Mobile web apps are not actually apps. In truth, they are websites that are designed to look and feel like a mobile app. These “apps” are popular because of their low cost and cross-platform compatibility. These apps are built using HTML5, which is a browser-based programming language.
Mobile web apps are accessed through web browsers on mobile devices, rather than through app stores. Users add web apps to their home screens during the first session, which places an icon on their device’s screen. In subsequent sessions, users simply tap on that icon to open the app.
Mobile web app interfaces look almost exactly like native apps, and can be accessed from any smartphone or tablet, including Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile devices.
While mobile apps are much cheaper to create than true native apps, they come with a few notable restrictions. First, not all device features can be leveraged through a mobile web app. For apps that require such advanced functionality, such as running in the background, a native app is a much better choice. Second, mobile apps are not listed in app stores. This means that users will need to know the app’s browser URL in order to access it for the first time. Finally, mobile web apps generally run and respond to input slightly slower than native mobile apps.