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It’s hard to imagine that over a decade ago, users perceived mobile applications as something sophisticated and unusual. With the increasing mobility and improved Internet access, mobile solutions have turned into a global trend. According to recent statistics, Google Store offers over 2.7 million of mobile applications with broad functionality and custom design. They help to track calories, watch your home security, conduct enterprise software management, pay taxes, and more. The average mobile user installs 35 apps on his smartphone and often picks them without any criteria. However, for the business that decides to develop a mobile application, everything is more complex.
After conducting business research and coming up with a unique mobile app idea, the company has to solve a series of technical, financial, and managerial problems related to mobile app development platforms. It’s a complex process that usually starts with determining an approach to develop the application and the choice between a native vs. hybrid vs. cross-platform solution.
To help you with the decision, we’ve prepared an article on native apps vs. web apps vs. hybrid apps. Learn the main differences between these options and choose the best one for your project now.
While tech businesses compete for app users, technology providers compete for tech businesses. This has led to the emergence of native vs. hybrid vs. cross-platform application development alternatives. Depending on the preferences of the customer and project requirements, mobile app development services pick one of these approaches.
Native, hybrid, and cross-platform solutions have a range of subtle differences. Whereas Android and iOS native mobile applications are the reliable classics of mobile app development, cross-platform and hybrid apps are offered as more financially efficient and easy to design solutions. Cross-platform and hybrid app development is considered a cost-effective shortcut with limited functionality.
Read on for native vs. hybrid vs. cross-platform development comparison and detailed analysis of each mobile app development approach.
Native apps are solutions developed for a specific mobile device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, etc.) and installed directly on it. In most cases, they keep working offline and can perform the core functions without an Internet connection. Speaking of native apps, we usually mean solutions for iOS or Android devices since these are the most popular mobile operating systems. Unlike hybrid or cross-platform mobile applications, native apps can be used solely with the system they are designed for. Although this entails additional expenses, such a peculiarity also means greater reliability, higher security, and broader capabilities.
When a company invests in building a native Android application, most probably, it simultaneously develops an iOS analog. It’s a required step, since today, 22.48% of active devices run on iOS, whereas Android OS accounts for 76.24% users. Although it may be more expensive to manage mobile app development for two separate versions, in the long run, native mobile apps always pay off. As to the technology stack, Kotlin and Java are most commonly used for Android native app development. iOS applications are based on Swift and Objective-C programming languages.
Taking into consideration all the pros and cons of native applications, software engineering experts recommend to go for native app development, as it provides a lot of opportunities for customization, facilitation, and optimization. These apps guarantee a smooth user experience and reduce the risk of being banned from the app stores. They also have better performance than hybrid and cross-platform apps and allow users to benefit from the full capabilities of the hardware.
Hence, if you choose between native application vs. hybrid application, the development budget may be the only obstacle to building native apps.
The key difference between native and hybrid apps is the availability across platforms. Whereas native apps are developed for each platform separately, hybrid app development is about creating solutions combining several technologies.
This simplifies product maintenance and speeds up the hybrid app development process. As to the working mode, both hybrid apps vs. native apps can perform some of their functions offline.
To pick between hybrid vs. native apps, consider such factors as cost of development, functionality, and performance. If you want to cut expenses as much as possible, a hybrid platform will be more suitable. But get ready to sacrifice other things.
The scope of the features will only depend on the type of an app.
Despite being more rarely used, cross-platform development may also serve as an alternative to native apps.
If you cannot decide on native app vs. cross-platform development, analyze the functionality of the future app. For solutions that require full access to the resources of the phone and responsiveness, build on iOS and Android. If you are ready to put up with a less responsive app that doesn’t have complex animation or complicated logic, cross-platform development will work.
Speaking of hybrid vs. cross-platform, the choice will depend on your expertise. Both options have worse performance and capabilities than native apps. Since cross-platform solutions use a native rendering engine, they provide a closer-to-native user experience than hybrid applications. Their compatibility with the native apps installed on the device is also better. Still, to develop cross-platform solutions, you may need to learn a new language or approach, which is time-consuming.
In this article, we inspected the main features of native, hybrid, and cross-platform app development. When you select the approach to build a mobile application, always determine the purpose of the app, resources on hand, time, and budget first.
As was mentioned earlier, the mobile applications market is full. Therefore creating an application tailored to the customers’ needs with high-quality user experience and great performance is one of the best ways to win the audience (unless you have an exceptional idea). In this case, native app development would be the most suitable approach.
At the same time, if your business goal is to get the app to the market as soon as possible, then you better opt for cross-platform app development. And the last one, if you have a brilliant mobile app idea but your budget is limited, building the hybrid app might be right for you.
Do you have more questions on choosing the mobile app development approach? Or you want to talk to a mobile development expert? Don’t hesitate to contact us, filling out the form to get free consulting.