Overview of Native App and Mobile Web

The trend of mobile devices, which are dominated by smartphones around the world, is still rising. According to data from IDC in 2013, smartphone vendors shipped 1 billion smartphones worldwide. This trend is also followed by an increasing trend in the use of native applications provided by smartphone vendors through application stores (Apple App Store and Google Play). Through the application store, users of these two devices can download the desired application and then install it on their respective devices.

Along with the growing popularity of native applications pioneered by Apple, it encourages application developers to create various applications, as well as business people to participate in making their applications. The mobile web which has been an alternative for smartphone users in accessing the web is starting to lose popularity, smartphone users are starting to switch to native applications with various advantages it has.


In this article, I try to make a brief overview of native application and mobile web, so that it can give an overview of native applications and mobile web.

Native Apps and Mobile Web
Native apps or native applications are smartphone application programs made with a particular programming language to run on a platform. For example, native apps that run on iOS, Android or Windows Phone platforms.

Mobile web is a website that is optimized to be accessed by mobile browsers.

Native app development and maintenance costs more than mobile web development and maintenance. This is even more evident if the development of the native app is also developed on several platforms at once such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone or on other lesser-known platforms. This is different from the mobile web which runs on top of the browser so it does not require development on different platforms.

Development Time (Development)
Native app development takes longer than mobile web development. This is due to technical factors, native app development is more complicated than mobile web.

The performance of the native app is certainly more satisfying than the mobile web because it was developed to run specifically on their respective device platforms. The hallmark of a native app is its speed in accessing data compared to the mobile web, and this is the advantage of a native app.

Programming language
Native apps on iOS are built with Objective-C programming language, Android with Java and Windows Phone with Visual C++.

The mobile web is built with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and server-side languages ​​such as PHP.

Native apps require distribution through their application store, Apple App store (iPhone, iPad) or Google Play (Android device) which are owned and controlled by the vendor. Users of each of these devices can easily access the application store via their device, select the application they want, then download and install it.

Mobile web is basically a website that is optimized for smartphones, so users just type a URL name to access it without having to download and install it on their device.

Native apps are made to run on platforms that exist on devices, whether iOS, Android, Windows Phone.

The mobile web is how websites are made to be accessed by browsers.

Native apps can’t be indexed by search engines like the mobile web, because native apps are basically applications that “live” on the device.

Native app: what stands out from the native app is its fast performance, user-friendly, has a good user experience, visually appealing side, guaranteed in terms of quality and security because it is controlled by each vendor.

Mobile Web: with the principle of “develop once run everywhere” means relatively cost-effective development compared to multiplatform native apps. It can be distributed freely to users without having to get approval from certain parties as native which must get approval from vendors through the App Store and Google Play. Vice versa, users do not need to search first in the application store to access the mobile web.

Native app: more expensive development and maintenance costs are clearly a consideration, these costs will automatically increase if the development is carried out on a multi-platform basis. Updates that are made periodically to the native app will create conditions where there are different versions used by users of the native app.

Mobile Web: relatively slow performance compared to native apps. Not yet fully support all browsers on HTML5 features make the mobile web inconsistent in appearance in different browsers. Not able to be mobile