Although we are quite new to this area, we are excited about new changes in Web technologies and how smartphones and tablets are becoming new mobile computers in the Digital Age. We have built a few mobile applications and learned quite a bit, not only about the computing power of these devices, but also how users interact with them.
If you want to build a mobile app for your system, please know that there are two types of Mobile Applications:
- Web-based applications optimized to work very fast on your iPhone, Android, or iPad
- Native applications that you usually need to download and install from Apple's AppStore or Google's Android Market.
Each of these approaches has benefits and disadvantages. The web-based mobile app is simply a website or a website application which automatically detects that a user accessing it, is using a mobile device, and switches to a "mobile-optimized view" or "mobile mode". In other words you need to open a browser on your mobile device and type the URL of your web app to access it. The major advantage of web-based mobile apps is that you can update them anytime, and the next time users go to it, they will be working with the newer version. The major disadvantage of this type of app is the fact that it is a bit slower than a native app.
Native apps are faster than their web-based alternatives because they run inside your smartphone OS instead of inside a mobile web browser. However, if you need a native app that frequently accesses the data in the cloud or "talks to your server on the Web", then this performance advantage is negligible because user interactions will depend on how fast the internet access is on the current mobile device. The major downside of native apps is the fact that you need to build and support a separate app for each device or mobile platform you want to run your application on: iPhone, iPad, Google Android phones, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry, etc. In order to publish your application in Apple's App Store so that users can download and use it, you need to get a permission and approval from Apple. Finally, the update cycle of native apps is slower and greatly depends on the end-users' willingness to do so.
For some projects it also makes sense to do both: make a mobile-optimized version of your app and develop native apps for most popular mobile platforms. It depends on your business objectives and your system specifics.
In any case, EBI is here to help you access the mobile market!
Ready to have your mobile app built?
If you need more time, check out our portfolio of sample web systems that we built for our clients over the years and let us know what you think