Over the past few years, we have seen a tremendous increase in the adoption of smartphones for internet usage. In some countries, the web traffic from smartphones and tabs have exceeded the desktop computers. To compete with the existing mobile market, businesses are developing mobile versions of their existing applications. Mobile apps provide the flexibility of operation from anyplace whereas desktop versions of applications have restricted mobility. Both these two versions have their own specific benefits and drawbacks. Though both use similar technologies, there are few fundamental differences between mobile and traditional desktop apps.
Thick vs Thin clients
Traditional web applications use thick or fat client where a client-server architecture or network typically provides application access. In this design, some parts of the application are accessed from the client while others can be accessed from the server. However, mobile apps use thin clients where the applications depend heavily on servers for its access. Since most of the thin clients have low energy processors, flash storage, or memory, mobile apps are slow when compared to desktop traditional apps.
Bandwidth is a major drawback in mobile apps as many of them use only lower 3G or 4G internet connection speed. Since tradition web applications use high network bandwidths, they are much faster and have higher performance. The low bandwidth is one of the reasons that mobile apps have extended user sessions and poor response times.
Remote Data Access
While using mobile apps, the users need to face many unique challenges in terms of data access which are not found in server or desktop environments. Since the remote data for mobiles is accessed through network connections which travel from tower to tower, the performance is low when compared to traditional web apps.
Since smartphones and PCs have different CPUs they have different processing powers and memory storage. Hence, the computing performance of both the devices are entirely different. Smartphone CPUs are generally smaller and have limited computing ability. As mobile apps have only limited processing powers their performance will be comparatively lower than the desktop web applications.
Touch vs Click
Desktop applications offer better user experience because mobile devices have touch based inputs which are not always effective. Mobile users need to use their fingers for navigation from one page to another whereas desktop applications use keyboard or a mouse. While it is easy to navigate using a mouse for desktops, small-screened mobile devices require precision in touch for navigation.
When you are using mobile apps on your smartphone, you need to track data usage to see which app is using the most. Generally, mobile networks charge for the data that consumers use. If you are using more mobile apps on your smartphone, then you may end up paying higher bills to your mobile service. This is not the case with desktop web applications because they use optimizing techniques for caching of data.