Mobile technology has taken the world by storm over the past ten years. Recent studies by the Pew Research Center showed that over the previous five years, the number of people utilizing smartphone technologies has more than doubled. More than one-third of those people go online primarily using their cell phones.
Mobile app technology is a rapidly expanding industry. In order to soak up a bit more knowledge concerning mobile app technology and development, take a look at a quick breakdown of the three different types of mobile applications utilized by developers.
Native applications are somewhat as they sound. They exist on the hard storage of the user’s mobile device. These apps are the type of applications people download from the big-name app stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
Native apps are specifically developed to work with one particular device platform and utilize model specific technology and functions. They can typically access the cell phone’s camera, GPS, accelerometer, compass, contacts, and so much more (with permission, of course).
Native applications are the most common type of mobile app, and they are usually able to utilize the device’s mobile notification system for updates and gameplay milestones. They are also able to be used when the mobile phone is offline.
Mobile applications, in the sense of what type of app we are working with, are web-based. Web-based apps are not really full applications; they are websites in disguise. They look and feel like native apps, but they do not work the same way at all. Mobile apps are powered by a web browser and traditionally written in HTML5 coding.
Accessing web-based applications is similar to just going to a specific URL. Users then have the option to “install” these apps onto their homepage by bookmarking the page. Mobile apps were developed when HTML5 was released, and coding nerds figured out that they can mimic native app functionality through a browser.
Developers love messing around with platforms and codes, so it is only right that there is such thing as Hybrid apps. Hybrids are just as they sound; a mixture of native app technology and mobile tech. These applications are similar to native apps because they live on the hard storage of a given device.
Similar to web-based applications, hybrids rely on HTML coding, but the cherry on top is that they have a browser embedded within the app. It is standard practice for companies to build a hybrid app to funnel traffic into a newly developed website. Tools like PhoneGap and Sencha Touch give developers the ability to design platform-crossing code, utilizing the power of HTML coding.