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Apps vs Mobile Web

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AppsWe’ve all seen the numbers. There are currently over 1 billion smartphone users worldwide and many analysts predict that by 2014 more people will be accessing the web from their phones than from their PC’s. If you look deeper into the numbers you’ll probably agree with one of Mary Meeker’s predictions: “businesses that adapt well to the mobile web will win big, while the others will wonder what just happened”.

If you’ve already started considering a mobile strategy, you’ve probably run into someone who’s asked the question: where should we start? An App and a Mobile Website? Fortunately, there is no shortage of information. The first few articles I read favoured apps focusing on ease of use and the popularity of Apple’s AppStore. I remember one article with the title “The Web is Dead”, published in September 2010 by a popular tech magazine.

A few months later I started seeing more articles talking about the advantages of Mobile Websites. And, it has now reached the point where the decision is almost unanimous. Everyone acknowledges that apps can provide a more feature rich experience – at least for now – because apps can work seamlessly with the devices native applications and hardware. But what makes the final decision easier are the starting costs and ROI. Maintaining a single mobile website that works across all devices is significantly cheaper than building one application per platform and supporting multiple versions, since your users will not update to the latest version of your app at the same time.

Besides the arguments stated above, every author has many other very good points. But before we continue going down this path and get very detailed about advantages and disadvantages, let’s ask ourselves these questions:

Do companies need to choose between an App and a Mobile Website? Is the Apps vs Mobile Websites discussion relevant?

The answer to both questions is: no. Apps and Mobile Websites serve different purposes and companies do not have to choose one over the other.

Apps are great for tasks, an example is an expense tracking app. I’m not going to brag about my personal finance skills but at least I like knowing where my money goes by entering my expenses into the app and generating reports. After I pay for a product or service, I record the transaction, and once or twice a month I generate a report to see how much I’m spending and where.

Description: C:\Users\israel.martinez\Desktop\Web.png

Mobile websites, on the other hand, are great for lookups. Picture this situation. You’re at a restaurant and you want to learn more about an ingredient in the dish you ordered. What would you do next? a) Navigate to Google and search for information, or b) start downloading apps from the App Store (or Android Market) until you find one that has the information you’re looking for. Most of the time, the answer is going to be a).

Today, there are over a billion people looking for information from their smartphones and the number is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. If your company cannot afford to provide a poor experience to these users then you need to stay tuned for DotNetNuke 6.1.0.

And, if your organization creates mobile games, your products need access to hardware (like GPS) or you offer services that can be considered tasks (like monitoring the activity of your DotNetNuke website), then you may want to consider building apps too. Here are some great examples of DotNetNuke related apps:

  •          Site Control by Coding Staff helps you monitor the activity of your DotNetNuke website
  •          DNN News by InteractiveWebs helps you browse the latest news, modules and skins information about the DotNetNuke CMS from your mobile device
  •          DotNetNuke & Catalook Activity Suite by Solaro allows the shop owner to check Catalook activities


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