Native Vs Hybrid Mobile Apps

Before we can get into the gritty details of Hybrid vs Native Mobile apps, it’s important to understand that 79.4% of all mobile devices use Android whereas 16.4% uses iOS. Why is this important?

For developers, this is the type of information you need to know “where you’ll be spending your efforts on”. Developing for either one of these platforms requires a unique approach and depending on your budget and time constraints, you need to know how to prioritise your coding.

What are Native Apps?

Native apps are mobile application and/or tablet applications that were specifically developed for the targeted platform. For iOS, developers use Xcode IDE and Swift or Objective-C programming language, whereas for Android devices the main approach is to use Android Studio IDE and program the apps with Java.

When developing for native apps, you will know that there will be amazing performance capabilities mainly due to the fact that the app was designed for the OS. This means that the apps are faster and are more refined than hybrid apps. You’ll want to do this when we’re working with games and other high-performing apps.

In addition, when developing for native apps, you’ll notice that users will have a greater experience when using your app. This is because it feels “natural” to the user and there will be a quicker learning curve in the long run.

Finally, native apps works better with your native device. It will be easier to integrate functionalities such as camera access, calendar and GPS to name a few. Hybrid apps will have limits on how to access these functions.

What are Hybrid Apps?

When we’re talking about hybrid apps, we’re essentially talking about “web-based apps” that use a native app “shell”. In other words, they are cross-platform apps that work both on Android and iOS and allows developers to “not create unique code” for each platform. The vast majority of these apps use web technologies such as HTML5, CSS, Java and so forth. Once completed, they “wrap the app” to be compatible with the native OS by using platforms such as Cordova.

What this means is that development time is quicker and much simpler to be able to cover both markets in one full swoop.

Hybrid apps cost less to develop since you don’t have to create two unique code settings. You can use the same code and simply “wrap it” with the native shell to allow the devices to effectively run your app.

In addition, since you are using one language to cover all your bases, there are lower requirements to make your app go live. You don’t need to learn a new coding language to get your app live. This is key for developers who want to achieve more for less. Here is a list of top 7 hybrid app development frameworks.

Which is better?

It really comes down to many variables however in terms of budget, Hybrid apps is the way to go. The problem with Hybrid apps is that you do lose out on user experience since the app has to be flexible enough to run on both OS. Native Apps still hold the highest value in terms of user experience. In addition, Hybrid apps tend to be slower than their native cousins. So if you’re thinking about creating a high-performance app or games, it’s best to stick to native development.

So all in all, you have to see whether or not the Native approach or the Hybrid approach is the best based on:

  1. Performance
  2. Budget
  3. Access to Native OS.

It’s not an easy choice, but depending on what you or your clients want, you can provide them with the options and see what they can and cannot give up to reach further marketplaces.