There’s a lot of misinformation being spread about mobile apps. Just last week, I read yet another article from yet another mobile app “expert” that made me cringe. The article falsely claimed that native apps are necessary if you want to use the phone’s hardware sensors, like the GPS.
Okay. Let me set the record straight: No, they’re not!
Native apps are not required to use the phone’s GPS, and that’s just the beginning. Mobile web apps can actually access almost every hardware sensor that a native app can access. If you’d like to learn which sensors a mobile web app can access, read this article.
This tutorial explains how to use the HTML5 geolocation tag, which lets a web app access the GPS sensor.
This tutorial goes one step further, and builds a demo check-in app using geolocation and photo uploading. Make sure you check out the example on your smartphone.
Why is this so important?
Many companies believe they need to build native apps in order to access a smartphone’s hardware sensors. Not only is this thinking wrong, it can waste significant amounts of both time and money. You see, native apps are more difficult and expensive than mobile web apps, and usually don’t make sense from a business standpoint. To learn why, read this article entitled, “7 reasons why mobile web apps are better for business than native apps.”