PWA vs Native app: Which is best for your business?

  • Mobile app development
PWA vs Native app: Which is best for your business?
14 min read
Mobirevo Teamauthor
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PWA vs Native apps, Are the progressive web apps and Native apps truly in a duo amongst app developers and business owners? What are the misconceptions attached to this subject? Have all of your questions answered in this article. In our world today, the mobile app has become a must-have in every company’s toolset, hence the need for the mobile app cannot be overemphasized. But, amid this great need, it is important for mobile apps to have certain functionalities to deliver great results. In the light of this, we present the chip off the old block referred to as “Native app”  and new school (but not so new) “Progressive web app - PWA''. A quick tip: The PWA combines access to a website and the functions of a Native app - although it may look like a no brainer (like it is obvious which you should go for), stick around to find out what developers have to say about these apps before making that big move. What differentiates the Native app from the PWA? Will the PWA replace native apps? How do I make a good choice? Stick around to find out
  • Will PWA replace native apps?
  • An exhaustive guide to PWA
  • An exhaustive guide to native app
  • The difference between PWA and native app
  • Knowing what works for your business
  • Conclusion
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Will PWA replace native apps?

This is a question a lot of people are asking. What is the future of native apps? While we will not want to give you a “meh” or a shallow answer, how about you see it from the developer's perspective? The Developers Perspective It is first important to note that the PWA and the native app are not at all the same (We will look in-depth into this subject at the latter part of this article or you can cut to the chase and read it) But even in their differences, the PWA seems to be more promising. Based on the amount of value your app brings and the level of publicity, statistics show that it is no easy task to get people to download your app. Will PWA replace native apps? Any website can be a progressive web app. Let's take LinkedIn as a case study; the LinkedIn website garners millions of users already, delivering values like building your network, brand growth, marketing, and job opportunities. So when you see a pop-up to get a better experience with the mobile app you won’t think twice about it. The same thing goes for other platforms like Medium and Upwork. What happened here is that it is way easier to get more downloads for your app, cut the cost of advertising and work process. Put in simple terms, the PWA are websites optimized for mobile and EASILY transformed into an application. This makes life easy for you because you no longer need to build an app, each for Android and IOS… It is quite funny because the original intention of the PWA was never to dethrone native apps, but it seems there is a great likelihood that it would. How about we go a little more in-depth on the subject:

An exhaustive guide to PWA and Native app

First stop, PWA… No doubt we have scratched the surface of the subject, but in this part of the article, we will uncover every nitty-gritty of the PWA and the Native app to give you the best understanding which will, in turn, inform your decision on what app will be most profitable to your business. The acronym PWA stands for Progressive web app. As earlier stated, PWA in comparison to the Native app (in the context of this article) is like the new kid on the block. The PWA originated as a term in 2015 by Google Chrome engineer Alex Russel, according to -Wikipedia [caption id="attachment_1949" align="alignnone" width="1860"]PWA vs Native app PWA vs Native app[/caption]
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PWA (Progressive web app)

The PWA is a web app with functionalities that allows its installation on mobile devices. This means the web app can function “offline” without an internet connection, enabled through the aid of service workers. [caption id="attachment_2558" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Progressive web app (PWA) Progressive web app (PWA)[/caption] There is a lot of advantages to consider with the PWA, but we think Google puts it best:
  • Work reliably and comfortably without internet connection
  • Better engagement: The push-notification function allows for better communication with users.
  • Increased conversion: The PWA speed is of great benefit because the faster the load time the less click out there is.
Users prefer PWA because it reduces app load time and offers a better user experience. One thing that might get a user worried when it comes to PWA is security, so having your web app run under HTTPS is a great security measure alongside adding icons. There are a couple of other performance tips you can include in your web app: It is important to note that these tips are not necessarily requirements for PWA, but many PWA use these recommendations;
  • The PRLPL pattern;
  • Push critical resources for the initial URL route.
  • Render initial route
  • Pre-cache remaining routes
  • Lazy-load and create remaining routes on demand
  • To load a resource you will need, eventually, tell your web browser by using <link rel=” preload”>
  • And for loading apps granularly, use lazy-loading or code-splitting
The progressive web app doesn't take up much space from your device, it doesn't need to be downloaded, it has no APK file (this makes that their files are scarcely deleted) but drains the battery drastically. This is the main setback with using PWA. Because it is originally a website and runs on programming languages like JavaScript and HTML, it requires robust power and tiny mobile devices will naturally have a hard time interpreting it. 

Native mobile app

While its counterpart the Native app in its simplest term is an application developed specifically to run on Mobile devices. The Native app is designed to have users first download from an App store (Google play store, Apple Store, or Amazon store), install it on their mobile devices, and enable the app to run smoothly. [caption id="attachment_2559" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Native mobile apps Native mobile apps[/caption] It was earlier mentioned that PWA is slowly catching up to Native app (not like it's a challenge or anything) with the introduction of the offline mode through the help of service workers. But each of these apps designed to make life easier for mobile users, and with the increase of mobile device users, the mobile app is a needed tool in every company's marketing strategy. Here is a report conducted by Datareportal Push notification; another feature made possible through service workers. With their help it is possible to send notifications even when the PWA is not running; which is an excellent way to boost engagement… and engagement is great for business. This way, once users permit notifications, you can use push notifications to communicate with your audience at all times. Simple steps to install a PWA:
  1. Search for your PWA-site on a search engine like Google
  2. Once you open the site allow the notification pop-up to “Add to home screen”
  3. Add the web app immediately to your home screen. You can then open and explore
Simple steps to install a Native app:
  1. Visit the App store that suits your device O.S
  2. Search for the app and click download
  3. Afterward, you can open and explore

Thinking of building an app? Here are a few things to consider:

The creation of either the native or PWA has its basic requirements in regards to the type of business you own. We advise you stick to a PWA if you reside or run your business in a developing country across the e-commerce, media, and small business space. Now that that's cleared, if you are going to build that app, ask yourself:
  • How long do I want to spend building this app?
  • Who is my target?
  • How much do we have a budget?
Although these questions apply to both the native and PWA, they are genuine questions that determine which you should go for.

The difference between PWA and native app

There is a striking difference between the PWA and the Native, and looking more intently into the PWA makeup we have been able to  come up with the following:

1. They Are written differently: Different programming languages

If written in different languages, then they are not so much alike. The PWA uses a programming language (for platforms like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS) written and packaged with the container of of each specific operating system. Hence PWA's to specifically run in a web browser while Native apps are programmed with frameworks like Swift for iOS, Java for Android, and Objective-C for windows, written to run on mobile devices like Smartphones and tablets.

2. Cost of development differ

According to the statistics we shared, it is cheaper to develop a PWA than a Native app. Reason be; For the native app the cost to learn the language (if you are not already schooled in Programming) and build separately for the Android and IOS platforms, can be expensive. Plus. a little extra cash for updates and maintenance. Now that is a lot of time and money!

3. Development process speed and update

One outstanding feature of the PWA is the ability to use just one code base for multiple platforms. You do not have to build one from scratch, you can easily configure your website with a tool like Google Lighthouse. You do not need multiple versions of the app, with just one responsive design, it can display on all devices.

4. Easy distribution

App distribution is a major problem amongst developers today. With the native app, you not only have to create two versions for two platforms, but you also need to submit your app to multiple app stores (This is not limited to the Apple store and Playstore alone, but other stores like Windows and Amazon store) to promote your app. This process takes a great amount of effort and money in some cases. But isn't completely bad, appearing in an app store can influence the publicity of your app and as well increase your brand's credibility. The PWA offers nothing of such; you do not need to bug yourself or users of your app with app stores or update notifications. All they need to install your web app is a browser and a URL. This makes updates easier without long, pending approval and interruption with users' activity on the app.

5. App discoverability

SEO doesn't work for Native apps because their pages are not indexable for search engines. Users cannot find your product via Google unless through the App store’s website. To help your visibility, you would have to use App store optimization (ASO). App store optimization like search engine optimization is the process to increase your app’s ranking in the search results of the app store. Its practices are quite similar to SEO; which involves optimizing your title and meta description with keywords, third-party partnerships for reviews, and using relevant categories. These are one of the things we stated that take extra time and money to get your app to your target customer. In comparison, PWA is indexable, thus works well with SEO and listed on search engines. PWA even has a higher chance of ranking in search engines, unlike normal web pages. This makes it even more preferred over the Native app.

6. Security options

Concerning security, PWA is way more secure than the Native apps because they run under HTTPS. These high-end programming watchdogs ensure that interactions between the server and user are not interrupted. This gives users peace of mind with the use of the app that their private information is secure. When it comes to security, the Native app flag above the PWA; building a native app involves processes and requirements that ensure the safety and security of the app; for better security,   integrate a multi-factor or two-step authentication. Users will most likely trust their credit card information with an app than a URL.


  • Native apps can interact with other apps while PWA cannot.
  • PWA cannot access certain features on your mobile phone like smart lock and proximity sensor
  • The native app alone provides Geofencing features

Knowing what works for your business

Like anything in the world, the Native app and PWA have their advantages and disadvantages. But what should inform your decision is their capabilities regarding how you want your app to be. Here’s how we can help: PWA works perfectly if:
  • You have little time and budget to spare on the project. As we have shown you, PWA takes way less time and money to build and promote.
  • You want to increase brand awareness via SEO. PWA works like any website and can be optimized for SEO.
  • You are a startup and want something simple for your user; no download or update required.
Native app works if:
  • You want all the amazing features of a mobile device.
  • You want to build your brand’s credibility and assert your brand quality and reliability


PWA and Native app are two ends of the stream with different capabilities and downsides. We do not think any of them will be off the scene any time soon, so leveraging in either one as suits your specifications and resources will be a great choice. At Mobirevo, excel in the development of both Native and PWA apps. If you are in search of a team for your mobile app project, do contact us to discuss your projects with our experts or you can request a free quote and someone from our team would get back to you in no time.   Contact us >>>>>>> Get a free quote >>>>> Services >>>>>> Case study >>>>>>  
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