What’s The Mobile Application?

In Software terminology, The term Application (or App) is referred to any kind of program which is installed on a digital device. That means, the application must conform with the device hardware specifications. I say digital device cause it covers a wide range from digital cameras to computers & mobiles. Applications installed on PCs & Laptops such as Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Games, Tools and many other, are in this category. Smartphones also have their own operating system which vary by brands. “Symbian” introduced by Nokia and was the most popular operating system for mobiles until the new generations of smartphones with the features such as touch screens, wireless & internet, needed more powerful backbone and that was possible by new OS introduced by giant companies like Apple (iOs), Google (Android) and Microsoft (Windows Mobile). These new generation made the device communication much easier by providing amazing user interfaces and of course as result, many impossibles made possible!

Any operating system comes with proper API & programming language which allows the programmers to build their own tools and applications. App store of your phone brand, is where you can find millions of apps ready to be installed on your phone. Android, IPhone and Nokia, each has their own shops.

What’s The Mobile Site?

Mobile site, is a typical web site which’s been particularly designed for mobile screens. i.e. smaller screen size (and sometimes higher resolutions) and smaller interaction area. A mobile site can be reached by the browser installed on the phone. If you enter your existing web site address into mobile browser, you will see that it tries to zoom out the site until all contents fit in one screen or sometimes it shows the site as normal but you need to scroll to see all parts of the page. Here is where you can find out how much frustrating is for your clients to browse your web sites on their phones.

What Are The Main Differences?

  1. First of all, mobile apps can be run on the operating system which app has designed for. Iphone applications can not be run on an Android device and vice versa. While that can be a negative point about apps, but giving this guarantee that application complies with your device configuration is a peace of mind that every thing will be rendered as expected.
  2. Your mobile must be internet-ready to be able to load a site while the app can be run in offline mode without internet! Basically, applications save the data they require, on the phone storage unless they need to sync the data with an external data storage.
  3. By default, mobile apps have full access to your phone including any personal information such as contacts but because mobile site sits on another server than your mobile, there is no default access to your local storage ( it is still possible by some phishing scripts).
  4. Mobile site can be viewed across all devices, regardless of its model or OS (let’s assume that it is internet-ready) but apps cannot!.

Which One Is Better?

It all depends on your strategy and how you want to present your brand on mobile. Here are some factors which give you clear idea of what’s in front of you:

  • Support & Maintenance : Once you built an application for your business, and published into the store there is no way to notify the users who has downloaded the app that there is a newer version of app is available at store unless they have turned on this featured on their phone to regularly check for updates. Most of the people disable this feature as it uses more internet and battery. Also, once you find an issue with the app, fixing, testing and deploying is not an easy process and can be very time consuming over the time.
  • Accessibility & Reach: your site can be easily reached in a second, as long as the phone is connected to internet . Even if user forget the url, it can be searched and found again. But to access an app, it must be first downloaded. Besides, your app must have different versions for each mobile brand (i.e. iphone app, android app, …) but the mobile site can be accessed in any type of browser.
  • Compatibility: to be successful in application world, your app at lease must cover the top 2 popular brands i.e. IPhone & Android which is double cost! and even more cost if you want to support different types of phones like Blackberry.
  • SEO: Millions of downloads of your app, doesn’t affect your online SEO and popularity however any access to your mobile site, increase your ranking in search engine databases.
These are just a few key factors which need to be considered. It is important to think of your goals and the reasons you want to have a mobile presence. if it is for marketing and building your brand, then the mobile web site is the best choice. In other hand if you are providing services which users need to access daily or have huge process and doesn’t require internet at all, then app is the way to go.

 

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Which One Should We Go First: Mobile App or Mobile Site?
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