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Web App VS Mobile App – The Better Choice For Your Startup Business

5 Jun 22  

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Ezzat Abdul Ghafour

Ezzat Abdul Ghafour

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web vs mobile app - the better choice for your startup business

Whether on the web or on smartphones, screen time has skyrocketed due to the convenience and speed digital applications provide. This increase in time spent on technological devices has made companies realize them as the core target for marketing and growing their businesses. Furthermore, creating applications is considered the fastest way to reach the targeted audience, find more clients, and accelerate overall growth.

Organizations could either focus on mobile app development or web apps according to their budget constraints, target audience, and overall goals. Unfortunately, many organizations do not have an opinion about the difference between web and mobile app development and their impacts on businesses. This is where the guidance of an app development company comes to use. Organizations can decide which to choose after clearly understanding their differences and how each benefit impacts the business. 

In this blog, we hope to cover all the aspects of both web and mobile app development, giving you a complete understanding of the two terms and making it easier to choose.

An Overview Of Web App And Mobile App

Web Apps

Web apps, on the other hand, are accessed via an internet browser and are adaptable to whichever device you view them on. They are not native to any specific system, and you do not need to download or install them to use them. However, their responsive nature often functions just like mobile apps and may confuse their users with a mobile app.

However, no matter how similar these two applications look, they are certainly two different products. One of the differences between the two is that web apps essentially require an active internet connection for you to run the app. In contrast, mobile apps may or may not require an internet connection for them to work. Another difference would be the update requirements. While mobile apps require users to function regularly and properly, web apps update themselves automatically. Above all, the major difference would be the way they are designed and built. 

One example of a web app that can benefit from these characteristics is a video editing tool. This type of software includes a lot of different functions, such as color correction, audio mixing, special effects, or and video manipulation like flipping video, reversing video and more. All of these features require a significant amount of computing power and resources to run effectively. With a web app, users don’t need to worry about downloading and installing the software on their mobile, making it easier for them to access and use the software. Additionally, web apps update themselves automatically, eliminating the need for manual updates compared to mobile apps. This responsive nature, combined with the elimination of hardware requirements, makes web apps a convenient option for users in this case.

Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps are those applications that can be run on a handheld or mobile device and provide a specific service to their users. There are two types of mobile apps- native and hybrid mobile apps. 

  • Native apps are built for a specific mobile app domain, with Android and iOS being the most popular ones. They are downloaded and installed through an app store and access system resources like GPS, camera, etc. 
  • Hybrid apps provide you with a single code compatible with all operating systems. This makes developing mobile apps easier and faster and is preferred more by startup companies. React Native and Flutter are the most popular hybrid app development platforms.

How Are Web App And Mobile App Built?

Web App

Web apps are built using Javascript, CSS, HTML, and Python. However, in contrast to mobile apps, web apps do not have standard software development kits. Rather, they provide templates. Web apps are quicker, easier to build, and have simpler features compared to mobile apps. 

Mobile Apps 

Mobile apps are more expensive to build compared to web apps. However, they are much faster and tend to have more features and functionalities than web apps. Businesses typically hire developers for building applications, and in the case of a native app, you may require an iOS or Android app development company specific to your app type. 

Native Apps 

Native apps are built using specific languages and Integrated Development Environments (IDE). In the case of Apple devices, they are run on the native iOS operating system and therefore are built using either Objective-C or Swift and the Xcode IDE. in the case of Android apps, they are written in Java and are built using either the Android Studio or Eclipse IDE. Additionally, you can also use the development tools, interface elements, and Software Development Kits (SDK) provided by Apple and Google to build native apps.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps, on the other hand, offer more flexibility in terms of construction. You can use a combination of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript for developing your hybrid apps. This makes them web apps designed to look and function like native apps, making them easier and faster to build. Although hybrid apps have access to various functions of your portable device, unlike native apps, they are powered by an internet browser.

Advantages And Disadvantage Of Web App And Mobile App

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of web apps and Mobile app to get more clarity.

Advantages of Web Apps

  • Web apps run on the web browser and do not require downloading or installing.
  • They have a common codebase, making them easy to maintain.
  • Web apps get updated automatically.
  • Quicker and easier to build than mobile apps.
  • Quickly launchable as they do not require app store approval.

Disadvantages of Web Apps

  • They essentially require an active internet connection to work
  • Web apps are slower than mobile apps and have less advanced features.
  • They do not need any approval and therefore have lower quality and security.

Advantages of Mobile Apps

  • They are faster than web apps
  • They can work offline
  • Mobile apps have greater functionality due to their access to the system’s resources.
  • They are safe and secure as they require approval from the app stores.
  • Mobile apps are easier to build as they provide developer tools, interface elements, and SDKs.

Disadvantages of Mobile Apps

  • They are more expensive to build
  • Mobile apps that have compatibility with different platforms require separate development and designing.
  • They are more expensive to maintain and update
  • Getting approval for native apps from play stores may be difficult 

Progressive Web App – An Overview

The Chrome developers Alex Russel and Frances Berriman introduced the term Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) as they envisioned creating a better experience across devices by using a single codebase. PWAs provide the properties of a mobile application over a web browser. And through the use of web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, they can provide a native mobile app experience. The whole idea or focus was to create web apps that have the look and feel of native apps while not requiring any software downloads or installations.

Comparing Cost Of Web App And Mobile App

The cost of web app development , native, hybrid and cross-platform are listed below.

Cost of Web Apps

Web apps are more cost-efficient than native apps and could cost between $15,000 to $50,000, depending on their type and size. 

Cost of Native Mobile Apps

Though there is not much difference in building Android and iOS apps, Android app development costs tend to get higher when you involve several devices with different OS versions. Fortunately, this is an issue that never happens for iOS applications. Speaking of development cost, a native app would require anywhere between $50,000 to $1,70,000, regardless of the platform. 

Cost of Cross-platform Apps

Another popular and cost-effective way of building apps is the cross-platform solution. In this platform, developers can build an app for iOS and Android simultaneously. This method also provides users with many benefits like single-code usage, less development effort, etc. React Native and Flutter app development companies create cross-platform applications. However, react native app development costs more than flutter and comes somewhere between $15,000 to $50,000. On the other hand, Flutter app development costs $15,000 to $40,000.

Cost of Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are the perfect blend of mobile and web apps- they are installed like a native mobile app but run in a webview component. However, hybrid app development has lost its value due to the rise of cross-platform development. But in the case of the cost incurred, hybrid apps cost half of what a native app development costs.

Comparing Security Of Mobile App And Web App 

Now that we’ve compared the cost of mobile and web apps, let us look at their differences in security. Here are a few points that differentiate their security features.

The Availability Of Code

One of the biggest differences in web and mobile app security is that in web applications, only a small part of the app is accessible to the user, i.e., front-end. On the other hand, the complete app code is stored inside the device for a mobile app, irrespective of how much business logic is available in a back-end API. This threatens the security of mobile apps as anyone who downloads the app into their device can inspect the code. 

Security Requirements

OWASP-Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS) defines the basis for selecting the security requirements for an app. The ASVS classified the degree of security risks of applications as levels 1,2 and 3. And if the app has a higher level of security risks, all the security requirements are applied. However, the mobile version of ASVS works differently. In MASVS, there are two levels of risk and security requirements, with an additional level called resilience for protecting the code. So basically, MASVS has 4 levels of security requirements- level 1, level 1+Resilience, level 2, level 2+Resilience.

Access To Configurations

For a web application, configurations are technologies like cloud, framework, databases, etc., used to build the application. However, in the case of mobile apps, the configurations are camera, location, microphone, etc. The app must open its doors to the mobile device to access these configurations, paving the way for loopholes through which malicious systems can enter the application. 

Comparing Marketability Of Mobile App And Web App 

Next, let us look at the differences between web and mobile application marketing. There are five differences

Basic Technology

The major difference between the two is that mobile apps require installation for you to use them, while anyone with an internet connection can access web apps. This difference has a huge impact on marketing as gaining more users for mobile apps will have more friction as they need to complete initial steps before actually using the product. However, marketers consider it as a two-edged sword, with the downfall being more steps before access and the advantage being better user experience and user engagement. 

User Retention

It is a fact that user retention for mobile apps is very low. This can be disheartening for marketers as user acquisition for mobile apps is higher than for web apps. However, through pop-ups, push notifications, remarketing ads, and email marketing campaigns to retain their users. Remember that the users that stay long generate a massive amount of revenue. With this positivity, marketers should use all the strategies available to retain the maximum of their users.

Marketing App

Since any active app in the App Store or Play Store has a static web URL, marketers can use all the marketing channels used by web marketers to acquire new users. In addition to these marketing channels, mobile apps also get a chance to earn extra benefits like indexing in App Store searches, category or country rankings, and App store features.


Analytics in web marketing involves adding query string parameters onto the ends of destination URLs. This allows marketers to analyze data retrieved from the conversion pixels installed on the web pages. Mobile apps have a similar structure; however, the implementation is different. The query strings do not allow users to install mobile apps by clicking on the App Store or Play Store. Rather, you must use a special destination URL or some other method for the process.


One of the biggest advantages of mobile apps over web apps is their monetization capacity. While websites usually generate revenue through ads and ecommerce purchases, mobile apps have further options in addition to these. Mobile apps can also generate revenue by acquiring payments for the app or in-app purchases.

Comparing User Experience And Responsiveness Of Web App And Mobile App

Here are some of how web apps impact user experience

Available for all users

Unlike mobile apps, users can access web apps through any device and operating system as long as an internet connection is available. However, the network quality, speed, and access greatly affect the user experience.

Does not require manual updation

In contrast to mobile apps, users do not have to download or install the application before using it. They also do not require manual updates as web apps automatically provide their users with the latest and updated versions.

Is cost-effective

The cost of developing web apps is very low compared to that of mobile apps. Since a responsive web app with enough features can work similarly to a mobile app, it is considered a cost-effective option.

Here are some of how mobile apps impact user experience

Provides interactive ways for engagement

Mobile apps allow users to interact with their content. They further the interaction and engagement compared to web apps. For example, you can use the Instagram web to scroll through and like images but require an app if you want to upload a picture.

Provides customization

Apps enable users to customize their experience according to their interests. They also allow businesses to communicate with their customers and provide information and updates through notifications.

Allows offline mode

Some apps do not necessarily require an internet connection to work. Though there may be limitations on the functionalities, users can still get access to important information when offline.

Has an intuitive interface

Most of the apps have an intuitive interface. This makes the app much easier to use and allows users to get more involved in their experience.

Can leverage device capabilities

Mobile apps can use the device capabilities like camera, GPS, microphone, etc., and thus enable businesses to provide better user experiences.

Examples Of Web App And Mobile App

Now that we have a complete idea of the differences between web and mobile apps let’s list a few examples.

Examples Of Web Apps

1. Google Docs

The Google office suite called the Google Workspace is one of the most popular collections of web apps. One of the best and most used web apps in this collection is Google Docs. They are used to collaboratively create documents, share them with people, and automatically save them in the cloud. Furthermore, Google Docs also allows you to work offline and then sync them once you get the connection. They are accessible from any device and operating system and have a mobile version.

2. Trello

Trello is a web app that provides a digital solution for organizing and tracking tasks. It also enables team collaboration as multiple people can work on a single dashboard, leading to effective project management.

3. Basecamp

Basecamp is a popular web app for managing projects, communicating with clients, and scheduling and tracking tasks. Since this is a web app, it is easier for businesses to invite users to projects without worrying about the type of device or browser they use.

Examples Of Mobile Apps

1. Snapchat

Snapchat is a popular one-time picture and video sharing app among the younger generations. With a wide range of filters and games, Snapchat is a great app to stay connected with friends and family by sharing our daily lives with them.

2. Instagram

Instagram is a social networking app that allows users to share stories, post pictures, message people, and upload short and long videos. It is a very popular communication platform for building communities with similar interests.

3. Amazon

Amazon is the internet’s marketplace. It is a shopping platform where you can buy just about anything at a lower price. Some of its amazing features include Alexa integrated voice commands and photo search, making finding products so much easier. 

Should You Choose A Web App Or Mobile App For Your Business?

Well, this is a question that you must answer for yourself. Choosing the type of applications should be based on your goals and business. From all the categorizations and comparisons we have done in this blog, you have to pick out the important ones to your business and choose the app type accordingly. Since both mobile and web apps have their pros, cons, and unique features, finding the ones that best fit your business and app goals will help you decide on the type of app you have to choose. So tell me, which is the right app for your business?