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PWA v/s Apps

For those of you who tried Socionity.com would have noticed that we generate a new kind app called a Progressive Web App – just for you. This doesn’t live on the Play Store or App Store. Inspite of it’s shortcomings, we found it superior to the regular apps.

More importantly, we think this is the future. We’re making an early bet.

Vocabulary

When you say app, you usually refer to an app that can be downloaded from the app store. However there is this new kind of an app called Progressive Web App that is a new kind of an app that doesn’t sit in the app store.

An app is just a software that runs on your device. We’ve been accustomed to the notion of apps to be something to be found on the app stores alone. However, for years before the app stores became popular we’ve been installing and running apps on our PCs downloaded from websites or loaded from CDs. Just that we called them softwares, now we call them apps.

Monopoly

Both Google and Apple have a monopoly on the app store on their respective operating systems. It’s only a time before someone sues them for it.

There is no apparent reason why apps should be distributed only by Google or Apple.

PWAs break that monopoly. You get to stand on your own feet. You get to break away and distribute your app on your own. With PWAs, you don’t need to pay the gatekeeper charges to just get listed on the app stores.

With Socionity’s PWA, you can by pass all those payments.

In App Purchases

Particularly worrying about the monopoly of App Store and Play Store is that they levy a hefty 30% commission on any digital good (aka video, audio) bought on an app hosted on the app store.They aren’t even the developers of the app. They levy a hefty charge and disallow competition. That’s unfair.

Granted, Socionity levies a commission too. But we power the technology that actually makes your app run. Also, any new company can come about and charge a lower commission – and you are welcome to change platforms when you do find a cheaper and better alternative.

Devices

I’ll quit ranting about Apple and Google. There are some real good reasons why PWAs are more powerful.

They are powered largely by the same technology that powers the internet. So, that means the app can run on any device that can connect to the internet. Your laptop, mobile, smart TV, smart watch – all alike. You can run a PWA on any device.

Your app made with Socionity runs on laptops, mobiles and TVs. One app on every device.

Size

PWAs are super small. Usually amounting to a couple of MBs, they’re far smaller and quicker to load than any of their regular counterpart.

This encourages people to install the app. And, they don’t have to wait for the app to download and install.

Sample

There’s no way to give a sample of the app on the App Stores. You must download it, if you don’t like it … uninstall it.

With PWAs, they can check out your app without even downloading the app. It loads the app within the internet browser. It’s a great way to give a sneak peek of the app, without asking them to download it.

Purchase

Continuing from the previous section, you can ask users to make a purchase without having to ask them to install.

It is a well known secret, that the easier you make it for the customer to make a purchase, better the conversion you get.

Asking the user to download the app is an necessary delay.

Socionity’s app makes it possible to make a purchase within 5s.

Disadvantages

That said, not all is rosy. PWA is a nascent technology, and a work in progress as against regular apps that have been around for most of the last decade. By virtue of that there are some shortcomings

Notifications

The biggest shortcoming is notifications on iPhones. PWAs can’t send notifications on iPhones yet.

The way we overcome this, is that we send an email whenever we’re not able to send a notification.

Android notifications work great, though.

Performance

When compared head to head, there are places where the performance of the PWA is a little worse.

Things keep getting better, but for most of the cases, the difference in performance is unnoticeable.

Privacy

Some apps like Snapchat prevent you from taking a screen recording on Android phones.

This is something that is not possible on PWAs. The way we overcome this is by using dynamic watermarking so that we can catch the culprit found guilty of screen recording premium content.

Independence

If you really want to be independent in the modern day and age, without being screwed by the underlying platform, you should definitely consider launching a PWA. It might not be the right bet always, but it’s almost always a good question to explore.


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