Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mobile Apps vs Mobile Browser

There are two different ways content can be made available to mobile users. Content can be made available via a mobile application (App) or content can be available from a mobile browser. A mobile App is a software program that works on a specific mobile device, whereas browser content can be accessed by all mobile devices. The pro's and con's of each approach is detailed below:

Pro's and Con's of the Mobile App approach:

Pro Con
Pros - For the person(s) creating the app - functionality and control -
  • App creators can be assured that all their App's features work.
  • An App can be developed so that it is optimized to run effectively on a specific mobile devices.
Cons- For the person(s) creating the app -
  • App creators will need to develop an application that works on each of the mobile players.
  • Each player uses a different operating system and supports different technology. Porting to different players is not trivial.
Pros- For the end user -
  • Since the app is downloaded to your device you are not as limited by weak or slow WiFi access speeds.
Cons - For the end user -
  • The end user will not be able to surf over to a web site and access the content the way they do it on their PC. They will need to purchase and install each application.
  • Many times end users will not have access to the necessary network speeds to download and install the Apps on the fly so they will need to think a head of time what applications they will need.
  • Each App cost money.

Pros and Cons of the Mobile Browser Approach (ReadyGo Mobile solution)

Pro Con
Pros - For the person(s) creating the app -
  • One development cycle works on all the different mobile devices that have a browser.
Cons- For the person(s) creating the app -
  • Need to test out and make sure the technology you are using to create your mobile web site is supported by the different mobile browsers. For example iPhone does not support Flash.
  • Some features that you may want to add my not be available across all mobile browsers.
  • Need to make sure that when you are developing your mobile accessible web site that it is slim so that your content will download and run fast on a mobile device.
Pros - For the end user -
  • Access when you want it where you want it, typically for free.
Cons- For the end user -
  • Does the technology deployed on the web site work on their mobile device?
  • Does the web site have the functionality and bandwidth so that it works well?