Monday, May 16, 2022

Mobile Apps vs. the Mobile Web – Which is More Popular?

mobile phone

Credit: Pexels.

*The rise of smartphones over the past decade has led to a world that is now more connected than ever – and indeed, how many of us live our everyday lives.

By 2020, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach 2.87 billion, up from 1.57 billion in 2014 – with 37% of the world’s population set to own such a device. That figure is even more staggering when you consider the fact that less than 300 million smartphones were sold in 2010 around the world.

Consequently, smartphones have led to a paradigm shift of the way in which web and software developers cater their products to the end user, with dedicated mobile apps and responsive, mobile-friendly websites being two of the most popular options in recent years. But what are the fundamental differences between the two, and which is more popular? Today, we’re taking a closer look at each, and considering which looks likely to emerge triumphant.

What is the Mobile Web?

Unlike dedicated mobile apps, many websites and web applications can be accessed via a smartphone’s browser, with no need for the user to download them onto their device. The mobile web has a number of advantages over mobile apps: not least, the sheer number of websites available (which reached one billion in 2014), with web standards ensuring that, in theory, the same content is displayed across all users’ devices, regardless of operating system or browser. These same standards, though, ultimately limit the technical power of the mobile web, with content creators having to create their applications in web-based programming and markup languages in order to ensure parity for all users.

mobile phone1

Credit: Pexels.

In recent years, responsive website design has become popular with website creators, which ensures that websites natively adapt to the device and screen they’re being viewed on. It’s not only entertainment sites such as EURweb that use mobile-friendly designs; for instance, online gaming hubs such as FOG and bgo online casino both feature responsive designs – the latter offering its suite of browser-based casino and video slot titles such as Starburst and Fluffy Too to users across desktop and mobile and the former featuring a number of casual gaming titles such as Crossy Temple and Farm Day. Coinfalls Phone Casino and Vegas Mobile Casinos, meanwhile, are smartphone-dedicated iGaming hubs.

What are Mobile Apps?

On the other hand, mobile applications, or apps, are platform-specific software that users download via their smartphone’s associated app store. For iOS users, this means downloading their programs from Apple’s App Store, while Android users have the Google Play Store or third-party storefronts. Unlike the mobile web, each mobile app is dedicated to one specific purpose, such as a productivity tool, playing a game, watching videos or editing photos. According to research, 30 million apps are expected to be downloaded from the App Store in 2017, 114 million from the Play Store and 51 million from third-party Android stores.

mobile phone2

Credit: Pexels.

With each mobile application being installed “client-side” (on the user’s phone), this generally means that software developers have the luxury of being able to develop more sophisticated apps that take full advantage of each smartphone’s hardware capabilities. Rather than using web-based languages, apps on the iOS App Store are coded in Objective-C, while Android apps generally use Java. Last year, the top free apps on the App Store included a mix of social media, entertainment and gaming titles: Snapchat, Facebook, Pokémon Go, Spotify and YouTube.

Head-to-Head

With regards to the debate over which is more popular, research compiled by Business Insider suggests that users may be starting to turn away from mobile websites towards dedicated mobile apps. While between 2013 and 2015, Americans’ mobile phone usage shot up from an average of two hours 38 minutes per day to three hours 40 minutes, the ratio for the usage of dedicated apps compared to the mobile web increased from 80%:20% to 90%:10%, respectively.

This trend is further highlighted in the fact that many websites have now started to supplement their existing offering with mobile-enhanced dedicated apps; the aforementioned Facebook, YouTube and bgo all being examples of companies to provide mobile applications alongside their mobile-friendly websites. While the mobile web is still far from dead, it may have to adapt even further to ensure it doesn’t fall further behind dedicated apps.

 

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