5 Star speaks to Singular’s CEO and co-founder George Shamugia on how the company continues to innovate in the evolving App sector.
Originally published on 5Star Media.
Up until now, it was relatively easy for operators to have an App on AppStore by just building a small native launcher that loaded their existing mobile website link on every launch.
While it was an effortless endeavor for operators, it failed to provide the benefits that native apps can offer the customers.
But the new AppStore guideline clause 4.7 caused distress in the iGaming industry due to banning website wrappers and forcing operators to build self-contained binaries. While this ensured improved security and a better experience for customers, it also created an extra burden for the operators.
THE PROS AND CONS OF MOBILE APP FOR CASINO WEBSITES
Saying no to an AppStore is not an option, considering that based on App Annie research, users are spending 1.5x more time in mobile betting apps than average. Since operators are heavily invested in web stack and have developed robust mobile web apps, they are facing extra costs of starting native mobile app development from scratch. First, this comprises the formation of the native development team, managing two different codebases, and keeping them in sync in terms of feature parity. Second, it prolongs time-to-market since it can take over a year to launch a native app.
On the other hand, the delivery of native experience brings quite a few perks to operators. Customers having a native app readily available on their home screen increase their retention and number of daily sessions by integrating deeply with the OS. It also enables to improve existing user experience. By bundling all the content in-app binary, games will load not only faster but will also preserve the users’ mobile data, which will result in longer game sessions.
THE NATIVE APP VS THE HYBRID APPROACH
The first default option on everyone’s mind is the fully native approach. However, this may not be the most optimal option given it requires new developers and extended launch time that results in missed opportunities and lost market share.
There is a hybrid approach that delivers up to 60% time savings in development and almost 80% savings on maintenance compared to native coding. This approach utilizes runtimes such as Apache Cordova, or more modern and evolved Capacitorjs. The Capacitor allows packaging existing mobile websites, independent of the framework used, as a native mobile app. The app will be fully self-contained with the assets of the mobile website embedded in the App binary in full compliance with Apple’s guidelines.
Since the capacitor is fully native runtime, it provides access to all the native features through simple web API calls. This enables almost 100% code re-use and removes the need for a separate native app development team, plus makes it possible to go live in no time, compared to other options. The Capacitor also allows the mixing and match of web and native technologies.
CONVERTING MOBILE CASINO WEBSITE INTO A NATIVE APP
Start packaging the existing mobile website as a native app with Capacitor Runtime and launch it. Fast to market approach will provide few benefits such as publishing the app on AppStore before competitors do. Second, enhance the experience with native functionality, such as biometric authentication, push notifications, faster loading times. All this is doable with just a few lines of code.
Third, since customers value UX and expect a native look and feel on each platform, the next step would be replacing standard web UI by something that looks and feels native, especially interface and navigation. The Ionic framework, a web-based technology, delivers ready-made components and native feel on iOS. If needed, Ionic components can be altered and skinned just with CSS. Last but not least, replace performance-intensive UI components with native ones. This approach of mixing native and web stack is even used by Apple itself. Few examples are AppStore, Mail, Apple Music, etc.
As Google stated, we are now entering the ambient computing era, where users use multiple different devices, OS, and form factors daily. Operators should strive to provide seamless customer experience on every single platform out there. Web technology is the most universal and will be instrumental in achieving this kind of experience. Runtimes such as Capacitor make it possible to deliver a native experience on every platform will it be iOS, Android, Desktop, or PWA.