PWAs vs Native apps: What’s the difference?

PWAs vs Native apps Cloud Computing Concept. Data protected exchange on smart phone or other mobile device and online storage. Cloud Technology illustration.

In today’s marketplace, it is more important than ever for businesses to be able to capture the attention of their customers.

As consumers continue to rely heavily on digital platforms to buy goods and services from brands, pressure has mounted for these companies to cater better than competitors do–especially when there are so many other options available.

One of the emerging trends has been companies creating their own apps. According to one survey, over 60% of businesses have already jumped onto the bandwagon.

However, with so many different options available, it’s easy to get confused about what kind of app you should opt for.

Two popular examples include native apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWA). This article debunks all you need to know about the two, as well as which is the best choice for your business.


What are native apps?

Created in 1997, native apps have been the go-to for businesses setting up their own app for years.

They work by accessing the hardware and functionality of a live mobile device. Because they’re built for a specific device (e.g. iOS or Android), they often have a high-level user experience and can access and use a device’s features, including Bluetooth, GPS, camera and more. In addition, they can be used regardless of whether the user is online.

Despite their popularity, they come with their share of problems for businesses.

For example, if you wanted to offer an app on both iOS and Android, your developer would need to use two separate coding languages for each type of device. This means that businesses trying to offer services and create income using native apps are fundamentally limited.

And the hard work doesn’t stop once your app is launched. The need for regular maintenance and upgrades, including enhancements and security updates, adds to the headache of additional time and costs.

Luckily, Native apps aren’t your organisation’s only option.


What are progressive web apps?

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) were created by Google in 2015. The idea behind them is that they combine the functionality of a native app with the accessibility of a website.

This is made possible because they are written to run inside a web browser, with integrated widgets running in the background to enhance performance and functionality.

This allows businesses to use apps to enhance their offering without the traditional limitations.

One of the biggest advantages of a PWA is that you can use your current website to create a mobile app that looks and functions just like the native apps on iPhone or Android.

This means one version of the program will display in virtually identical form no matter what device is used for viewing it – so there’s never any need to develop two versions simultaneously, unlike a native app.

It’s also a good option for businesses that want to reach prospective customers who are at the start of their sales journey because PWAs can be found through standard web search engines, as well as app stores. This means that you can engage your audience at every stage of the sales funnel.

That’s not where the good news ends. Along with better function and accessibility, PWA benefits include:

  • Lower cost of development
  • Fast development
  • Responsive design
  • More convenient
  • More secure (they run under HTTPS)
  • Can be indexed on search engines using SEO
  • Widgets enhance performance
  • Delivers a seamless experience for users
  • Works across multiple devices



So should your business opt for a native app or PWA? Ultimately, the best option for your organisation will depend on your specific needs and goals.

For example, if you want an app that’s accessible offline and provides powerful features, consider creating a native app.

On the other hand, if your goal is to reach more potential customers and provide a better user experience at a lower cost, PWAs may be the right choice for you. In either case, the key is doing your research and carefully weighing your options before making any decisions.​

However, PWAs do offer a number of key advantages that make them an increasingly popular choice for businesses looking to expand into the digital world. So if you’re looking to create a cost-effective app that can engage new customers and generate more revenue regardless of device, a PWA is the clear choice.

If you want to build a low-cost PWA with a range of financial service offerings for your customers, Orenda can help. Get in touch today to discuss how we can assist in creating a seamless customer journey and new revenue streams for your business.


If you would like to learn more about Apps/ PWAs/ Native you should read our article how to build a fintech app, what is a super app or what is embedded finance?

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