Understanding Mobile App Types + How to Choose the Right One for Your Business

Understanding Mobile App Types + How to Choose the Right One for Your Business
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: December 19, 2022

There are 2.87 million mobile applications on the Google Play Store, with 49% of users opening an app more than 11 times daily.

These numbers show that mobile apps have become essential to people's daily lives.

Mobile applications have redefined how people communicate, shop, entertain and play.

With the proliferation of mobile devices and increasing reliance on digital technologies, more businesses are now going mobile. And if your business is smartphone-based, you can't afford to turn down the power of a mobile app.

But before creating one, the first step is to understand the different mobile app types to choose the right one for your business needs.

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Powerful Mobile App Type: Native Apps

Native apps are designed to be used on a specific device platform or operating system like iOS or Android. This mobile app type offers superior performance since they have been optimized for the particular device and OS.

Technology Used

These apps are usually developed using a particular coding language specific to the device platform and operating systems, such as Java, C++, Kotlin, React, Objective-C, or Swift.

Advantages of Native Apps

Native apps offer an interactive user experience and have fewer compatibility issues than other app types.

This app is typically faster to configure and takes advantage of device operating systems better than other types of mobile apps.

Disadvantages of Native Apps

The singular focus of native apps makes them more reliable and faster, but it also means that development can be time-consuming.

As new features need to be added through a separate codebase, release cycles for native apps can take longer than other app types.

Examples of Native Apps

Some examples of native apps include WhatsApp, SoundCloud, and Spotify.

These applications have taken advantage of their native platform to create an interactive user experience and offer a variety of features that make them incredibly popular with users.

Is Native App the Right Choice for Your Business?

Native apps can offer a great user experience and fewer compatibility issues. However, they require more development time and longer release cycles. For those looking to build an app quickly and easily, they may not be the best option.

If you’re looking for an app that will provide an interactive user experience and offer reliable performance, then native apps may be the right choice for you.

Best Bang for the Buck: Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are a combination of native app features with a static website. They are built using standard web technologies and programming languages, but they are hosted on native app platforms such as Google Play or Apple App Store.

With a hybrid application, you only have to create one app that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Technology Used

The technology used in Hybrid apps includes Ionic, Objective C, Swift, and HTML5.

Advantages of Hybrid Apps

They offer the advantages of both native and mobile apps, such as the ability to access device features like vibration, capture, GPS, camera, microphone, geolocation, address book, etc., even when offline.

Hybrid apps are a cheaper option because of shareable codes.

These apps only need a shorter time to market as they can be deployed for multiple OS.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Apps

Since they download content from an external server, an internet connection is required.

This type of mobile app is not able to perform OS-specific tasks.

It’s also more expensive than web apps.

It has complex functions tending to slow down the app and be less interactive than native apps.

Examples of Hybrid Apps

Examples of Hybrid Apps include Gmail, Twitter, and Evernote.

Is Hybrid App the Right Choice for Your Business?

Hybrid apps are an excellent choice for businesses that want to create an app that can be used on multiple operating systems but don't have the budget or resources to develop native apps for each.

On the downside, hybrid apps may not be the best choice for businesses that require complex functions or high levels of interactivity, as these can slow down the app significantly.

If you are looking for a cost-effective way to develop an app that works across all platforms and doesn't require complex features, then a hybrid app could be the perfect solution.

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Great for User Experience: Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

PWAs are a hybrid of web and native app features. They are built using standard web development tools, yet they can be installed on a smartphone or tablet like a native app.

This mobile app type will look and feel like a native app and will run just as smoothly and quickly.

It can be even better than a native app since it can be constantly updated like a website. And, since it's built on standard web technologies, the app can be easily accessed on any device by any user.

Technology Used

PWAs use modern web technologies such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript to create a user interface similar to a native application.

Advantages of Progressive Web Apps

Unlike native apps, PWAs do not require any installation or storage space on the device. This makes them more cost-effective for businesses since they don’t need to pay for an expensive installation process.

PWAs also have the advantage of being able to be accessed from anywhere, which expands their reach and opens up new opportunities for businesses.

Another significant benefit of PWAs is that they are always up-to-date since they don’t require any updates to be downloaded by the user. This allows businesses to ensure that their users always have access to the latest version of their app.

Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps

The development time for a PWA is usually longer than with a native app due to the need for more advanced programming.

PWAs are more susceptible to security risks than native apps since they run on the web.

They may not work in offline mode and have limited access to certain device functionalities.

Some PWAs may have more difficulty gaining user awareness than native apps due to their lower visibility in app stores.

Examples of Progressive Web Apps

Examples of PWAs include Google Office Suite, Netflix, and Microsoft Office.

Is Progressive Web App the Right Choice for Your Business?

Progressive web apps are a great option if you're looking for an app that offers your customers a great user experience and works across multiple devices.

PWAs are fast, reliable, and can be used to develop powerful apps without spending the time and money associated with native development.

For Simple and Lightweight Apps: Cross-Platform Apps

Cross-platform apps are applications developed using a single source code that can be run on multiple platforms and devices.

These apps were initially used for making simple games or basic apps, but the technology has come a long way since then.

Technology Used

Cross-platform apps are built using CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. They can be created with VS Code, Android Studio, WebStorm, XCode, IntelliJ, Visual Studio, and Atom.

Advantages of Cross-Platform Apps

One of the main advantages of using cross-platform apps is that they are cost-effective and help reduce maintenance and development costs.

Additionally, the development process is usually faster with these apps than with native ones.

Cloud integration is also made simpler with cross-platform apps.

Disadvantages of Cross-Platform Apps

Cross-platform apps can be slower than native apps, depending on the complexity of the features and functions.

Cross-platform apps tend to have a less robust UI as they are built from one single codebase.

It can sometimes lack some native features that would otherwise be available.

There are limited tools for developing cross-platform apps.

Examples of Cross-Platform Apps

Some examples of cross-platform apps are Instagram, Skype, Airbnb, and eBay.

Is Cross-Platform App the Right Choice for Your Business?

If your business deals with many corporate data, a cross-platform app may not be for you as it's more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Generally speaking, startups and SMEs find cross-platform as a superior technology to simultaneously develop an app on platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows.

By building a single app, you can target Android and iOS, thus, maximizing your reach to the target audience.

5 Common Types of Mobile Apps by Function

Social Media

From connecting people across the globe to bringing people together in conversations, social media apps have become a vital part of the modern day.

Businesses can communicate with their customers directly, promote their products or services, and gain valuable insights into their market by having a presence on these platforms.


Lifestyle apps are becoming increasingly popular among users as they offer a range of convenient services that make life easier.

Whether you're looking for new music to listen to, an easy way to book a vacation, or help to get in shape, there's sure to be a lifestyle app to fit your needs.

These apps range from fitness to dating, food, music, and travel.

If you're developing a lifestyle mobile application, keep in mind that it should offer value and be worth the money your users pay.


Utility mobile apps, also known as productivity apps, are designed to help users complete tasks or provide specific information quickly and conveniently.

They come in various forms, such as calendar apps, note-taking apps, task management apps, financial tracking apps, weather forecasting apps, and many more.

These utility apps can benefit personal and professional use, making it easier for users to stay organized and informed about their daily tasks.

Giving users incentives to open the app frequently and use it regularly can give your business a steady stream of revenue.

To achieve this, you can offer rewards, discounts, or loyalty programs that encourage users to keep returning to your app.


Entertainment apps offer users the opportunity to engage in a fun activity.

Games are a great example of this type of app, as they allow users to play and compete against one another, test their skills, and solve puzzles. Other types of entertainment apps include augmented and virtual reality experiences.

Developers who create games for mobile apps should always focus on user engagement when creating their products.

While creating attractive graphics and entertaining soundtracks is essential, the key to creating a successful entertainment app is ensuring that users have an enjoyable experience while playing.

This means keeping track of user feedback and making sure that bugs are fixed quickly.


News and information apps are a crucial part of the mobile app market, as they offer users easy access to the latest news and developments in their industry.

Information apps often present their content in an easy-to-navigate layout that quickly takes users to the topics they care about most.

Creating a successful information app means delivering something unique and tailored to the type of news and updates your audience is interested in.

Understanding Mobile App Types: Wrapping Up

Mobile apps offer a lot of advantages to businesses and consumers alike. They provide a great way to engage users, increase customer loyalty, and drive sales.

With so many mobile application types available, choosing the right one for your business can take time.

The key is determining your goals, evaluating your users' needs, and considering the available technology options when deciding on an app type.

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