Progressive Web Apps

In 2016, Google introduced something called Progressive Web Apps or PWA which are apps that deliver an app like experience directly on web browsers such as chrome, safari, firefox, etc.  Progressive Web Apps or PWAs are an extension of your website. These apps load directly from the web browser and provide all basic functionalities of a native app with some added benefits.

Why Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?

The number of apps on the respective app stores on both iOS and Android platform has increased significantly in the past few years. The current apps are not only more and more complex, but they eat up more of your storage space, require more powerful processors and high speed internet connectivity. 

Just a couple of years ago, phones with 1GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage and dual core processors were considered sufficient to run most of the apps smoothly. 

The latest version of the apps have become larger. Apps like WhatsApp, Uber, Facebook, Chrome etc. take up around 100-300 MB of space at the time of installation but eventually with updates and user data consume a ton of space. 

But a quick look at the smartphone market shows that we have now phones with terabytes of storage and more ram than our laptops!

Most of the population in the developing countries refrain from upgrading their mobile phone regularly or still use basic smartphones with slow internet connectivity. This reason coupled with the expensive price tag that comes with developing an app, pose a major hurdle to companies to penetrate new markets.

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

  1. It doesn’t require a blazing fast internet connection and can load and work smoothly on low data speeds like 2G
  2. The basic static version doesn’t even require an internet connection after first time loading
  3. These take up negligible space on your smartphone (50-100 Kbs) compared to the average of 100-300 MBs of storage required by traditional apps
  4. You don’t have to install it or update it on your smartphone via an app store 
  5. The PWAs don’t have access to your hardware and don’t require access to your contacts, GPS, Bluetooth, etc. so they don’t have any privacy issues

Companies like Twitter, Google, Uber, Pinterest etc. understood the potential of such Progressive Web Apps and launched such versions of their own apps with the tagline ‘lite’ to attract customers.

As a result, the number of tweets on Twitter increased by 75% with 70% less data consumption whereas the user engagement increased by 60% on Pinterest. 

Progressive Web Apps Development Process

What can PWA do for your business and should you adopt it?

Whatever the size of your company may be, startup or a well-settled multinational business, Progressive web apps can do wonders for you.

  1. Considering the budget constraints when it comes to developing native mobile apps, PWAs can be developed much faster and at a much lower cost which is a huge bonus for small business owners looking to try their hands in the app market.
  2. You can target customers with low-end smartphones which is a huge section of the population in developing countries
  3. With limited 4G LTE or high-speed WIFI access and still prevalent 2G/3G in most of the world, you can target customers even in remote regions with limited bandwidth 
  4. More customers’ equals more revenue which means you can expand your business even further
  5. Since these work on the web, you don’t need to spend money to separately update the app in respective app stores
  6. These apps can be directly installed from the home screen of your website so no need to host it on App stores and spend money to adhere to their strict guidelines
  7. You can use these apps from your home-screen just like native apps
  8. Works both on iOS and Android

You can use Progressive Web Apps in addition to mobile apps to enhance your digital arsenal or simply use it to experiment with new ideas. PWAs have revolutionized the way we interact with our phones. With websites doing all the heavy work, you and your customers don’t need expensive high-end phones to experience world-class apps. This means access to a huge section of people and revenues unlike before.