Camille Fournier

Comparison of Smoothness in Progressive Web Apps and Mobile Applications on Android


One of the main challenges of mobile development lies in the high fragmentation of mobile platforms. Developers often need to develop the same application several times for all targeted platforms, raising the cost of development and maintenance. One solution to this problem is cross-platform development, which traditionally only includes mobile applications. However, a new approach introduced by Google in 2015 also includes web applications. Progressive Web Apps, as they are called, are web applications that can be installed on mobile and behave like mobile applications. This research aims at studying and comparing their performance to mobile applications on Android, especially in terms of smoothness, memory and CPU usage. To that end, we analyzed the Rendering pipeline of Android and Chrome and deducted a smoothness metric. Then, a Progressive Web App, a Native Android and a React Native Interpreted Application were developed and their performance measured in several scenarios. The results imply that Progressive Web Applications, though they have great benefits, are not as smooth as Mobile applications on Android. Their memory performance and CPU usage lag behind Native Applications, but are similar to Interpreted applications.