With the internet being increasingly dominated by apps, consumers are now glued to their smartphones throughout the day. But, the biggest challenge for all smartphone users tends to be storage. There is never enough for users to keep as many apps as they want. Therefore, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) come into play as they offer an experience that combines the best of the web and the best of apps.
A PWA is a web development technology that uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience to users. It works regardless of browser choice, and fits on any device or platform such as desktop, mobile or tablet. Also, it allows users to keep the apps they find most useful on their home screen without the hassle of an app store. All you need to have is a browser app on your device.
Not many consumers are aware of Progressive Web Apps in India today, and they spend a lot of time juggling different apps. Developers should make that exponential effort to bridge the gap and make their users aware of the differences between the mobile web and native apps.
Native apps live on phones and also eat up a lot of RAM. Progressive web apps live on the web. With progressive apps, users do not have to install any software, nor visit an app store to download, install or update an app, but can still enjoy the full features of a web application by simply visiting a URL. Some people like using the web version of a service rather than installing software, especially when they do not need to use that app regularly. And, PWAs work and perform like a standard app, thus maintaining proper customer experience and engagement traits.
We think this is a game-changer because users don’t really care where the information is coming from—the device or the web. It just works!
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How to use a PWA
If you have the Chrome or Opera for Android browser on your Android device, you can enjoy the benefits of PWA. The websites you bookmark can now become apps. Open a website in the Opera for Android mobile browser, for example, and tap ‘Add’ when a notification appears asking if you’d like to add it to your home screen. Go back to
your home screen. When you tap on the icon, it will open in full screen mode and behave just like an app.
PWAs offer a great new way for developers and businesses to reach users right in the web browser, without requiring them to download additional apps–all in a very lightweight, user-friendly package. They offer a great app-like experience that loads fast, uses less data and re-engages users in multiple ways, even on flaky networks. Users can also choose to add the site to their home screen with just two taps. The dynamics are quite suitable for this market because, as you go beyond tier 1 cities, the inertia to download an app over a data network is still an issue and the network itself is somewhat questionable in India. The advent of PWA technology can certainly find a place in people’s mobile phones and also reshape the mobile internet industry in coming years.
The Nuno Sitima writer is executive vice-president, mobile business unit, Opera Software