The smartphone era is here, where mobile apps make almost anything possible. Every day, more than 5 billion people use mobile apps for various tasks, from social media and grocery shopping to getting medicines delivered, all with just one click. It highlights the significant demand for app development, making it a promising business investment for most companies.
This article will delve into the different app types, examining their features, advantages, and disadvantages and offering examples of well-known apps in each category. Whether you’re a developer, marketer, or app enthusiast, continue reading to discover the various app types and determine which best suits your requirements.
The State of Today’s Apps
Mobile apps have become indispensable in our daily lives, seamlessly providing convenience and entertainment. However, as the app market expands, users demand innovative apps that address their evolving needs, emphasising the significance of mobile app development services.
The Rising Popularity of Mobile Apps
The popularity of mobile apps has been on the rise for years, with an increasing number of individuals depending on them for various purposes. A recent study predicts that mobile apps will generate more than $935 billion in revenue by 2023, a significant jump from the $365 billion they generated in 2018.
So, what factors have driven the widespread embrace of mobile apps? Several reasons underpin this trend. Firstly, mobile apps provide unmatched convenience, enabling users to access information, services, and entertainment while on the move. Furthermore, they deliver a customised and user-friendly experience, tailoring it to the specific needs and preferences of each user.
The increasing use of smartphones and other mobile devices is another factor propelling the popularity of mobile apps. In 2021, the global count of smartphone users exceeded 6.3 billion, which is anticipated to reach 6.9 billion by 2023. With such a substantial and expanding user base, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of businesses are striving to develop apps.
Mobile App Types by Platform
1. Native Apps
Developers create native applications for a particular device platform or operating system, such as iOS or Android, using a specific coding language.
Native applications are not cross-compatible with multiple operating systems. In other words, you can’t run iOS apps on Android devices or vice versa. Since they are tailored for a specific OS, they employ specialised programming languages. Swift and Objective-C are common choices for iOS apps, while Kotlin and Java find extensive use in developing Android apps.
Technology Used In Native Apps
Developers use a variety of programming languages to code native apps. Notable programming languages for native app development include Java, C++, Kotlin, React, Objective-C, and Swift.
- Native apps’ singular focus enhances their reliability and boosts their overall performance, making them faster.
- Native apps make better use of the operating system and leverage specific functionalities such as the phonebook, NFC, Bluetooth, camera roll, and other device-related features.
- An interactive user interface and user experience optimise the customer’s overall experience.
- Compatibility issues are reduced.
- Configuration is quicker.
- Development consumes a significant amount of time.
- It is developed using challenging OS-specific programming languages like Java and Swift.
- Longer release cycles are necessary to ensure stability.
- Adding new features requires a separate codebase.
Example Of Native Apps
WhatsApp initially emerged as a native smartphone application. It is a well-known free instant messaging and voice-over IP service that originated in the United States and is currently under the ownership of Meta. It functions as an Android and iOS application for smartphones and tablets.
It is a free platform for listening to and sharing audio files, appealing to music enthusiasts of various genres.
Spotify is a capable streaming audio service that enables users to legally access audiobooks, podcasts, and music without downloading them to their devices. It is available as an app for all operating systems, as well as on websites, smart devices, and car media systems.
2. Web Apps/PWA
A web application is an app accessible through a web browser. It’s software that doesn’t need installation and can be accessed from a remote server via a web browser. Web apps are designed for user interaction as they facilitate data transmission and consumption between the web server and the browser.
Late in 2015, Google debuted the progressive web app (PWA) concept. PWAs resemble other native mobile apps in appearance and user experience, but they are essentially websites. When websites incorporate progressive web apps, they can offer functionalities such as push notifications, access to device hardware, and offline operation.
What separates the two is how they are installed. A web app runs within a web browser and cannot be installed on the device. In contrast, a PWA can be installed on a device, whether it’s a desktop or a mobile device.
Technology Used In Web Apps/PWA
- Lower costs for the business.
- No installation is necessary.
- It can be accessed from any location, increasing its potential.
- Risk to security
- Need more time to develop.
- In offline mode, web apps do not function.
- A restricted amount of features
- Restricted availability of mobile device features
- Reduced awareness among users
Example Of Web Apps/PWA
1. Google Office Suite
Google Workspace stands as one of the highly sought-after sets of web apps. Google Docs, for instance, primarily serves for document creation and automatic saving. It further provides functions like offline usage and synchronisation once the internet connection is reestablished. These workspace apps are also accessible through mobile app downloads.
Netflix takes the lead as the premier video-streaming platform, enabling users to enjoy TV shows and movies on demand without fixed restrictions. This platform exemplifies why web apps are the preferred choice for content platforms.
3. Microsoft Office
To use the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), install it on your computer and save files to your hard drive. Like Google Workspace, Microsoft Office has gained immense popularity as an online suite of tools. It includes web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, allowing users to collaborate securely on shared files online. Additionally, collaborative tools like Teams are now integrated into the package, making collaboration a straightforward process.
3. Hybrid Apps
An internet connection is necessary as these apps retrieve content from an external server. Hybrid applications, like native apps, are developed on a single platform and distributed through various app stores, including Google Play and Apple’s app store.
In hybrid app development, when creating apps that do not necessitate high performance or entire device access, hybrid apps stand out as the top choice. Consequently, developing hybrid apps mandates that developers possess comprehensive knowledge of all the elements involved, earning them the title of Full-Stack Developers in the context of hybrid app development.
Technology Used In Hybrid Apps
Ionic, Objective C, Swift, HTML5, etc.
- Easy building process
- Able to function without an internet connection
- Less expensive choice due to shared codes
- Because it may be implemented for several OSs, it requires less time to market.
- Adding new functionality is possible with a single code base.
- Incapable of carrying out OS-specific activities
- Costlier than web applications
- Complicated features often cause the program to slow.
- It is not as interactive as native applications.
Example Of Hybrid Apps
Gmail empowers users to manage emails, share photos, work on documents, and make calls, all from a single window.
It’s a widely recognized social network and one of the most renowned hybrid apps that enable users to send short text notes.
Users can prioritise project tasks, capture ideas, maintain a to-do list, and effortlessly keep track of life with this note-taking app.
Types of Mobile Apps Based on Different Industries
1. Social Media Mobile Apps
Some of the most well-known apps available in today’s market are social media apps. Facebook, for instance, boasts more than 1 billion daily active users. In this increasingly competitive landscape, businesses need to concentrate on social media apps, ensuring they are enjoyable and swift and consistently incorporate the evolving features of the social networks they support.
Here are a few popular social media apps:
2. Utility Mobile Apps
These apps come pre-installed on devices and perform specific functions. They address the user’s functional requirements by automating routine tasks that would otherwise necessitate physical intervention.
Here are a few instances of these applications:
To utilise this app, you need to open it and perform a task, like using a calculator to add or solve numerical equations. These apps seamlessly integrate with the user’s needs without necessarily feeling like standalone applications, even though they are part of the app ecosystem.
3. Lifestyle Mobile Apps
These apps prioritise enhancing the efficiency of your everyday tasks. For instance, when you forget the list of groceries you need at home, these apps simplify things, helping to streamline or augment the personal aspects that shape your lifestyle. Lifestyle apps rely on various factors, including dating, travel, music, food, fitness, etc.
Some examples of these apps are
4. News/ Information Outlets Mobile Apps
News and information apps are straightforward, guiding readers effectively to the topics that matter most to them and delivering the news and information they desire in a user-friendly manner.
Some examples of these apps are
- LinkedIn Plus
- Google News & Weather
5. Productivity Mobile Apps
Productivity apps represent one of the most popular smartphone app categories, despite their seemingly mundane nature. These apps empower users to complete tasks swiftly and efficiently, transforming occasionally dull responsibilities into enjoyable experiences.
Some of the examples are
- Wallet/ Pay
6. Gaming Mobile Apps
Furthermore, gaming apps are one of the most cherished app categories. These apps captivate users with their features and various appealing elements, often leading to addiction. They serve as excellent sources of entertainment for people when they feel bored.
Some examples of game apps are
- Angry Birds
- Clash of Clans
- Subway Surfer