When should you develop webAR vs. app based AR? Do you need a simple one off experience? Is there a value in the user downloading a more robust app for multiple use cases?
webAR vs an AR App: What’s the Difference?
In general app based AR is more stable with more immersive features. WebAR can be more convenient and accessible to the public for most higher end mobile devices.
WebAR or web-based AR is a digital technology allowing you to quickly share AR experiences through the Internet. To do this, you must use a supported mobile device that allow ARKit (Apple) or ARcore (Android) sdk’s. Compared to app-based AR, the user doesn’t need to download a mobile app. They can open a specific URL or scan a specific QR code to view an AR experience. These applications often take less time to develop than app based AR and can cost less for more basic applications.
Convenience Has Tradeoffs
WebAR is limited in functionality and has extra challenges for developers. For example, this technology doesn’t have buttons and other user interfaces. Complex solutions can be jarring and more difficult for the user to understand.
A web page is limited by the mobile browser, while a dedicated app has access to all of a device’s hardware. At this time, Web-based AR can result in lower-resolution visuals, is limited to moving through AR scenes and can often have shaky performance. Compared to WebAR, app-based AR doesn’t need the Internet and the user can use the application offline.
While it is often cheaper to develop basic applications for webAR, but there is a tipping point to where app based AR becomes more cost effective. You must also consider if more robust features are needed for your application. More immersive AR experiences must still be developed in app based AR because there is more potential within an app for a wide range of features. There is more memory to utilize and more complex animations that can be included within an app. App-based AR is much more stable and reliable. It has a smooth motion with minimal lag.
Running applications in the browser has a few constraints. Chrome and Safari are built very differently, so creating a web experience that works consistently across both mobile browsers can be difficult. Outside of the main mobile browsers, the developer must check compatibility with the many different browsers and devices. You must also have a monthly maintenance package for testing and updates because any change or update to the browsers may break the experience.
What is Right for You: webAR or an AR App?
So what is right for you? Do you want more engagement or better quality? The potential of Web AR technology is growing and allows users to interact without having to go through download steps. App based AR is best suited for long-running applications or for companies that would like to expand there current applications into the future. If you’d like free consultation as to what is the best approach for your application, contact Another Reality Studio today.