What to Choose Between Native App & Hybrid App

There have been drastic changes in marketing trends in the last few decades. Everything from the tactics to the technology used in marketing has changed. Today, mobile applications are one of the most dynamic business tools. Their efficiency in building up a connection with customers is unparalleled. A wide variety of services use mobile apps to provide their users with a convenient experience. Services ranging from banking, car-sharing, and goods delivery all use apps. According to Comscore, mobile users spend 90% of their time using applications, and only 10% on the web. Statistics predict that mobile apps are going to generate a revenue of $935.2 billion in 2023. Investing in a mobile app for your business right now is the best investment you can make.
Constant innovations are at the core of every successful business. Mobile notifications interact directly with customers and keep them up to date. The use of mobile apps over websites also help improve customer retention. The most popular mobile development platforms are iOS and Android. Most applications developed are for either or both of these platforms. The most crucial issue that companies have to go through with during app development is whether they should build a native app or a hybrid app. If you do not know the difference between the two, there is no need to worry. Here is everything you need to know about native apps and hybrid apps.

Native Applications

Native apps are programmed to work with specific operating systems. An app coded for iOS will not work with Android and vice-versa. Native mobile apps follow particular guidelines to enhance user experience. Developers can build apps that leverage all the features of an operating system. Such companies need to develop two apps simultaneously. Hence, the development of such apps can be very time-consuming. To make up for the long process, it offers better performance than hybrid apps.

Technology Stack

The development of native apps in Android and iOS requires different frameworks.
  • iOS uses:
    • Objective-C: A programming language that has phenomenal development experience and many available libraries. It is also compatible with other programming technologies.
    • Swift: This a framework introduced by Apple. Developers have said that it is easy to work with and learn. It also has better performance than Objective-C. Currently, it is the best alternative to Objective-C and might even replace it in the future. Today, all of the latest applications are using Swift for the sheer power and smoother user experience it can create.
  • Android uses:
    • Java: This language is not only used for mobile applications, but even desktop and web development have their roots in Java. It provides developers access to a compelling library. Though it simplifies programming, the applications require more memory than in other frameworks.
    • Kotlin: This programming language was specifically developed to work with Java. Google supports Kotlin for Android development and offers it as an alternative to the Java compiler in Android Studio. Kotlin reduces the time required for programming in app development.

Advantages of Native App Development

  1. Enhanced User Experience – Every operating system has its own set of functional features. During native app development, programmers use these features to improve the functionality of the application. Native apps can also better utilize offline mode capabilities. Focusing on a single platform increases the efficiency of the app. The combination of all these factors improves the overall user experience.
  2. Improved Performance – When an app is coded for a particular operating system, it has high-performance metrics. This is due to better optimization of memory and storage achieved through code. Native mobile apps are also easier to maintain and update.
  3. Better Security – Unlike hybrid apps, native apps can fully utilize the hardware capabilities. Hence, it offers high data security to users. Can read more about security of apps here
  4. FunctionalityNative app development offers access to latest features as soon as they launched so developers can easily integrate them within the app
  5. Personalization – Device fragmentation is a common issue for developers where the same app could look nice and absurd on different devices. Since different devices have different sizes and specs, native apps can help adjust the layouts. With these apps, you can have the best design while delivering an excellent user experience.

Disadvantages of Native App Development

  1. Cost – With the increased complications of developing native mobile apps, the price increases too. The need for excellent resources and experienced developers makes the entire process expensive.
  2. Time-Consuming – Since applications need to be developed separately for both platforms, it requires more time. Even developing one native app takes more time than a hybrid mobile app.

Hybrid Applications

While native apps are developed for a particular platform, hybrid apps have cross-platform properties. This means that hybrid apps can work over multiple platforms. Developers can make one application that will run on both iOS and Android. These applications can be viewed as websites put into containers. Mostly they use the rendering engine of the built-in operating system browsers.

Technology Stack

The three most popular frameworks for hybrid app development are as follows.
  • React Native – This is an open-source, cross-platform compatible software developed by Facebook. It offers a simple UI, high performance, and short development times.
  • Xamarin – This open-sourced framework is maintained and strongly supported by Microsoft. Xamarin is suitable for simple apps and is easy to maintain. It is usually the choice for business-driven projects.
  • Ionic – Ionic produces mobile apps with technologies like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. It is easy to learn and has a simple UI but can be challenging to maintain.

Advantages of Hybrid App Development

  1. Accessible Across Multiple Platforms – Hybrid applications can run on both iOS and Android with the same base code. This is good news for a client with a broader target audience since they do not have to develop separate codes for both platforms.
  2. Saves Time – One code will run on both iOS and Android platforms. A hybrid app developer only has to work on a single code, making it very time-efficient.
  3. Easy Maintenance – Since there is only one base code, it becomes effortless to update the program. There is no need for the user to download the latest version to fix a bug.
  4. Pocket-Fixing – Only one base program needs to be built for both platforms, which drastically decreases development costs. As a result, it is much cheaper than native mobile apps.

Disadvantages of Hybrid App Development

  1. Internet Connection Required – Since in some cases they are basically websites wrapped in native apps, you need to be connected to the internet to use all features. This might not be true in case of React Native.
  2. Insufficient User Interface – As the interface needs to be compatible with both platforms, several functions are compromised. UI in hybrid apps is not as strong as native apps.
  3. Native App Developer Involvement – Many functionality issues in hybrid mobile apps require a native app developer to solve them which could lead to additional costs.
FeaturesNativeHybrid
CostHigh development costsComparatively cheaper
PerformanceGreat performance metricsDowngraded by a bit
ChannelHosted in the OSHosted on the web
H/W UtilizationCan utilize maximum powerCan only leverage some features
User InterfaceUser-friendlyRestricted user interface
MaintenanceChallenging to maintainEasy maintenance
Used ForSingle platform app with high optimizationApps that need to work on multiple platforms
So what technology path you should take
As described above, both sets of technologies have their unique advantages and disadvantages. While you can choose native to build the best user experience and responsiveness within the app backed with state of the art features, the cost can go high.
With Hybrid you can start with lower investment and still build an app, costs could increase with complexity. That being said, it’s worth using especially to test the waters.
Don’t think about the concept of native vs hybrid app, A few questions that you should ask yourself before choosing technology would be about your timeline, budget, complexity in features (Are you building something that pushes the technology envelope), the security requirement and so on.
In case you are still confused, reach out to us on sales@mindbowser.com
Read more on choosing the right tech stack for startups here

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