Image of person using a mobile phone
June 27, 2016
By Heather Gwaltney

Most of us are familiar with mobile apps, but few realize that mobile apps fall into three different categories: Native, Web and Hybrid.  In this blog, we describe these three apps and address their pros and cons.

Mobile Apps

Before we describe the types of apps, let’s first review what a mobile app is.  A mobile app is a software application designed specifically to use on a smaller wireless computing device, such as a smartphone or iPad/tablet, as opposed to a desktop or laptop.  They are built to work around mobile technology restrictions and to utilize the advantages unique to the mobile device.  As mentioned earlier, mobile apps typically fall into one of three categories, Native, Web-based or Hybrid.

Native Apps

When you think of a mobile app, the native app is what you typically imagine.  A native app is a software program designed for a specific platform or device – usually either for Google’s Android or Apple’s iPhone.  Consequently, Android-designed apps cannot be used on the iPhone and iPhone-designed apps cannot be used on an Android.  Users download native apps from Google Play or App Store respectively.  The apps themselves reside with your mobile device’s other applications and are accessible by clicking on the app’s icon.  Native apps provide the most reliable and fastest experience for users.  Examples of native apps include your phone’s camera and GPS.

GTB’s native app helps businesses communicate with their customers as if they were in the office

Web Apps

Web-based apps are really mobile-optimized web pages that appear like an app.  Users access them on their mobile device over the Internet, through a browser interface – like they would access a normal website on their computer through Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer.  They don’t take up space on the user’s device and are easier and less expensive for a company to produce.  At the same time, their simplicity can be restrictive.  Developed once for all mobile devices, they cannot utilize special features unique to specific platforms, and most require an Internet connection in order to work.  Most companies today who build websites require their developers to apply responsive design, so they can be user friendly on mobile devices.

Hybrid Apps

As the name “hybrid” implies, the app combines elements of both the web-based and native apps.  Built using cross-platform web technologies and partial native code, they are usually more functional and customized than a web app and faster and easier to develop than a native app.  Hybrid apps can be used across platforms, but are not as fast as native apps, since they still rely on web browser speed. Other benefits of hybrid apps include the fact that they can function whether the device is connected to the Internet or not, that they can connect with the user’s file system and that they have an embedded browser to allow for better access to online content.  Examples of hybrid apps are LinkedIn and some online banking services.

Moving forward, it's expected that mobile app development will focus on integrating browser-based functionality with device-specific customization.

How GTB can help

GTB provides a mobile communications app that runs on your smartphone or tablet device as an extension of your business phone.  As a new or existing customer, you can receive a free assessment of your business needs to see if the mobile communications app is right for you or to see if we can upgrade your phone system for the same or lesser price.  Additionally, we can help businesses obtain High Speed Internet, Remote Data Backup, Network Security and IT Services.  Learn more by visiting our Solutions page.  Because we are local, we can also provide the special care you need to make your life a little easier. 

Get your free assessment

Click here or call us at 1 (877) CALL-GTB for your free assessment to see if we can meet your unique needs.

Also read: Best High Speed Internet – How to shop for what you actually need, The Ultimate Guide to Selecting a Business Phone System, Difference between a Softphone, Hardphone and Smartphone, Who’s Talking to Your Customers?, and A Mobile App that Can Save you Thousands