Mobile applications – my ramblings

I have been thinking on design decision whether our mobile application should be native app or browser app. When I started, I thought browser app was best suited and was looking at its advantages

  • Make app Working on every platform pretty much with same effort.
  • Having complete control of monetization, including advertising.
  • Being able to do all the tracking and data-gathering you want.
  • Being independent of rendering for the device size.

But my thought process has undergone a change after personally developing native mobile applications and working with end users and understanding their thought process. I want to consider native application prior to any decision because

  • I want to acknowledge that browser is not the device. The browser is one level above the device in the hierarchy.
  • I want to evaluate needs of an application, beyond its technical feasibility, strongly considering how the user feels and what he needs and is the design satisfying his needs?.
  • I should look beyond the advantage that browser based technologies provide a generic look and feel in all platforms. As technologist, this is our headache to develop applications work on multiple devices and we should not transfer the same to the end user. People want an experience that’s delightful, and tailored to what they want to do
  • Browser based applications depends on uninterrupted availability of internet connection all the time to perform work. Being end consumer,why do I need to download static content again and again and pay money to Internet provider, after having to pay for the application?. I like BB model where the emails are download locally and can be viewed multiple time even if there is no Internet. Browser based mobile application that do no require real time updates have little benefit for end user.
  • When it is browser app, the application has more than one frame of interaction. We have a second frame, surrounding and enclosing our primary area of focus, browser application. This does not provide the end user a better experience.

There are two type of native applications Web applications, running within a web view inside a native application shell and fully native applications, without an HTML/CSS user interface. The advantages of native applications are

  • access to standard contact lists and calendars
  • centralised notification systems
  • Having device data accessible through local search
  • Effective use of dedicated hardware controls, like music playback or volume buttons, recording features

How to build the power of browser application to native applications?

Another question is how should an end user interpret based on the number of applications a mobile platform has in it’s application store. Should people make purchase decisions based on numbers of applications in the platform app store? Assume that application is not available on one of the mobile platform, available on the second one, does that means we need to buy device of the second platform? Are these application really that good?

I see that the android stores also provide us with user reviews for the mobile applications, rating for the application and the number of users who have downloaded the free sample and who paid for the application. Does this means all these are regular users of the application? Does download of the tool means regular usage? How does reviews from some users helps me to understand the usefulness of the application? I am not interested to turn my phone into a smaller version of my PC with loads of rubbish that slows me down.

How is Quality of the application represented by the app store?