Why Native Apps Really are Doomed: Native Apps are Doomed pt 2
Eric Elliott
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It takes about 6 clicks to install a native app

Does this assume an app that requires access to location, mic, file system, and a few other permissions? I just installed PlayerFM in 5 clicks, and I’m started counting from the home screen on Android

Menu > Play Store > App Icon > Install > Open

And 5 clicks is being generous. I really just installed it in one click, the “Install” button. The rest got me to the point of install.

Compare that to opening a browser, typing the url (if you can remember it), maybe authenticating, etc. Maybe you’re lucky and your user was prompted to add your icon to their home screen, that would definitely simplify it… but that’s no guarantee

and worry about the scary permissions it will require

PWAs aren’t immune to asking for permissions.

If you continue to use it, you get prompted to install it to your home screen with one click

That’s a big “if”. Let’s consider what a person has to do to “continue to use it”. They have to first, remember to use it again. That’s some significant friction because out of sight, out of mind. But let’s assume they do remember, then they have to remember the URL (more friction) and then burdensomely type that URL in or dig through their bookmarks (lots of friction there either way). That’s some serious “install friction” in my opinion.

Instead of writing 3 different apps, one for Android, one for iOS, and one for the web, PWA app makers only need to build one app that works for all 3

There are other ways of cracking this nut. Better ways in my opinion… dare I say react native?

Personally, I’m a fan of the PWA and I think any app that can be built as a PWA should be. But I don’t think they are as capable or as performant as mobile apps (yet). As with most things, your milage may vary and we’ll need to first consider the requirements before choosing the right technology.

Eventually though, who knows.

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