If you didn’t already know, the mobile web is where most consumers perform their web browsing. Mobile browsing has continuously been on the rise for years, finally overtaking desktop browsing. And for this reason, Google now prioritizes mobile websites and mobile responsive websites. It’s no wonder progressive web apps or PWAs are becoming an increasingly popular mobile app development trend. But what is PWA?
A PWAs are web applications that look, feel, and act just like a native mobile application. PWAs will work on popular browsers via Android: Opera, Chrome, and Samsung. Also, progressive web apps do not have to be downloaded from an app store. You can access all of the capabilities and information of the PWA without having to download a mobile app.
Like their cousin, the mobile app, a PWA is displayed on the homepage, can send push notifications, and integrates easily into system settings, with better performance and less data usage.
The Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
Google first coined the phrase Progressive Web Apps in 2015. Because progressive web apps’ primary focus is on performance and user experience, PWAs have proven to be great applications across a variety of industries. PWAs are basically a hybrid of mobile applications and typical web pages. They are called “progressive” web apps because they initially introduce new features from the user’s point of view, in that they perform as regular websites.
Here are some benefits of Progressive Web Apps.
- They are lightweight. PWAs combine the best of native mobile applications with the best of web applications, leaving out the bloat. Even though PWAs deliver the same app experiences as native mobile apps, the app is actually a browser application.
- Have easy Installation. Again, users do not have to visit an app to store because PWAs allow users to install the website onto their home screen as if it were an app.
- They Are Easy to Update. PWAs auto-update in the background with little data usage and without interrupting the user’s in-app experience.
- They Are Secure to Use. Progressive Web Apps always open in browser via HTTPS,
- They Are Reliable. PWAs can work offline, so they are definitely capable of working through a less than ideal network connection.
The Challenges of Progressive Web Apps
Unfortunately, there are just as many limitations to PWAs there are benefits. These limitations are not small and, until they can be reconciled and mostly affect iOS application development services. This will likely prevent PWAs from replacing native mobile applications, at least for now.
These limitations include:
- They Lack Device Support. Progressive Web Apps work near flawlessly on most Android devices. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of issues with using PWAs on iOS to the point where they are barely functional. Apple is currently working on a way make PWAs work on their devices.
- They Lack Browser Support. While PWAs work on popular browsers on Android, iOS, it currently works only on Safari browsers. iOS support for version 11.3 onward.
- They are Missing Hardware Functionality. Progressive Web Apps are still a fairly new technology, so there is limited access to certain components of devices.
- They are a battery drain. Though WPAs use little data, they do run in your background. This can take up a lot of your battery’s juice.
Will Progressive Web Apps Overtake Native Mobile Apps?
The way PWAs are presently, they won’t overtake native mobile applications just yet. With lacking support for various devices, browsers, and being a major drain on battery life, PWAs just don’t have what’s needed to be a viable competitor for native mobile apps. But that doesn’t mean they won’t.
Jeff Bezos once said, “In business, what’s dangerous is not to evolve.” Technology is an ever-evolving, ever-improving, almost living organism. Tech is always getting better. There is no doubt that mobile app development companies will make PWAs more compatible with iOS. Mobile app developers will work in tandem with mobile operating systems to one day have the device support needed without draining your mobile phone’s battery.
As it stands, progressive web apps do create a better web experience for mobile users, but it comes at the price of a few conveniences to businesses like inability to be searchable in app stores and having little to no flexibility when it comes to offering special content like loyalty programs, to users. But that will soon change. Having custom Android application development for PWA could still be very beneficial to your business. Just make sure you know what having a PWA entails.