Mobile websites versus mobile apps – what’s the difference?

One of the first things to consider when establishing a presence for your business on mobile is whether you’ll be developing a mobile app, a mobile website, or both. Both of these are accessible by a smartphone or tablet, so what is the difference?

What is a mobile website?

A mobile website is created the same way as any other website – one or more HTML pages accessed through a browser over the internet. Mobile websites are different in that they are designed specifically for smaller, touch-capable screens. Modern websites tend to be scalable; able to adapt to displays of any size.

What is a mobile app?

A mobile app is a piece of software downloaded and installed onto the mobile device itself. These apps may update and stream content from the internet like mobile websites or they may store information locally, so do not require an internet connection to be used.

What’s the difference?

  • Mobile websites can be accessed through the device’s pre-installed browser, whereas mobile apps need to be downloaded and installed before they can be used.
  • Any device with a browser can access a mobile website, regardless of the operating system or its version. Mobile apps need to be kept up-to-date and must be compatible with the mobile device’s operating system.
  • Updates or edits to a mobile website are visible immediately to those accessing the site. In order to update a mobile app, updates need to be pushed out to users, who then have to allow the update to be installed.
  • Mobile websites are cheaper and easier to set up than mobile apps. This is especially true if you are looking to have a presence on both Android and iOS. A mobile app would need to be compatible with both operating systems, and would need to be approved in both app stores.
  • For games, especially highly interactive, technically demanding ones, mobile apps can provide a much better user experience.
  • If certain functions are required, like access to the device’s camera or microphone, an app is the better option.

Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on its intended purpose and your users. If you are looking to create a mobile app and/or a mobile website, Netgen’s team of experts will work with you to develop a solution that fits your specific needs. Get in touch today.

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