While predictions that devices like tablets and smartphones would completely replace the use of computers proven a little pre-emptive, it is impossible to deny that, more and more, we are pivoting the way we use technology away from browsers and more towards apps. Apps can offer portability and immediacy, whereas browsers are often deemed less convenient, but this not to say that the former are always the better choice. To decide, we looked at two of the most common ways people are using apps and browsers – streaming videos and ordering food – alongside a key concern for all of using technology – our security – and rated how apps and browsers compared.
App vs Browser: Streaming
Most streaming services offer both a browser-based and an app service, with different kinds of streaming lending themselves better to one or the other format.
Music streaming, offered by Spotify for example, tends to do better on apps, since consumers prize portability over other factors. On the other hand, TV and film streaming sites like Netflix do better on browser, where people will opt for a larger screen over convenience. 42% of Netflix sign-ups last year were for desktops or laptops – although, curiously, consumers are more likely to use the phone app as their primary means of use in India, South Korea and Japan, showing there are regional differences in preference.
Interestingly, according to at least one website, the Windows 10 App may actually be one of the best ways to view Netflix, in contrast to the general assumption that app viewing means diminishing quality.
App vs Browser: Food
Food deliveries are an insanely popular modern use of technology, with new data from 2017 showing a 15% increase in the number of people choosing to order in breakfast on the weekends from the previous year, demonstrating just how big a part takeout services now play in our lives.
Companies like deliveroo.com.sg offer both apps and websites for customers but customers are usually already at home when they utilise these services, so the portability factor of an app no longer offers a huge advantage. When looking at long lists of options while selecting a healthy takeaway or vegan burger, people often prefer a larger screen, so, as with movie and TV viewing, the browser version just wins out.
App vs Browser: Security
Any use of the internet carries with it a security risk. But, between your computer and your phone, is there one method of surfing the web that’s more secure?
While intuition might suggest that a browser is far safer, since it belongs to a more formidable machine, the computer becomes in some ways a victim of its own success, since computers have been around long enough that there are more Trojans specifically designed to target them. Additionally, while apps run in sandboxes that can shield them from viruses, computers are vulnerable to a variety of sources unless they have a good anti-virus software.
“Computer Security – Protect Data – Compu” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by perspec_photo88
On the other hand, an app can have significant security flaws and fake or malware apps can appear alongside the real deal in the app store. Even apparently innocuous apps can infect a smartphone and compromise security through demanding “permissions” in order to run.