next big thing in 2015.
However, most people building apps today still prefer native apps, for several reasons, mostly because it’s what people actually use.
Friction, friction friction
A big question in the app-building discussion, is about the app install friction. In other words how many clicks there are from finding the app in the app store – to becoming an active user.
Briux believes the friction is the same in both PWA’s and native apps:
What’s the difference of the friction generated by the app store, compared with downloading a web app to your home screen?
Zanardi believes progressive web apps is much more frictionless because the device itself promotes the use of PWA’s:
There is much less friction in installing a progressive web app because the device your using is actually wanting you to install it. Compared to going to the app store, installing an app that takes up tons of space, and needs an update every two weeks.
Sospedra turns to the metrics:
The numbers tell us a story when 86 percent of the media being consumed on mobile phones are through native apps and only 10 percent of the total time spent on smartphones are used in browsers. PWA’s are still the new kid on the block, so maybe in five years we can talk again?
The evil app store?
In one of the last question rounds, the app defenders had to reveal their answer about app stores — good or evil?
Miro says that if you get rejected it’s an evil thing and continues:
Android is pretty easy, just push and you’re in. With iOS however, to wait for someone from the other side of the world to test your app, that’s a black box for developers and nobody likes black boxes.
Codeworks CEO Zanardi points to that the app store or Apple, is the biggest preventer for making PWA’s really big:
The biggest problem PWA’s have at the moment is that Apple’s Safari doesn’t support service workers and that kills a lot of the purpose of the app. Firefox and Chrome are embracing PWA’s. As long as Apple is making tons of money from the app store we’ll have a real challenge.
What does your startup need?
Former Wuaki CTO Miro says choice of app to build all boils down to what kind of business you’re building:
If you asked me four months ago, hybrid apps were not the way because we couldn’t build what the business needed in Wuaki. But today for what I’m building, we’re looking for speed, something that’s tested and reliable and we wanted access to Canvas or WebGL, so hybrid is the way for us today.
Sospedra agrees with Miro, saying that your business goals need to be clear before deciding what kind of app you’re building. He’s also adding that what kind of technology your team is comfortable with is important as well:
As progressive web apps might be the bet for the future, Zanardi wanted to end the discussion with a statement:
I completely agree with these guys that if you’re building an app today to work on iOS and Android I would go native. The main problem you would have with PWA’s is with the iOS. If you’re targeting mostly Android devices you might go for a PWA. As long as Apple is blocking the spreading of PWA’s we’ll have an issue we need to solve.
There was a lot of other interesting points in the full debate, so check out the video at the top!