Is It Better To Build a PWA or Native Apps in 2019?


Are we getting close to the end of Native apps with the new beginning for PWA?

There was a battle between PWA and Native apps for a while, but it quickly switched to “Why PWA vs Native is the wrong question?”.

Before the golden age of PWA, when you had a product, you wanted to build a “Web version + Android app + iOS app” for it.

But since PWA is becoming more and more “just like native apps” (especially Android), the battle is not “PWA vs Native” anymore, but more “PWA vs iOS”, as Android supports most of the functionalities in browsers, and iOS don’t.

Push Api is still not supported in Safari.

One of the most famous functionalities which is not supported in Safari is “push api” (state for 07.06.2019 based on caniuse), and apparently it’s not going to change soon, but every single month there is a new feature coming up to deliver the “native” experience to the PWA users.

caiuse screen with push api

So, considering PWA cheaper and easier to use, is Native have any future at all then?

We learned that in the IT world, the one day we are absolutely sure about doing one, and the next day we have to switch and do another.

So let’s at least check, what makes a PWA development a better choice than Native app development.

PWA doesn’t recuire any installation.


One of the most important differences from the user’s perspective, is that PWA doesn’t require any downloading, or installation.

It is both more comfortable and time efficient, as searching, downloading, installing, or updates, is still a matter of additional effort and commitment.

The total cost

ASO vs SEO and the Distribution

ASO is the mobile app equivalent for web SEO.

When you want to distribute your Native app, you still have to think about the discoverability of it in store. This takes again, time, effort and increases development costs.

More than that, you have to submit the app to a different app stores, which makes it a pain to actually get it fully up and running.

The most popular are:

  • Apple App Store
  • Android Play Store
  • Windows Store
  • Amazon Appstore

All of them have a specific certifications that your app has to pass and it’s not always free.

To distribute a PWA, all you need is a link and a browser.

Build, maintenance and updates costs

When you want to build a Native app, you have to be familiar with the languages and make sure you have at least two working versions – iOS and Android.

But development itself is just a part of the pain, as you always have to remember about the additional resources for maintenance and updates.

With PWA – once written, works everywhere.

What’s still missing in PWA?

However, there are still some small bits that keeps Native apps on surface.

Even if PWA is really “Progressive” and it seems that adaptation of all the native app features is just a matter of time, some of the functionalities are not there yet, and may never be.

There is not much, but you can always find the updated information on What Web Can Do Today.

whatwebcando graph with features

Obviously, the web makers are working hard to change the status, and make sure, we can use all the blessings of native apps in our web browsers, so the future seems to be more kind to PWA.

Choosing Native

The question may be “why would anyone choose native then?”.

There are still few things that makes Native apps competitive to PWA.

Building Native app may be a good choice when:

  • It requires more computing power.
  • You want to use more smartphone features in the app.
  • You want to have more security options.
  • Having a native app in the app store is still a great brand credibility.

So… which one you want us to build for you?

If you still hesitating, let us know. We are happy to help, starting from your hesitation.

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