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App Development
6 minutes read

Mobile vs. Tablet App Development: Which is Right for You?

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

Prioritizing mobile vs tablet app development is one of the first questions that most companies ask themselves at the moment of deciding on the details of their project. Since mobile and tablet apps are worlds apart in terms of User Experience (UX) and user behavior, you’ll want to put careful consideration into this decision.

In this post we discuss some of the factors to consider for your app development project, whether for mobile or tablet devices.

The Differences Between Mobile Apps and Tablet Apps

There are many differences when it comes to mobile and tablet apps. Understanding what mobile and tablet users want is essential to build an app that delivers a powerful User Experience.

Device Usage

One of the most relevant differences between mobile devices and tablets is the time that users invest in each device. Mobile device interactions often consist of the user glancing at the screen for a somewhat short period of time and then putting it down. Tablets, on the contrary, are often used for different purposes and as a result for longer periods of time during a single session. When it comes to the duration of the average session length on mobile, it is half the duration than on tablet devices.

If your enterprise offers services that analyze and communicate data, and you foresee users spending significant amounts of time digging into that data, a tablet app is worth prioritizing. 

Number of Users

Tablets are more likely to be used by more than one user and are thus less personal and emotional platforms for engagement. Keep in mind this for your app at the moment of integrating features that facilitate logging in with different users or accessing sensitive information that should not be easily available to everyone.

Screen Sizes

Tablets, because of their larger screen sizes, are more likely to provide higher resolution. Using a larger screen size than a smartphone is capable of, tablets have the potential to display greater amounts of information on screen; a reading app may be easier to use on a tablet than on a mobile device. Whatever the case is, it is important to build a User Interface that is easy and intuitive to use. Keep in mind that UI design is essential for both mobile and tablet. 

A mobile app UI needs to show lots of information in a rather simplified manner. Do not overwhelm users with excessive information. Instead, display the essential information, but keep in mind that you need to make it easy to find whatever they are looking for. It is useful to think of mobile screens in terms of text messages and the information they can deliver.

Usage Location

Understanding the user context is important. Mobile applications are more likely to be used in a wide variety of locations and scenarios. They’re likely to suffer from distracted use, and smartphones are treated more like personal property than tablets are. Therefore, mobile devices are more likely to be used for more social and emotional contexts.

Another difference between tablets and smartphones is their user demographics. When it comes to mobile versus tablet use, there’s an undeniable difference in the age of predominant users, as well as their needs and expectations.

Mobile Vs Tablet: Market Segmentation 

According to Pew Research, Millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — are more interested in smartphones, while older generations are more inclined to use tablets. The gap between these groups now stands at 10 percentage points, as 64% of Gen Xers claim to own tablets, while only 54% of Millennials own them.

Although this sounds like a minor thing, considering your target audience is an important success factor. Think about the user personas you want to engage, as this may help you decide on the best alternative between a mobile or tablet application.

Things to Consider When Choosing Between Mobile and Tablet Application Development

When it comes to mobile app development versus tablet app development, one approach isn’t necessarily better than the other. Your choice should hinge on what products or services your enterprise offers, who you want to use your app, and how you want to engage with them.

A significant number of enterprise organizations are starting to implement tablet-specific apps in order to optimize experiences for users who prefer to use tablets instead of their mobile devices. This is a smart play for corporate enterprises, as tablets provide opportunities for larger displays and screen sizes in which users can view multiple sets of data or information at once.

If screen space sounds like something you want your app development project should consider, then perhaps a tablet app is the way to go. However, if you want a more touchpoint solution that users will use more frequently, but for less time, then you should prioritize mobile development.

Regardless of whether you choose to develop a mobile or tablet app, it’s important to focus on one or the other to start — don’t just go about designing a mobile app and expect it to run perfectly on a tablet or vice versa.

Plenty of organizations have both a mobile-friendly public website for their general web presence, as well as a downloadable native app to accommodate more specific requirements.

In the end, it’s all about choosing the right tool for the business goals you’re trying to accomplish.

Final Thoughts

Although there are many differences between a mobile app and a tablet app, there are many things that are common to one another. The operating system, for example, is one of them. Whether you are working with iOS or Android, building a mobile or tablet app for the same operating system will not be that different from working with different development platforms. Instead, building an app for different OS implies considering other factors like the market share of each platform, and the approval process to get your app into the app store.

To make sure that you understand how to make the most of your tablet or mobile application project, contact an experienced app developer that can give you strategic advice on what your best alternatives are to build powerful User Experiences.

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