You probably don't want a mobile app

  • by Amando Abreu
  • on 05 March 2023

Mobile apps used to be cool and a reasonable way to get software into mobile devices. But:

  • People are reluctant to install yet another app
  • App stores have too much control over what you can publish
  • App stores take too much of your in-app revenue

AppBrain stats reveal that a staggering 2.2 million apps on Google Play have less than three ratings. This means that even the developers themselves have not downloaded the app or bothered to rate it. It’s a ghost town out there.

What if there was a better way?

Well, there is.

It’s a Progressive Web App (PWA)

PWAs are essentially websites that deliver app-like experiences.

Some quick facts:

  • Installation is optional
  • No royalties on sales
  • Zero control from an app store saying you can or can’t do

Here you can read more about why Bjørn from Trailguide decided to keep his product as a PWA.

One of the biggest reasons, especially for early stage businesses without a lot of cash to throw away:

“Having one codebase: If we created Trailguide as a native app, we would need to have three codebases. One for iOS (Swift), one for Android (Java or Kotlin), and one for the Web (JavaScript). Having three codebases would require a lot more developer skills and resources, something we do not currently have.” – Bjørn, Trailguide

A PWA is a single codebase for your mobile users and computer users. This is BIG during early stages!

PWAs are “instantly there,” as they can be accessed through a browser without the need to download a bloated 50MB app. Even game developers can export for WebGL instead of building a native app. It’s a no-brainer.

“But can I put this on an app store?”

You can, but you don’t have to.

“Does it work offline?”

Yes! PWAs can be made “offline-first” just like a native app.


Hope this made you consider a PWA!

Are you wondering if a PWA makes sense for you, or do you have other questions about the direction of your tech business?

I offer fractional CTO services for businesses like yours. If you have hard problems you want to tackle but feel your organization lacks the perspective to tackle fully, get in touch! I guarantee to ask very hard questions that lead to solving hard problems.

About the author

Amando Abreu is a serial entrepreneur, Fractional CTO, and engineer who has been involved in several startups and launched dozens of products. He has worked with companies such as trivago, Portugal Telecom, and Vizrt. He has experience in several industries, most notably e-commerce, SaaS, media, travel, insurance, property development, and construction.
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