Web vs Mobile: Application Design

So I was talking about mobile apps with a friend of mine, who’s really interested in mobile payments, and she mentioned that Mastercard’s mobile strategy was to develop many different smartphone applications – each doing a different thing (for e.g. an ATM finder app, a Deal locator app, etc). Visa’s strategy seemed to be different. Develop one app that does many different things – much like how the big Internet companies function (e.g.  eBay, Google).

This poses an interesting question – should Mobile Apps be built in the same way Web Apps were built? A giant portal-like design with sub-functions. This method has many merits. It helps structure the application, keep everything in one place, and looks clean and organized.

However, from my own personal experience of using smartphones, it seems that this design methodology might not work for mobile applications. While using a mobile app, I’d rather not care about everything being in one place. In fact, this would make life more confusing and time-consuming. Would this argument hold true for other companies?

The next challenge for a company like Mastercard is going to be create the right number of apps with the most critical functionality.

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