What's the Difference Between a Mobile Website and an App?
- Platform Specific vs Browser Friendly- Mobile apps need to be developed to run on a specific platform - Apple, Android, Blackberry, etc whereas a mobile website is developed to work across all platforms using your web browser, just like a regular website.
- Functionality and Purpose- Apps are usually a good choice if you have a lot of interactive content, such as gaming, but are not really necessary if you're just repurposing content on that's already on the web. If you want a tool to allow people to get general information about your business, a mobile site is likely a better option. If you want a highly interactive tool, an app may be better.
- Search and Use- Apps need to be downloaded and installed whereas mobile sites are available on any browser. Also, a mobile website can be found via search engines like Google, whereas an app will be available through app stores like iTunes.
- Freedom- Mobile apps are subject to various regulations regarding distribution, payment and the type of content that can be delivered. Whereas mobile websites are free of this red tape.
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Want a second opinion? Read about yesterday's article in WSJ: On the Menu: The Future of Mobile Apps