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Progressive Web Apps vs Instant Applications for Android

In recent years, the advancement of technology has enabled the creation of new formats of mobile applications that differ from traditional so-called mobile applications such as Progressive Web Applications and Instant Applications for Android.

In native or traditional mobile applications, site content is designed to suit mobile devices, navigation is easy and there is integration with familiar mobile phone features such as camera, microphone, etc.

Both Progressive Web Applications and Android Instant Applications have some common elements to native mobile apps and responsive sites. However, there are some differences between the two formats, which can be decisive in deciding which one best suits your needs.

Let's start with Progressive Web Applications, which combine the best of both worlds: speed, interaction with the application and the possibility of offline use without downloading. In this case, one of the major disadvantages of responsive sites is eliminated - the dependence on an often unstable internet connection.

Progressive Web Applications can be started by tapping an icon on the mobile device's screen. Other features of native mobile applications such as push notifications, geolocation, camera access and microphone are features that these applications also offer.

They "inherited" of responsive websites the ability to share via a link and access on any device.

Instant Applications for Android, which we've covered previously, offer a different experience. Like Progressive Web Apps, Instant Apps can be shared by a link. This link will open an elementary and reduced version of the application that does not require downloading. If you want, you can always download the full version of the app, but if you do not have that need you can only use the fraction of the app you want.

Typically, because of the way they are designed, users do not detect differences between a native mobile application and Instant Applications. For businesses that already have a mobile app, Instant Apps for Android are an update to the existing mobile application.

Similarities Between Progressive Web Applications and Instant Applications for Android:

  • Interface similar to a native application;

  • Offline use;

  • Fast loading;

  • No download required;

  • They can be shared through a link;

  • They can be easily started from an icon on the phone screen.

Differences Between Progressive Web Applications and Instant Applications for Android:

  • Progressive Web Applications do not have integration with some smartphone functionalities like access to contacts, bluetooth, flashlight, etc., while Instant Applications always have;

  • Progressive Web Applications can be discovered by search engines;

  • Progressive Web Applications need to be developed according to Google's criteria for Web applications. On the other hand, Instant Applications can be based on previously existing applications, requiring only an upgrade.

There is no answer to the question: which of these options is the best solution for my business? Both Progressive Web Applications and Instant Applications bypass some of the disadvantages of responsive sites and native applications, but each has specific benefits. Review the differences and similarities between Progressive Web Applications and Instant Applications for Android and determine which one best fits your goals and your business.

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