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      Mobile Applications

      How to Choose the Right Mobile App Development Platform—Native vs Hybrid vs Cross-Platform

      Jan 20, 2022

      5 minute read

      Did you know? The worldwide mobile app revenue is projected to reach over $935[1] billion by 2023!

      Given the substantial growth of the mobile app industry, it’s undoubtedly the best time to build a mobile app for your business.

      However, between Native, Hybrid, and Cross-platform, finding the right solution to build your mobile app can be a hassle.

      To help you in your decision, we are going to discuss all three approaches in detail in this blog post.

      So, let’s get started!

      What are Native Apps?

      Native apps are exclusively developed for a single platform using a native-to-the-operating-system programming language. They offer consistent performance and user experience in terms of the look and feel of the application. To develop the app for both Android and iOS, the developer has to write two separate code bases for both platforms.

      Benefits of Native Apps

      benefits of native apps

      1. High Performance: Native apps are quite responsive and fast. Their elements preload well in advance, thus, displaying quickly and enhancing the overall app efficiency.

      2. Offline Functionality: Native apps can work offline, provided there are no API calls. This makes it convenient for users to access the app on the go or in case of poor connection or limited data availability.

      3. Intuitive & Interactive: Native apps perfectly align with the configuration of a particular platform. This enables users to interact with the app using gestures, and hence, provides intuitive experiences.

      When to Choose Native App Development

      • This is the first time your users will be using your products or services and you want to offer the best possible user experience.
      • The app has a number of complex features that will be difficult to bugfix.
      • You want to leverage device-specific features such as camera and GPS.

      Tech Stack Used for Native App Development

      Native Android Apps:

      Languages: Java, Kotlin
      Tools: Android Studio, Android IDE, IntelliJ IDEA

      Native iOS Apps:

      Languages: Objective-C, Swift
      Tools: XCode, AppCode

      Examples of Popular Native Apps

      • Spotify
      • LinkedIn
      • Google Maps
      • Pinterest
      • Artsy

      What are Hybrid Apps?

      Hybrid apps are a blend of native and web apps. These apps comprise of two components- a backend code and a native viewer that is downloaded to display the backend. The code is written once and can be used for multiple platforms. These apps can use any plugin and APIs of the device, for example, Android uses WebView and iOS uses WKWebView for display.

      Benefits of Hybrid Apps

      benefits of hybrid apps

      1. Faster Time to Market: In hybrid app development, the backend code more or less remains the same for all platforms, thus enabling early development and launch of the app.

      2. Easy Maintenance: Since hybrid apps are based on web technology, it’s easier to maintain these apps as compared to other apps that have more complex coding.

      3. Cost-Effective: As hybrid app development is unified, you don’t need to invest in different versions of the app for multiple platforms, thus, significantly reducing the cost.

      4. Enhanced UI/UX: By integrating the benefits of native and web apps, hybrid apps offer improved user experiences with fast loading speed.

      When to Choose Hybrid App Development

      • You want to target a broad audience base, including web and mobile.
      • When you want faster development but want the app to run seamlessly across platforms.
      • You want to test your project idea with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

      Tech Stack Used for Hybrid App Development

      • Ionic
      • Apache Cordova

      Examples of Popular Hybrid Apps

      • Gmail
      • Evernote
      • Airbus Helicopters
      • JustWatch
      • NHS

      What are Cross-Platform Apps?

      Cross-Platform apps are based on code shareability and are compatible with multiple operating systems. This means the developers only need to write the code once and reuse it for multiple platforms. As a result, cross-platform apps allow fast compilation and cost-effective development that is suitable for businesses with time and budget constraints.

      Benefits of Cross-Platform Apps

      benefits of cross-platform apps

      1. Reusable Code: In cross-platform app development, developers can use a common code base and transfer the code to different platforms for development.

      2. Fast Development: With reusable code, the app development becomes quite fast and hassle-free, thus, enhancing the efficiency of the development lifecycle.

      3. Simple Maintenance: Since there is only one codebase, it’s easier to test, fix, upgrade, and maintain the code to ensure effective performance and maintain the overall quality of the app.

      4. Reduced Cost: Cross-platform apps have lesser upfront expenses as you don’t have to hire two different teams of developers to build the app for Android and iOS.

      When to Choose Cross-Platform App Development

      • When you want a unified look and feel of the app across different platforms.
      • You want to target both Android and iOS users but have limited resources.
      • The app is simple and doesn’t have many functionalities that’ll vary across platforms.

      Tech Stack Used for Cross-Platform App Development

      Examples of Cross-Platform Apps

      • Facebook Ads Manager
      • Instagram
      • Skype
      • Slack
      • Reflectly
      • Coinbase

      Functionality Comparison—Native vs Hybrid vs Cross-Platform

      Now that you have a decent understanding of the three development approaches, the next question that comes to mind is—which is the best approach of all three?

      And the answer is—It all depends on your business and its unique needs. To help you find out the right approach for your business here’s a functionality comparison of the three platforms:

      Parameters Native Hybrid Cross-Platform
      Performance Excellent Performance Slow Performance Performance Issues are Common but Easily Fixable
      User Experience Native UI/UX Difficult to Offer Native UI/UX Able to Deliver Native UI/UX
      Time to Market Time Consuming Quick and Efficient Fast and Hassle-Free
      Development Cost Expensive Cost-Effective Cost-Effective
      Access to Device Hardware Complete Access Limited Access to Device and OS Features Full Access via Plugins
      Security Most Secure Limited Security May Need Additional Security Development
      Offline Support Complete Support No Support Can be Added

      The Final Note

      In the native vs hybrid vs cross-platform apps debate, every alternative has its own pros and cons. So, the best way to choose the right platform is to first figure out your requirements and the objectives you want to achieve with your app. Once you have this figured out, you can easily select a development platform that serves your business the best.

      However, your job isn’t done here. After selecting the app development platform, you need to make sure that your app has all the key features to make it successful. For this, check out this next read—
      Top 10 Features of a Robust Mobile App.

      Need Help Selecting the Right Mobile App Development Platform for Your Business? Contact Us.

      Our mobile app development experts will be happy to assist you with any of your mobile app development, migration, integration, and optimization needs. To learn more about our services, email us at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.

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