August 30, 2023

Revolutionizing Reach: The Case for Progressive Web Apps vs Native Solutions

The Complex Choice Between Progressive Web Apps and Native Solutions

When planning a digital transformation, a company faces the question of how exactly it will be implemented. To determine the right strategy, it's best to consult professionals who will think everything through at the discovery phase.

If the question arises of creating software for company users, one should immediately decide in which format it should be presented. It can either be implemented as a progressive web app (PWA) or developed as native solutions. Each approach has its merits in different scenarios.

Native solutions are more complex in terms of development, hence they take more time and increase the budget. Progressive web apps, on the other hand, are quickly built on platforms like React and other tools today. They are easy to maintain and are not tied to a specific operating system.

However, it's essential to understand that native solutions can offer significantly more functionalities, regardless of the platform for which they are developed. They can access specific features of the devices on which they run. Xtract One and RoomRenderAI, for instance, are developed as native solutions.

How Progressive Web Apps Differ from Native Solutions

YouTube PWA

Progressive web apps (PWAs) can effortlessly operate on any device regardless of the platform. It doesn't matter whether they are launched on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. The operating system also doesn't matter since they essentially utilize the browser's engine.

Largely, one should perceive PWAs as websites with enhanced functionalities. Such software doesn't need to be searched for in app stores or endure lengthy installations. However, this comes at the cost of limited functionality and practical uselessness without an internet connection.

Native solutions are full-fledged applications tailored for a specific platform. It doesn't matter whether native development tools or cross-platform tools are used for their creation. An application designed for iOS won't run on Android, no matter how much one might wish it.

Speaking of mobile devices, native solutions need to be installed from app stores such as the App Store or Google Play. They are written in specific programming languages and can utilize the specific hardware capabilities of the device or device range they are intended for.

PWA vs Native Solutions: What the Technology Giants Choose

Unsplash PWA

Twitter launched its PWA in 2017, offering its users push notifications and the ability to view recent messages offline. Thanks to this, they quickly achieved a 75% increase in audience activity and boosted the duration of each session by 65%.

In 2017, Starbucks also launched its progressive web app. The coffee chain's customers appreciated this innovation and began using this tool more actively for pre-orders. Consequently, the variety of items they started to select increased by 23%.

Instagram is available not only as a progressive web app but also as a far more functional native solution. This social network's software is considered one of the most downloaded globally, with its monthly audience comprising at least a couple of billion users.

Uber's mobile application for its ride-hailing service is developed as a native solution, mainly because a PWA's capabilities would hardly suffice for all its functionalities. It continuously tracks geolocation, incorporates a payment system, and offers a myriad of diverse features.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps


  • PWAs are considerably cheaper in initial development and ongoing maintenance;
  • Progressive web apps load quickly and are ready for use after a brief interval;
  • PWAs are compatible with almost all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers running different operating systems;
  • Progressive web apps don't occupy much storage space on the device;
  • PWAs are better suited for attracting traffic through SEO since they are accessible as websites and indexed by search engines.


  • PWAs are highly limited in accessing the hardware capabilities of devices;
  • Progressive web apps aren't distributed via the App Store or Google Play, so they can sometimes be hard to find;
  • PWAs aren't as secure as native solutions;
  • Due to functional limitations, user engagement with progressive web apps might be less significant.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Solutions


  • Native solutions operate faster and are more energy-efficient since they are designed for a single platform;
  • They often look better, tailored for specific device lines;
  • The range of capabilities in such apps is usually much broader;
  • They can store any amount of data offline and be fully utilized without an internet connection;
  • It's easier to find them through app stores.


  • Such solutions demand more resources and time for development, and separate apps must be created for specific platforms;
  • Maintenance of native solutions is also a more complex and expensive task;
  • Native apps typically take longer to download onto a device, so persuading users to do so can be a challenge.

Which is Better: Progressive Web Apps or Native Solutions

Complex applications like Affinity Photo cannot be implemented as a PWA

When it comes to deciding between PWA or native solutions, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. It heavily relies on a plethora of factors. Focus21 specialists, in collaboration with the software client, tackle these considerations during the discovery phase, which precedes the core development process.

One of the primary motivations behind opting for progressive web apps is their cost-effectiveness, rapid development cycle, and subsequent maintenance. Such demands can be met efficiently by a compact team of developers who can swiftly address almost all of the client's specifications.

The inclination towards native solutions is often due to the need to harness specific hardware capabilities of the target devices. Moreover, these solutions tend to perform significantly faster and usually have a more polished appearance.

Just as with the decision of a particular programming language or the selection of development tools, it's not feasible to strictly advocate for progressive web apps over native solutions, or vice versa. Both stand as quintessential instruments for digital transformation in any business scenario, and they frequently coexist in many strategies.

Need help with your progressive web app or native solution?


Mykola (Nick) Hrytsaienko


Software Development

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