Native Mobile Apps vs. Hybrid Apps: How to Choose

Feb 11, 2020

Native Mobile Apps vs Hybrid Apps

Businesses are continuously looking for innovative ways to interact with their customers. And mobile applications are vital and dynamic business tools to make meaningful interactions a possibility.

In fact, the global share for mobile device website traffic has grown to 52.6% in the 4th quarter of 2019, which indicates that the importance of mobile app development cannot be ignored.

Mobile apps help businesses provide a convenient experience to their customers, increasing retention through direct interactions and quick responses to their requests. Mobile apps also ensure better accessibility to customers with timely push notifications, secure payment options and other useful features; making them a necessity for businesses.

But the debate surrounding hybrid vs. native apps delays the decision-making process for many enterprises as they struggle to find the correct route to app development.

While both have their pros and cons, companies need to consider their budget and time restrictions, the current stage of their business life cycle and marketing strategies before investing in mobile app development.

This blog aims to provide a comparison of hybrid vs. native apps and help companies decide on the right app for their needs.

Hybrid App Development

Hybrid applications are created as a single app that can be used on multiple platforms, including Android, iOS and windows.

They’re like a combination of a web and a native app (native apps are specific to a platform) – i.e., a website fitted into a browser container that sort of looks like an application for a particular platform like iOS.

Developers use a single code to cover different platforms, which means that there’s no need to develop different versions for iOS and Android.

Pros of Hybrid Apps

These are less expensive to develop because of the single code base – developers and companies can have the app perform on different platforms without the need for a separate code to ensure cross-platform efficiency.

This can lead to significant savings for these businesses because they only need to pay for the app once and have both Apple and Android users use it effectively.

When hiring developers, companies don’t need to employ separate android and iOS developers and can instead focus on hiring people who have an in-depth understanding of web-based technologies.

Web-based developers know how to deploy HTML5, JavaScript, CSS to develop hybrid apps – even novice developers have these skills and hiring them costs significantly less compared to android or iOS developers.

Even hiring a team of experts working on a single code base is less expensive than having two separate groups working on two different code bases.

Hybrid applications are simpler to build and test – they can be easily tested on different platforms, reducing the time it takes to go live. Since there’s no need for large cross-functional teams, reaching a consensus and launching the hybrid app doesn’t take long once it’s been tested.

Cons of Hybrid Apps

When selecting from hybrid vs native apps, it is crucial to consider the user experience and use interface the app will offer.

Hybrid applications may not offer the flawless user experience that a native app can because it’s designed for multiple platforms. Users may experience unexpected interactions like fake-native dialogues and unauthorized menu drawers etc. considerably diminishing the practicability of the app for the end-user.

It is also vital to integrate hardware functions such as microphone and Bluetooth into the app. However, hybrid apps don’t lend themselves well to such integrations.

Additionally, hybrid app development creates framework dependency where the app is dependent on third-party libraries. If these libraries are not restructured when a new platform version (Android or iOS) is released, companies may have to put their apps on hold until they’re brought up-to-date.

Some business apps might also need added functionality for processing in-app transactions and payments – they’d have to be integrated with different back-end systems for this to happen.

This can be a significant challenge for hybrid apps – businesses need to work with proficient developers to ensure that their apps are functional in every sense of the word.

Native App Development

Native mobile apps are made specifically for a platform or device, such as Android, iOS or Windows.

Native apps are made and coded in specific ‘native’ programming languages for these devices – for example, iOS uses Objective-C or Swift language, Android uses Kotlin or JavaScript, while for a Windows app, C# is the language of choice for coders.

Developers for these platforms stick to development guidelines for these languages to account for typography, graphic stylization, visual effects, data entry forms and gestures.

Pros of Native Apps

When deciding between hybrid vs. native apps, it’s essential to understand that Native apps run more smoothly and deliver a better user experience. These apps are much better at recognizing specific gestures like scrolling, displaying animations and effects etc. making them a pleasure to use.

This enhanced usability can be attributed to the fact that native apps are custom-made for a particular platform – there’s no third-party dependency or forced framework integration with hardware like hybrid apps.

This also allows timely maintenance without suffering losses, allowing the native app to become more affordable as far as maintenance costs are concerned.

Moreover, native developers can easily integrate these apps with back-end business systems to add to app functionality without compromising performance.

Customers can also use some native apps in offline mode – a feature not available with hybrid apps that won’t function at all without an internet connection.

Cons of Native Apps

Most businesses have a mix of iOS and Android users among their clientele – so naturally, they want an app that works well across these two platforms, at least.

They can either choose to develop one app that covers both these platforms or they can pay separate teams of developers independently to work on distinct apps.

Since it’s time-consuming to develop and test sophisticated software that caters to a specific platform, it can be costly to create two separate applications for iOS and Android.

Native developers are more expensive as compared to hybrid app developers, as mentioned earlier, but the advantages to companies and businesses of developing native apps are greater, even if it does require maintaining two separate code bases for the mobile and desktop User Interfaces.

Limited budgets and platform restrictions can cause some app features to be unavailable for an app on either platform, however. For instance, an application may be abandoned in either the Google PlayStore, while the App Store application receives all the updates.

When choosing hybrid vs. native apps, Hybrid is less expensive and only introduces features that work for both platforms.

In Conclusion

Hybrid vs. native apps – that’s not an easy choice. One compels businesses to compromise on user experience while the other may cost more than they bargained for.

However, choosing the right one really isn’t a problem for businesses that value customer satisfaction about all else. Read more about our mobile app development process.

If you would like to learn more about the app development options available to you, please call us for a free consultation.