The rapid development of different operating systems, such as Android, Windows, iOS and mobile devices, from smartphones, tablets to notebooks and smart TVs, makes companies think more. According to a study conducted by the market research institute GfK, more than 60% of adults in the US use at least two devices per day and approximately 25% use at least three devices. Therefore, it is important that the app is available on all different devices and works without problems. This expectation has increased the need for platform-independent hybrid and cross-platform applications.

Platform-independent apps are becoming increasingly important in companies that need different devices. In particular, by the advent of the phenomenon Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) companies are faced with the task of providing internal programs and applications for all operating systems and device types. Mobility and flexibility also play a key role. An application that runs on desktop computers, for example, should also work with the external customer visit on the tablet or on the road while on the smartphone. It tries to develop as easily as possible for several platforms at the same time. Google ported large parts of the source code of Inbox, using the software “J2ObjC”, from Java to Objective-C. Microsoft also offers a “Windows Bridge” a way to develop Windows Apps with iOS APIs.

Web apps

Mobile web apps are accessed through the mobile device’s web browser and do not require any installation. They use web standards like HTML5 or JavaScript, so they can be operated on any terminal. Unlike mobile apps that need to be deployed for each platform, an implementation of web apps can be used on many different platforms. A mobile web app ideally behaves like a native app, so the user is not perceived as a web page, but instead offers a user interface, which integrates itself into the mobile terminal optically and ergonomically. Disadvantages of web apps are that they can not access all hardware components and that the available data transfer speed plays an important role. A slow Internet connection (partly due to poor network reception) can lead to noticeable delays in interactivity.

When using web apps, more data is usually transmitted than when using a native app. Thus, higher transmission charges (particularly roaming charges abroad) can be an obstacle for many users to use mobile web apps, for example on holiday. The caching of the required data in a local memory (cache) is a practical way to make it available in offline mode. However, the amount of data stored in the device using Web storage technology is usually very limited.

Unlike all other types of mobile apps, mobile web apps can not be offered in App Stores.