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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Bet on the Web

xkcd's take on smartphone apps

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
I'm a fan of the World Wide Web. It feels good when experts also advice building mobile web applications instead of native apps. I wanted to list the experts who hold this view and their reasoning for it:
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web
Scott Hanselman
Christian Heilmann
+ Chris Wilson in the Udacity course Mobile Web Development

One of the biggest advantages of a native app is that it can leverage internal features of the native mobile device's OS ("a closed ecosystem") that are not available to a mobile web app. I plan to collect practical & less obvious views against mobile web apps as well -

From a comment to this article
> the web is winning
that's what they were telling us for a little more than 10 years now. and yet still everyone I know who is in the software business makes more money with old fashioned desktop software than with "SAAS" web app style products (which are often making losses). But I'm not in the valley and thus not captured in a VC fueled bubble.
The web will win where it won already: as an information medium to replace newspapers, tv stations and the like. But as a software platform it is a lost cause.

Findings from a 2015 comScore study -

Smartphone owners in the US only use about three apps frequently, Fortune cited the study by internet analytics company comScore as revealing.

According to the study, the average American devotes about half their app time to a single app.

The second-most used app gets about 18 percent of total app time, and the third most-used one gets 10 percent of the time.

Combined these three programmes total 80 percent of total app time.

Apps vs Mobile Browser apps
Advantages of Apps:

- With apps you don't have to boot up. User gets instant gratification

- In the digital era, information is key, and apps provide a better picture of user habits — your shopping and travel preferences for example — so that companies can coax you with the best deals.

- Companies will not ditch apps yet because they are able to track the identity of users and send silent push notifications. Browsers lack this feature.

- Apps are good if the user base is large — like Paytm has 100 million users or Facebook has 120 million users in India — and frequency of use is high — like Whatsapp or Ola or Uber, at least five to six times a week.

Disadvantages:

- Apps have a high uninstall rate. Frequency of usage is key on app. For one-off services like calling an electrician, people won't download our app. Web browsers offer easy discovery and low friction (just click a link as opposed to downloading an app)

- Apps have advantages but have to be developed for different operating systems — Android, iOS, Windows etc while a single site is good for any browser. The cost of developing a browser site is lower than that of an app. Besides, chance of an app malfunctioning or crashing is higher than that of a mobile site.

- India has 1 billion mobile phone users. A majority use low end phones. These have low memory and slow processors. But most apps are heavy—more than 5 MB and often exceeding 8 MB. Some of the furniture apps are 30 MB in size. Computing resources to download and run apps is limited on low end phones.

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