Mobile PLM: Apps vs. Mobile Browsers?

I want to come back to the topic of mobile apps vs. mobile browsers again. Earlier this year I posted PLM: Mobile-Optimized Sites vs. Mobile Apps, which presented some interesting numbers about US mobile apps vs. mobile web consumption. It demonstrated a clear growth of mobile apps usage vs. web. At the same time, I can see lots of focus and effort around HTML5 mobile browsers, which presents some promise towards seamless user experience between web apps and mobile apps. The following chart caught my attention few days ago – total time spent using mobile web vs. apps.

This picture made me think more about PLM Mobile App vs. Mobile Web dilemma again. There are there main points here.

1. User experience. We like browsers, since it can potentially provide a seamless user experience. It supposed to be unified for different platforms. However, in the case of mobile browsers, it is not always true. Mobile versions of web apps as well as mobile versions of websites are different and provide slightly different user experience. At the same time, native apps user experience is superior and this is a reason why many people decide towards the apps approach.

2. Too many apps. The increased amount of Mobile App, can introduce another problem – what app to chose? Even today, I can have a hard time to choose the right app. What will happen if tomorrow vendors introduce dozens of apps? Clearly, there is a danger here. However, this problem is not much different from the problem of having complicated product portfolio, and it is well known today.

3. Multiplatform development cost. Last but not least. The days when the development was done solely on Windows platform gone. The question of how to optimize the development for multiple platforms, including mobile platforms is important. However, users are clearly not interested in this topic. So, the last thing any vendor can do is to expose these problems to customers.

What is my conclusion? I think the question of “mobile app vs. mobile web” will continue to challenge PLM developers. I think, the right way to deal with this is to focus on user experience. No big news here. Platforms will continue to “rules the game”. Native apps can provide a better experience. To deliver it and keep the development cost low is a challenge most of vendors will continue to experience. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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4 Responses to Mobile PLM: Apps vs. Mobile Browsers?

  1. Your analysis is exactly what has driven the philosophy of our Solution mobilePDM; a mobile solution for DS SolidwWorks Enterprise PDM; since its inception.
    We would like to add that as security and stability are two important requirements for mobile Apps/Solutions for Enterrpise access; We also found that the most mature platform today, is the IOS from Apple Platform .

    We believe that the Android has too many flavors and “exceptions” or “particular cases” that makes the platfrom difficult to maintain. We hope that this will change in the future as there is a significant market.

    Finally, we are just scratching the surface of mobility for PLM and Product Development. The impact of mobility in the product development process is simply huge as it enables processes that were not even existing before more than improving existing ones.

  2. @Nicolas, Android is delivering more devices today compared to iOS. Are you planning to develop Android app now?

  3. @Oleg, Yes, we are definitely working on supporting the Android Platform and we believe it will be highly appreciated by the growing level of Android devices users and adopters.

    We are using http://www.basic4ppc.com an outstanding solution from Israel that makes creating Android Apps easier than any IDE or Platform out there ( in our humble opinion and for the kind of solutions we are creating)

  4. Nicolas, thanks for comment and link share… Best, Oleg

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