Apps have undoubtedly become one of the most essential parts of everyone’s lives today. Be it to look up any information, keep track of your finances or health, or simply to stay in touch with others, different categories of mobile apps have become indispensable nowadays. And the usability of apps is only increasing by the day. With the vast variety in the type of mobile apps that one can use, there is probably one for every imaginable purpose or need.

So, today we explore the very diverse and dynamic world of mobile apps. From exploring the different app types based on technology and usage, we tell you everything. And with insight on the emerging trends that are expected to shape the future of all types of mobile apps as well, we tell you what to look out for.

Various Kinds of Apps Categorized by Technology

Based on the technology used, apps can be crafted in multiple ways, depending on the audience and the types of purpose. So, here are the 3 major types of apps based on technology.

Native Apps 

Native apps are those that are curated specifically for the phone OS. This not only includes making them specifically to be used for mobile phones, but developers can also make them specifically for a particular OS. This is the reason why some apps available on iPhones are not available for Android, and vice versa. For instance, iOS native apps are generally written using Swift or Objective-C, while Android apps may use Java or Kotlin.

Pros: The main benefit of native apps is that since they are curated for a specific OS, this type of mobile applications delivers superior performance. They get to access all the functionalities of the phone and, in some cases, can also work offline seamlessly.

Cons: The cons of this type of apps, however, are that it can be slightly costly. This is because the development and maintenance costs of maintaining an app separately on different platforms are bound to be much higher. Since this also restricts cross-platform compatibility, it can also lead to complications for developers and users.

Web Apps 

While native apps are curated for phones, web apps are curated to be accessible through the browser. These apps are typically made using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and don’t need users to download them before using them.

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Pros: The biggest pro of web apps is that they are cross-platform compatible. Since they are on the browser, you don’t need to conform to the OS of a specific device. While some such apps may be more compatible with some browsers than others, these are significantly easier and more efficient to make and maintain. Additionally, since there is no requirement for downloads, you can roll out the latest updates for all users equally in a single update.

Cons: The biggest con is that since it is on the browser, it may present limitations regarding using the features and functionalities of your device. This can lead to performance not being up to par, especially in the case of complex functionalities. Furthermore, it also makes the app online-only, making it difficult to operate offline and, thus, harming user experience.

Hybrid Apps 

The solution to the cons presented by native and web apps is hybrid apps. These apps combine the pros of the previous two kinds to deliver apps that are significantly well-performing and user-friendly. Like web apps, these are also typically made with HTML, CSS, or JavaScript but are contained within a native container.

Pros: The biggest benefit of these apps is that in addition to supporting cross-platform development, they also allow developers to access and integrate the app with the device’s features. Similarly, like web apps, these apps are also much easier to create and maintain as updates can be applied universally.

Cons: While these may seem like the ultimate solution to the different types of app development concerns, the biggest con is the potential for performance gaps. To mimic native containers, these apps would need to rely on frameworks, like React Native or Flutter, leading to further limitations and dependencies. But even then, these will probably still not be as polished as native apps.

Different Types of Mobile Apps Based on Usage 

While there is no specific answer to “how many types of apps are there” owing to constant innovations, there are certainly some of the most-used types that everyone is familiar with. Apart from basic mobile application types used for utility, such as phone apps, calculators, and flashlights, here are some of the most common apps, categorized based on usage.

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Lifestyle Apps 

Lifestyle apps are those that people tend to use in their daily lives for various purposes. This includes music apps, cab-hailing apps, travel apps, fitness apps, and even dating apps, some such mobile applications examples being Spotify, Uber, Tinder, and more. The most distinct feature of these apps is that they are probably used pretty regularly and there is a minimal chance of the user uninstalling them, as they bring convenience to daily life.

Social Media Apps 

We are all familiar with social media apps, and these are probably the most popular category of apps of recent. They allow users to connect with their social base in a very easy and portable way. This is why optimizing these for native phone OS is crucial, as the aspect of being on the go and being able to connect with their social base is crucial for users.

Gaming Apps 

Alongside social media apps, gaming and entertainment apps can be considered some of the most popular categories as well. Considering their popularity, these are considerably popular among developers, as there is a guarantee that people will keep coming back to keep playing the game. This can further be ensured through an incentivized model, where users who come back are given special incentives that keep on becoming better with each day.

Productivity Apps 

Productivity apps have become considerably popular of late, especially considering that busy lifestyles have become normal and people need to be on top of what needs to be done. Such mobile application examples like note taking apps, productivity tracker apps, or even the Google Suite services, are considered a part of this category. If you can develop an app that solves a common pain point of your target audience, then you can definitely rely on consistent usage, especially if you can gamify it.

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Emerging Trends in Mobile App Categories 

It is evident from how mobile apps have changed over the years that they will definitely continue to evolve even further. That is why it is important for developers to stay updated on the emerging trends and incorporate them into future apps. This can help them utilize these emerging trends and ensure continued user satisfaction.

AR/VR and AI Apps 

It is no surprise that with the growth of AI and ML, apps were bound to utilize them as well. So, in the future, new techs and trends, like AI, ML, IoT, AR, and VR apps can be expected. While some of these are being used already, such as AR and VR in games and AI for customized experiences, gaining expertise and specialization can help developers to get a complete understanding of all the ways these technologies can be used to further enhance apps.

Emerging Security Considerations 

Rather than an emerging trend, the need for optimal privacy and security measures has become an emerging security concern. As per a report by Indusface, a sharp increase in cyberattacks was observed in the first quarter of 2023, with more than 500 million attacks being blocked. Accordingly, developers need to be well-versed in the latest security regulations and make sure that their applications comply with them. Only when users have peace of mind regarding the security of their data in an app can they engage in it freely and in a dedicated manner. So, understanding the specific requirements in different types of Android applications and iOS applications is crucial.

Conclusion

Mobile apps are a necessity in the way society lives today. And with the many types and categories of mobile apps, combined with the emerging trends, there is a lot of scope to ensure that your app idea is a success. This is crucial as apps nowadays are saturated and it is crucial to have a USP that distinguishes you from the other apps. All you need to do is ensure you have a full grasp of the pain points of your target market and ensure that your app is dedicated to solving it.