A mobile application or ‘app’ is a type of software designed to run on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. They are different to mobile-optimised websites because they are designed to run on the native device, utilising device hardware such as the camera or accelerometer. They are usually distributed via the Apple App Store for iPhones, iPads or Google Play for Android mobile and tablet devices.

What is the purpose of a mobile app?

A mobile app enables users to access software from their smartphone or tablet device. Mobile apps load faster and function more smoothly than mobile browsers, resulting in a better user experience. Businesses are using mobile apps to improve their processes and accessibility for their customers. They are also easy to find and install from the Apple and Google app stores.

Benefits of a mobile app – Why build an app?

Interactivity – Native apps can be built to interact with all the features that the phone offers like the accelerometer, a camera and GPS.
Fewer Limitations – They aren’t limited by a browser and can be used offline.
Better User Experience – Mobile apps load and function quicker and more smoothly than mobile browsers or desktop computers.
Stickiness – When using a mobile app, visitors tend to spend 3-4 times longer online than they would when using a mobile site.
Wide Reach – Your app will reside on the Apple App Store and Google Play, so you’ll automatically be getting your app in front of people whose intent is to download an app.

What are mobile frameworks?

A mobile app framework is a collection of tools/libraries that are used by software developers to develop a mobile application.

There are a number of mobile app frameworks, each with their own set of features. Some frameworks work specifically with a certain mobile platform (i.e. Android or iOS), and some frameworks are known as ‘cross-platform’, meaning that they can be used to develop a mobile app that works on both platforms.

How long does it take to build a mobile app?

The amount of time it takes to build a mobile app is largely dependent on the complexity of the app and the structure of your project. Each stage in the process takes different amounts of time to complete, with the most time-consuming stages usually being the initial proposal and planning stages. These stages are arguably the most important in the app development process, as this is where you will determine how the app will be built and what features it will include.

Can I use an off-the-shelf mobile app?

Choosing between a bespoke mobile app and an off-the-shelf app depends entirely on the size and complexity of your main business goal. Smaller, more simple tasks where the requirement is very specific, such as calendar management or task tracking, are often solved with off-the-shelf products. Whereas more complex business objectives which require more data collection and various features, such as streamlining the delivery service and improving customer engagement, are better answered with a bespoke app.

An off-the-shelf app may be a cheaper and quicker option when compared with developing a bespoke mobile app, but you will never truly own that software, which means you will be unable to make any changes to the app or sell it on as a service. A bespoke mobile app can be a better long-term investment, especially if your business has plans for growth.

What are business mobile apps typically used for?

With everyone now having a mobile in their pocket, more and more businesses are choosing to develop dedicated mobile apps for their organisations. Business mobile apps are a great way of engaging with your customers, building a better customer experience and building brand awareness. The most common types of business mobile apps include eCommerce apps and customer portals.

Is a Mobile App better than a Web App?

Native mobile apps are built for a specific platform, such as iOS or for Android. They are downloaded and installed via an app store and have access to system resources, such as GPS and the camera function. Mobile apps live and run on the device itself.

Web apps, on the other hand, are accessed via the internet browser and will adapt to whichever device you’re viewing them on. They are not native to a particular system and don’t need to be downloaded or installed.
They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Web apps need an active internet connection in order to run, whereas mobile apps may work offline. Mobile apps have the advantage of being faster and more efficient, but they do require the user to regularly download updates.

What is a hybrid app?

Hybrid apps are a blend of both native and web application solutions, where the core of the application is written using web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), which run within a native container.