ASM Opinion – Apps Or The Browser
One of the benefits of a modern Android device is the ability to install and use third party applications. There are over a million apps available from the Google Play Store covering all sorts of subjects, from online banking to games to social media. Chances are if you can think of something you might want to do on your device, you’ll find a relevant application in the Google Play Store – and there are plenty of apps that we hadn’t thought of either!
Along with the massive numbers of applications available on the Google Play Store, Android’s stock web browser, Chrome, has also been improved. Google has also invested in technologies such as AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which dramatically improves how quickly compatible websites can load. Google have improved how Chrome can keep passwords safe and provide websites with login credentials. Companies have also invested in their mobile websites, and Google is now promoting better behaved applications first. In some cases, customers have a choice between using the third party application or using the browser, and both options appear equally good.
The better apps are faster and easier to use compared with the mobile website, and often provide additional features. They can offer improved security, such as password, PIN or fingerprint access security and use less data in use compared with visiting the mobile website. As they are embedded into the device, you can use Android’s powerful “share” facility and get the app to handle data for you, such as emailing a picture. Can you imagine the same process via the web interface on your Android device?
The mobile website ensures easy portability between different platforms; your passwords can be kept in Chrome and easily used on a Chromebook, laptop or desktop type computer. Mobile applications also take up more space on the host device, which can be a factor if you are running low on internal space. The Chrome browser supports push notifications these days, too, so you can still receive updates from your favourite applications and services. You also don’t need a Google account on the device in order to use the Chrome browser option (but you may in order to install the Chrome browser, and you will in order to keep the browser up to date).
Let’s take a look at what we think on the subject.
I am definitely a fan of apps. It seems like the features just work smoother on the app. Using a mobile app on a mobile browser to me feels very much like putting my smartphone down so I can use the phone book to find a phone number to call a business and get their hours. Visually it just never seems to look right. I love Chrome on my laptop or Chromebook and I'll use the browser on my phone but only for browser-ish stuff. Not really ever for using an application.
Web browsers are improving, but they’re not quite there yet. If you have storage space available and don’t mind some extra clutter, you most probably have a standalone app installed for each of your favorite services, despite the fact that accessing some on the web can be just as easy. Though I fall into this category, technology is changing. In a few years, Google’s Chrome browser will surpass third-party applications on the front of the reliability and simplicity achieved in gaining information when needed. At that point only will mobile users including myself make the full switch.
I use Chrome a lot honestly. I read a lot of articles etc. Otherwise I always use apps for everything, especially in light of some changes Google have made. I was sceptical about Instant apps but they’re great. I can use an app to do whatever it is I need to do without having to download the whole thing and it doesn’t use any space on my device.
I’m also running O preview on my daily drivers and that includes using Chrome auto-fill data inside of apps. Signing into apps is super easy in O and is driving my apps over web workflow even further!
The Chrome browser is one of my most used apps on my smartphone. I’ll launch Chrome, start to type in the website I want, and it does the rest. This said, most third party applications are a better experience compared to Chrome. It’s that for many of the things I want to do on my smartphone, Chrome is “good enough.”
I use my tablet differently and have many more applications installed. I use my tablet for the hard work and try to stick to the communications basics on my smartphone.
About Our Guest Authors
Doug Demagistris is the Founder and current Editor In Chief of Droid Turf, a Google enthusiast thanks to Android’s customisation, flat design and exceptional integration with Google Services.
Zachary Kew-Denniss, a student from the United Kingdom and contributor to the Little Green Dude website. Zachary is easily obsessed with anything nerdy, easily manipulated with bacon or Star Wars.