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I ditched Apple and Android for the PWAs

I’ve been building apps for almost 7 years — I have decided to move on.

My job requires me to ship apps for my clients. I’ve built a robust framework over the last 4 months, have paying customers and many willing to do so — yet I feel native apps is a thing of the past. My startup needs to be ready for the future.

Why did I choose to build native apps in the first place?

They give a native experience

They’re smooth and work just fine. Great performance.

Discovery through app stores

You can install it from the app stores and trust that you won’t be scammed

Have home screen presence

You install an app and it shows up just along side Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Your phone screen is precious real estate.

Novelty of apps

A lot of our clients have never considered the possibility of having their own apps. Selling apps was easy.

What sucked about native apps?

Install through the app stores only

You need to install an app. You install an app only if you intend to use it regularly. Very few people install an app to just check it out.

App reviews

Android and Apple have their walled garden to protect. The app reviews helps keep people safe from scams. The cost of compliance was huge. Our business demands us to ship new apps regularly — for different clients. Going through the review process was a huge cost of compliance.

Payments (!)

Many of our clients sell digital content. Apple takes a 30% cut, Google 20%. That’s huge. That’s so huge it makes business infeasible for smaller creators. Most of our clients are small creators.

Also, payments can be made only with the inbuilt payment mechanism. Users cannot pay using Wallets they use in their daily life. This is especially a concern in India where people use PayTM, BHIM and the like a lot.

I’m now rebuilding my framework on PWAs

Progressive web apps is still an emerging technology and a lot of standardization and features still need to catch up. Especially on iOS. That’s been the primary reason to not have picked PWAs 4 months back.

Nothing dramatic has happened in the last 4 months in terms of PWA progress. But I’ve had my hands burnt.

I don’t want to sit through compliance tests of an Apple or Android. I’m responsible for not shipping crap. I’ll slowly build the credibility.

I don’t want to pay a 30% transaction fees! Netflix and Spotify famously encourage users to make the payment on their website rather than on the app.

I want people to be able to just check out my clients’ apps. They may choose to install it though.

With PWAs, my clients can go from idea to launched in less than 5 minutes.

I think this is the future — permissionless software distribution.

This is like starting a new job. I’m making my bets today. I’ll keep you updated about how it turned out.

Do you think PWAs will be the future?

Let me know in comments, would love to hear what you think!

I’m writing a weekly blog about how I’m running my company in real life. Please do help me out if you think I can do something better! I’d love to discuss.

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Madhavan Malolan

Madhavan Malolan

CEO ; hacker

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