Mobile is the glue for all other digital industries to use when approaching convergence, but mobile is also the digital gateway for the real world to join in this global metamorphosis of human behavior.
One of the greatest capabilities of modern day smartphones and tabs is the support for apps. Apps are one of the major difference between traditional mobile phones and smartphones and tabs. Apps supported on almost all modern day phones can be broadly classified into three types:
- Native Apps – Application programs developed for use on a particular platform or device are called native apps. They are live on the devices as they are pre-installed on most hand-held devices they have be developed for. Native apps are accessed through icons on the device home screen. Native apps are installed through an application store (such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store). Because native apps are written specifically for one platform, they can interact with and take full advantage of operating system, device features and other software that are typically installed on that platform like camera, GPS, accelerometer, compass, contacts, and so on. Native apps can also use the device’s notification system and can work offline.
- Hybrid Apps – Hybrid apps are a mix of native apps and web apps. Like native apps, they live in an app store and have to be downloaded from there. They can also take advantage of the many device features available, just like native apps can. But at the same time, jut like web apps, they rely on HTML being rendered in a browser, with the caveat that the browser is embedded within the app. It’s also called in-app browser.
Usually, companies build hybrid apps increase reach and visibility by having an app store presence, without having to spend much time, expertise and resources on a native app development. As HTML code components can be reused on different mobile operating systems, Hybrid Apps as cross platforms with no incremental development costs involved, and have thus gained considerable popularity over time. Tools such as PhoneGap and Sencha Touch allow people to design and code across platforms, using the power of HTML.
- Web Apps – Web apps are basically websites that look like native apps. They are not real applications, and are not implemented or coded as such. You can open them using mobile browsers as they are typically written in HTML5. User can access them as they would access any other website. Once they navigate to the website by typing in the URL, then have option of installing the home screen of their hand-held devices by creating a bookmark to that page. The web app icons would be displayed, just like any other app icon on the mobile device.
When HTML5 came around, web apps became really popular as people soon realized that they can obtain native-app-like functionality in the browser itself. Today, as more and more sites use HTML5, the distinction between web apps and regular web pages has become blurry.
Communications between the brand and customers become easier than ever before by tying-in the static display media with customers’ mobiles.