Mobile Apps: Types and Categories

Types of Mobile Apps

Types of Mobile apps

1. Native apps

Built exclusively for a mobile devices operating system can not be used on a platform other than the one it was created for .therefore they are “native” to a particular platform or device.


Native apps can be accessed and installed from their respective app stores eg- Android apps on Google Play Stores, iOS apps on App Store, etc.


Native apps live on the device and are accessed through icons on the device home screen and can take full advantage of all the device features — they can use the camera, the GPS, the accelerometer, the compass, the list of contacts, and so on.


They can use the device’s notification system and can work offline.Have to create separate apps for the other platforms which would require its own separate support and maintenance


Has access to wide range of APIs.


Technologies and Tools used

Native Android apps can be developed in Java,Kotlin and C++ programming languages .

Some of the advanced android development tools include Android SDK,Firebase and Android Jetpack.


Native iOS apps can be developed using Objective-C or Swift.

Some of the development tools include iOS SDK, Xcode ,Swift Playgrounds and TestFlight



Advantages of native apps:
  • Natives are very fast.Fast and reliable
  • Consistent look and feel
  • They’re generally more efficient with the device’s resources than other types of mobile apps
  • High performance and ensuring good user experience as developers use native device UI
Disadvantages of native apps:
  • Built for a single platform.The code you create for one platform cannot be reused on another.
  • Expensive to develop.
  • And hard to maintain.


Examples: Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb etc


2. Hybrid apps

Hybrid apps are combinations of both native and web apps, but wrapped within a native container, giving it the ability to have its own icon or be downloaded from either app store.

A hybrid app is one that is written with the same technology used for websites and mobile web implementations, and that is hosted or runs inside a native container on a mobile device.


Hybrid apps are also popular because they allow cross-platform development ie the same HTML code components can be reused on different mobile operating systems, reducing significantly the development costs


They’re really web apps made to look native.


There is much less code to maintain. because they use a single code base.Single code base for all platforms ensures low-cost maintenance and smooth updates. 


Hybrid apps are fast and relatively easy to develop and are developed to target multiple platforms.The same code can be reused across platforms.


They are built using multi-platform web technologies like HTML5, CSS and Javascript . Native APIs are used to get access to camera, geolocation.  Widely used APIs, like gyroscope, accelerometer, geolocation are available.

A web-to-native abstraction layer enables access to device capabilities that are not accessible in Mobile Web applications, such as the accelerometer, camera and local storage


Advantages of hybrid apps:
  • Low cost maintenance and smooth updates
  • They allow cross platform development and thus significantly reduce development costs.


Disadvantages of hybrid apps:
  • Hybrid applications lack in performance, speed and overall optimisation in comparison to native apps
  • Design issues due to app inability to look in exactly the same way on two or more platforms .


Examples :Twitter , Uber , Evernote etc


 3. Mobile web apps

Web apps are mobile optimised web pages that look like an app run within a mobile device’s web browser.


There’s no need to install anything from app stores. They are delivered via the internet; they are not separate programs that get stored on the user’s mobile device


Users first access them as they would access any web page: they navigate to a special URL and then have the option of “installing” them on their home screen by creating a bookmark to that page on your device


 Written in languages like HTML,Objective-C,Swift,C++,C#etc


Advantages of web apps:
  • Because it’s web-based, there is no need to customise to a platform or OS. This cuts down on development costs.
  • They won’t take up space on your device memory because nothing is downloaded to the device like a native app and can be easily updated over the web


Disadvantages of web apps:
  • The drawback is access to not that many APIs for developers, with exception of geolocation and few others.
  •  Web apps are entirely dependent on the browser used on the device. There will be functionalities available within one browser and not available on another, possibly giving users varying experiences.
  • Even if they have an offline mode, the device will still need an internet connection to back up the data on your device, offer up any new data, or refresh what’s on screen.


Categories of apps

There are 33 categories of apps in Google Play and 24 categories in Apple’s App Store.


From a users perspective  they can be classified into

  1. Gaming

According to a report from Statista, more than 24%of all mobile application fall into this category

Mobile games now account for 33% of installs, 10% of time and 74% of consumer spend(Source: TechCrunch)

pubg logo

PubG mobile ,one of the more popular and downloaded mobile app made around 65million


2. Educational apps
TED logo

Some of the benefits of these apps include remote learning and teaching away from the classroom.

  •         Duolingo – Learn Languages for Free
  •         TED


3. Lifestyle Apps
They are apps that make your life better.
Venmo logo

They include apps related to Fitness ,Dating ,Music and Travel.

  • Venmo
  • Ebay
  • Tinder
4. Entertainment apps
Netflix logo

Used for streaming and watching videos online.

  • Netflix 
  • Amazon Prime Video


5. Utility Mobile Apps

They come pre-installed on your device and serve one purpose

Examples include Calculator ,Flashlight ,Reminders


6. Travel apps

Uber logo

They help you plan out your trip and are also used during the trip.

Examples of travel apps:

  •  Uber
  • Ola
  • Trip Advisor
  • Google Maps
7. Social media Apps

Social media apps helps people establish better relationships with their family and friends.

Examples include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram


8. Informational Apps

They include

  • Google news
  • Reddit
  • Buzzfeed



Each type has its own pros and cons ,understanding your requirements and what would help get you the best return on your app is key.

Once you’ve made your decision if you do not have your own team of developers get in touch with a mobile app development company that can bring your idea to life within your time frame and budget.

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