Mobile App vs. Mobile Site
Quite often we get asked what’s the difference between a mobile website, and a mobile application (app). Mobile apps are specifically built for a particular device, quite likely written in a software language (think of them as software you install on your pc). An app you download from the App Store, from Apple, will usually run on iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. Each device and each generation of device, will require further development and tweaking to utilize new features, and make sure application is backward compatible with previous devices and operating system versions.
That previous explanation is only for Apple’s devices. If you want your app to work on Android devices such as Sony’s Xperia, and HTC smartphones, then you would have to build another app for it to work on those devices. Same goes for Blackberry and Symbian phones, etc….
You would have to build an app for each operating system. Not to mention maintenance of these apps. This tends to become a time consuming process, as well, can be quite costly for most businesses. Consider this option if you wish to build a dynamic app such as games, intense audio/video streaming, calling software such as Skype, various utilities, and remote control software.
Not to say this isn’t a viable solution. I have tons of apps on my phone desktop, from which I use maybe 2 or 3 all the time. But the rest of the 50 apps I have are occasionally, or never used.
Prior to Apple releasing the folder feature for the iPhone, my desktop was almost 10 scrolling pages! You could imagine I couldn’t find anything. But since the folders feature, everything is now neatly organized (almost everything).
Mobile websites however, run in a mobile browser, and do require some work to display content correctly on various mobile devices (there are thousands of them). But for the most part, is a cost effective solution, and your site will be up and running almost instantaneously for the world to see. This is a better solution for small to medium sized businesses, ecommerce sites, informational sites, and service based businesses to say the least (imagine downloading an app for each site you visit, that would be chaos).
Personally I do not see myself downloading an app for each restaurant in my town. Just imagine opening all those apps to see the menus. This would be painful. Best to have a mobile website so they can find you on the go, fast, and easy to maintain.
Advancements are being made in mobile development almost daily. And technology to make mobile sites more dynamic is progressing quite quickly. You can rest assured if you go with MobOpt.com, your mobile site will be modern, and ready for whichever mobile device is out there.
This fight is not new. Initially we were downloading apps on our PC desktops for everything. Now the majority of apps run in browsers, there’s a reason for this. Don’t get me wrong though, I still like my Angry Birds ;)