Understanding the Different Types of Mobile Applications


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What makes a mobile phone a SmartPhone? Of course it is the powerful hardware that constitutes a SmartPhone; but hardware is certainly not the only factor that defines a SmartPhone. A SmartPhone is the one that has a vast range of applications (built-in) and supports plenty more from the external apps markets. These apps allow the user to do almost everything that previously required a Desktop PC or a laptop.

People can now, with the use of a SmartPhone, stay connected all the time, communicate and collaborate over work in real-time without any lag, conduct meetings, prepare reports and share them with anyone anywhere in the world, and also stay connected with friends, family and communities on various social networks. And you get to do all this without being confined in front of your PC; it doesn’t really matter where you are.

So, what exactly are these mobile applications? Let us find out:

Mobile Applications are compact software programs that perform a predefined function and are designed to work on handheld devices such as SmartPhones, tablets and feature phones. But all mobile applications are not the same.

There are plenty of considerations when it comes to designing and developing mobile applications. Mobile applications can be broadly classified into two different types based on the mobile development technology employed to create them. These are native mobile applications and web mobile applications. Both types can help achieve similar results or perform similar functions but are inherently different in development. Let us understand a bit more about native mobile applications and web-based mobile applications.

Native Mobile Applications

Native mobile applications are the ones that run directly from your handheld device i.e. your feature phone, SmartPhone, or tablet. These are mobile OS/platform based applications, which can be downloaded from the relevant mobile store and thereafter installed on the device. Examples would be the android apps or the iOS apps/iPhone apps. End-users will go the respective mobile app store and then download and install the preferred ones from a whole list of native applications.

Some different types of native apps are calendars, calculators, built-in browsers, office applications, native versions of popular social networks (e.g. facebook app, Twitter app, etc.) and geo-location apps (GPS-based apps) that lets you find your friends, hotels, maps, etc. by figuring out your co-ordinates. Native mobile applications make optimum use of the hardware of your handheld device and can typically handle complex functions, which a web mobile application might not be able to do.

Need to keep in mind:

If you are an organization or an enterprise looking to create a native app for your consumers, you need to be mindful of the fact that native mobile apps will have to be developed for multiple platforms in order to allow a broader user base to access your app. For example: different versions of the app will have to be created for iPhone users and Android phone users.

Web-based Mobile Applications

Web mobile applications are software programs that run directly from the web browser on mobile phones and tablets. These web-based mobile apps do not get installed on your handheld mobile device and are run on web-hosted servers. These web-based mobile applications can be developed on a single platform as they are not limited by the operating systems of your device.

Some examples of popular web applications are popular social networks (the versions that are accessed through the browser), email and chatting applications, online mobile games, and cloud-based office applications. Web-based applications are also becoming immensely popular in the mobile app development world; especially since the time HTML 5 has come into existence. HTML 5 allows the web applications to better use the device’s hardware in order to provide more functionality and faster response.

Customization – the Key to Mobile App Development

It is important for firms that want to create mobile apps for their consumers or for internal use to have proper goals. Often, ready solutions in the form of existing mobile apps fall short of achieving the goals. The need of the hour for any mobile app development program is customization, which allows the developed apps to meet specific business needs. Customized mobile apps are invariably created after a proper market research, strategy and planning and hence are bound to be more successful.

Satinder Panesar
Entrepreneur & founder of GWT systems pvt ltd. Satinder's pragmatic approach helped the company not only to survive the worst IT crises but also managed to increase the clientÈle. Satinder is currently working with green companies, around the world, and is promoting Green computing.


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