Since browsers and JavaScript are so visually capable, why are so many smartphone apps developed as a separate app, and not as a browser-based web applications that are much less dependent on the OS type (Android, iOS, etc) and OS version (upgrading the OS is often quite a feat, if not practically impossible on many models)?

On a PC, I do not install a separate app for each bank I want to access. But I am forced to do it on a smartphone (many of the options are not offered in the mobile version of a site, even if one exists, e.g. depositing checks). Often such apps will not install on "older" (even 2 year older) smartphones, rendering them more and more useless, although in theory they are capable of running any "highly sophisticated" banking type of app... Even highly graphic PC applications have browser-based alternatives nowadays.

I understand that by default browsers have limited permissions, but this is a technical matter that would be easy to adjust, if the development focus in the smartphone world shifted to browser-based applications.

Is it simply a matter of a better ability to exploit and spy on the user?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Bryan Denny Jan 14 at 14:28

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • just to point. There is a lot of applications that actually javascript based (they written once and run on Android and iOS), take a look at facebook.github.io/react-native and in general native applications able to interact with number of sensors (like bluetooth, accelerometer, humidity, camera) which sometimes web based app not able to use – raiym Jan 10 at 6:35
  • Which bank doesn't work on mobile? Just press 'Request desktop site' - I've never seen a single website that doesn't work on my phone. It may be tedious to navigate but all functionality is there. – trishmapow Jan 10 at 6:43
  • @trishmapow depositing checks is usually only offered in dedicated apps. Most other apps don't have a browser version. It's hard to miss. – rapt Jan 10 at 6:48
  • "On a PC, I do not install a separate app for each bank I want to access." - but (at least in my country) you'd often need separate plugins for logging into each bank securely. Considering that mobile browsers are not unified and (mostly) don't support plugins and other advanced features, I'd say that it's reasonable. – Andy Yan Jan 11 at 1:05
  • @AndyYan You don't really "need" a plugin to securely access a website. – rapt Jan 11 at 20:46

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