Google may have taken the first step regarding its feelings on the future of the app store building upon its site-to-home screen feature in Android to allow users to add Progressive Web Apps to their home screen.
In the near future, it’s likely that that users will no longer be able to perceive a difference between a website and mobile app, and according to an article in Venture Beat this will kill the future of the app store. This is not a new theory, foreshadowed by one author in 2011 who stated that web apps are a real threat to the app store’s existence.
The reasoning behind Google’s push for this new add-to-home screen feature is the same as many of Google’s ideas, being their commitment to providing a positive user experience for everyone.
The new Android feature allows users to install web pages from their chrome browser so that they look and function just like apps downloaded from the app store. The possibility of creating an app-like environment on a web page could cut down on development work and update cycles required to launch a competitive native app, but stumbling blocks still exist.
Three Big Advantages of Native Apps over Web Apps
The future of the app store shouldn’t be in too much doubt right now, as there are hurdles that need to be overcome in order for web apps to truly take over native apps and their place in the app store.
Discovery – The app store is essentially a search engine for apps. With Google behind this innovation in web apps and being the largest search engine in the world it is possible that they make even more changes to their mobile algorithm to give web apps priority over traditional web pages in search results.
Browser Compatibility – Building an app for Android or iOS ensures that users receive a quality experience on their device. With web apps, the experience has to be tested and tailored for multiple browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari and others.
Quality Control – Both the Android and iOS store hold developers to high standards. Not everything can go in the app store. Without the app store policing quality, web apps could become the Wild West.
Is A Doomsday Future of the App Store Likely?
It seems overly ambitious to think that the way mobile phone apps have been used, developed and marketed for a decade will be turned upside down in short time. The author of the Venture Beat piece makes a prediction that in the next six months, major brands will shift their attention to developing and releasing mobile web apps and cancelling plans to update their native apps, and that by the end of 2018 consumers will ditch the app stores completely.
While deep linking, improved mobile browsing experiences and app-like features on web pages are certainly updates that we would like to see become more mainstream, turning the app stores into a grave yard and sun setting apps altogether seems like a proposition that could cause more harm than good for everyone – including consumers.
Let’s Build a Native App Together
Native Apps aren’t going away anytime soon. App development also isn’t limited to just phones. At ThrottleNet, we develop business apps for iOS and Android, sure, but also have expertise creating apps for connected devices, streaming platforms, personal assistants and wearables. Learn more about our mobile app development capabilities and contact us to get started.