Smartphones have become an extremely useful tool in the present era, providing numerous benefits such as immediate communication via e-mail and social networking, web surfing, entertainment, GPS, and countless other productivity tools. When considering developing a mobile application, an issue that arises quite often is whether to produce a native vs hybrid app.
For the past decade, mobile applications have been the epicenter of innovation. With the smartphone industry booming, many businesses are incorporating mobile apps into their workflow to improve their market reach. However, in the world of mobile applications, not all are created equal. So, when it comes to deciding between a native or hybrid app, you need to understand and go through several factors.
In this article, we’ll look at how native and hybrid apps vary, followed by the pros and cons of each. In short, this is a comprehensive guide to show a comparison of native and hybrid apps and help you decide the best approach to be adopted for mobile app development.
Before we jump to the hybrid apps vs native apps comparison, let us first define each of these mobile app types.
What is a Native Mobile App?
A native mobile application is a smartphone app designed particularly for a specific operating system—iOS or Android. It can utilize device-specific hardware and software because it was designed to run on a particular mobile device and its operating system.
Compared to mobile cloud apps or web apps, which are made to work on all platforms, native apps offer better speed and make use of the most recent technology, such as image processing. When it comes to user experience, a native app has the advantage of being the fastest and most dependable. Native apps are created by utilizing the SDKs provided by an operating system, and they can interact with all of the functions of the device, including the GPS, microphone, camera, and device storage.
Tools for Native Mobile App Development
Usually, there are two main mobile app platforms that you most likely want to develop your app for, Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS. For example, native app developers code Android apps using Java. Whereas they code iOS apps using Swift or Objective-C.
Keep in mind that a Swift-written iOS application won’t run on an Android device and vice versa. This suggests that if you want to launch your application on both iOS and Android, you must develop it individually for each platform, which would necessitate a larger budget and a larger team size.
Advantages of Native Applications
- They can take advantage of a plethora of platform-specific features
- Such apps provide a user interface (UI) that is more in line with the OS’s user experiences
- These apps functions online as well as offline
- They are highly reliable, responsive, and have faster performance
- Supports push notification functionality
- Less vulnerable to security risks
Disadvantages of Native Applications
- Involves multiple code bases, for example, the coding is different for Android and iOS
- Require larger teams with a broader skills base
- Involves a longer development schedule equating to higher development costs
Examples of Native Apps
WhatsApp: The communication app has separate versions for both iOS and Android.
Spotify: The music app that lets you listen to music as well as download songs to the particular device you’re using.
Pokémon Go: The well-known game that makes use of GPS and camera technologies. A native app, in this case, offers the optimum user experience.
Waze: This native navigation app ensures you don’t get lost by using the device’s GPS.
What is a Hybrid Mobile App?
A hybrid mobile app combines the features of both web apps and native apps. In other words, hybrid apps have functionality similar to and based primarily on web apps. Hybrid apps are commonly associated with mobile computing, which is a technology that allows the transmission of data, audio, and video through a computer or any other wireless-enabled device without the need for a physical link. It mostly incorporates mobile communication, as well as mobile hardware and software.
Hybrid apps retain full access to the mobile device’s functionalities thanks to internal application program interfaces (APIs). However, unlike native apps that are downloaded and can be accessed offline, hybrid apps require internet access for full functionality.
Tools for Hybrid Mobile App Development
Advantages of Hybrid Applications
- These apps can be used across multiple platforms and devices such as Android and iOS and developed using a single code base
- Easier updates and maintenance due to the use of a single code base
- Apps can be deployed considerably faster than native apps
- Simplified development process due to the elimination of the need to develop the app from scratch for each platform
- Reduced time frames result in less resource usage
- Cost-effective as compared to native apps
Disadvantages of Hybrid Applications
- Doesn’t offer a user experience as great as native apps do because they cannot take advantage of the platform’s UI
- To function correctly, these require APIs and plugins which may present security threats
- Needs an uninterrupted network connection to work to their full potential
- It’s difficult to create inclusive design choices that take into account users’ varying degrees of ability
Examples of Hybrid Apps
Evernote: The app’s hybrid nature allows users to sync their notes across devices.
Twitter: Another popular social media platform utilizing a hybrid app.
Amazon Shopping: Enables users to keep their shopping cart across multiple platforms.
Instagram: This social media app is powered by HTML5 technology.
Native Apps vs Hybrid Apps: A Comparison
Native or hybrid? There are certain disadvantages to every option. The key is to select the appropriate tool for the job. So, to make an effective decision, here are key differences between the native vs hybrid mobile app platforms based on performance, time, cost, user experience, and app security.
Native applications work with technologies that integrate seamlessly with the device’s hardware and operating system. These applications can leverage the device’s features, particularly in terms of compatibility and interactivity. This has a positive impact on overall performance and user experience.
Hybrid frameworks, on the other hand, are slower and, in many situations, less elegant than native apps. With simple apps, these distinctions are rarely detectable. Although the problem becomes less visible as hybrid technology advances, it still exists with complicated programs, and at some point, you may need to use a native strategy.
Time and Cost of Development
When it comes to the time and cost of development, hybrid apps are cost-effective and take the least amount of time to develop. Since they are single code-based, hybrid apps are easier to maintain as well. On the flip side, native apps have multiple code bases which take a lot of time and resources to develop and fabricate for different platforms in every feature update.
Native apps are designed for a particular platform. Thus, catering to all the UI/UX design elements for each platform, they ensure the best possible user experience. Apart from that, native apps also take the screen size and account hardware capabilities into account. Whereas, hybrid apps utilize one single code for all platforms, compromising the app’s user experience.
Native applications are considered more secure than hybrid ones. That is because native apps have access to platform-specific built-in features. On the contrary, hybrid apps, due to their use of WebViews are more vulnerable to Web-specific attacks. Yet, that doesn’t imply that native apps are completely invulnerable.
Native vs Hybrid: Which One Should You Choose?
Now that you’re familiar with the two options available at hand, it’s time to decide the best fit for your business. But, how do you go about choosing between the two mobile app development frameworks, hybrid and native? Ask yourself these five key questions.
- Who is the target audience?
If your audience is easily turned off by the occasional stability issue or bug, a hybrid app may not be for them. A business manager who wants to monitor call center SaaS has different requirements than someone looking for the newest shopping trends.
- What features must be added?
Consider what and how many features you want to incorporate into the app. Does the app need to make use of the UI, GPS, and camera? Does the app require access to other device features? Think about all these options before selecting the right modern tech stack.
- What is your development budget?
If you have a suitable budget, you may be able to design native Android and iOS apps. If your resource pool is limited, the hybrid approach may be preferable.
- When do you need to launch the app?
Consider how quickly you need to launch the app. If the quick launch is your priority, you may consider creating a hybrid app. Yet, if you’ve got enough time and resources, a native app is worth it.
- Who will build the app?
Last but not least, consider who is going to build the app. Should you build the app yourself or hire a professional to do so? In any case, if you don’t have the required expertise, availing of mobile app development services by experts is the best move.
Once you have answers to all the above-mentioned questions, you’ll be well on your way to building the right mobile app.
Native Apps: Key Takeaways
Native apps are the most stable and secure. They will be more efficient and capable of handling the most difficult duties. This type of application is best suited for utilizing the hardware functionality of specific devices. The user interface is intuitive and functional. Expect longer development times and higher expenditures when developing native apps.
Hybrid Apps: Key Takeaways
Hybrid apps are simple to install on iOS and Android. You can save money and effort by utilizing a single codebase. When used correctly, hybrid apps can be an excellent choice. Users may encounter difficulties more frequently than with native apps. These apps cannot fully utilize available hardware, such as cameras, GPS, and so on. Besides, these apps require a constant internet connection to function properly.
Hybrid or native apps? No one option is better than the other. You just have to find the right one for you. While each one has its pros and cons, which one to opt for largely depends on your needs and requirements.
By considering everything we’ve discussed above, you should now be better armed to make the right decision. Still, have queries in mind? Talk to our app development experts right away!