Native vs Hybrid Development. Which is Right for Your Business?

If you don’t have an app, you might be missing out

The mobile app is claimed to be the most dynamic business tools. They are perceived as the new normal in building a relationship with your customers. This is valid for software products and other services – such as shopping, renting cars, or banking. Nowadays, companies are obliged to have mobile apps for both Android and iOS. We review why small businesses should have custom apps here.

When companies decide that they want a custom app for their business, sooner or later they face the question “Which is better – native or hybrid?” Each of these two approaches to mobile app development has its own pros and cons, and we will review them.

What is the difference between native app and hybrid app?

Native apps are developed in a platform-specific programming language, and this makes them compatible only with the corresponding platform. Android apps are developed in Java and Kotlin, whereas iOS apps are developed in Swift and Objective-C.

Hybrid apps are developed by using web technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS in combination with native plugins. They are essentially platform-independent web apps rendered using the native browser engine. Another abstraction layer in necessary for a hybrid app to be able to access device capabilities like the camera, accelerometer, etc.

1. Pros of native app development

A) Performance

The application that was created and optimised for a specific platform can demonstrate an unbelievably high level of performance. Developers deal with the battery and memory consumption to reach decent results. Native apps perform fast because of the code itself, too. It works better as it’s written in the programming language natively supported by the platform. Furthermore, this allows faster integration of new features.

B) New features

When developing a native app, you always get access to the newest features first. Both Apple and Google release beta versions of their newest OS quite some time before they are officially launched to the public. This gives developers plenty of time to leverage the latest tech and gives them an advantage over hybrid apps.

C) Data protection

Creating a native app is the best way to guarantee your users a reliable data protection. And companies are usually very concerned about this – especially those in the enterprise sector, fin-tech, finance, and applications with sensitive data.

D) User experience

Mobile developers and UX designers can focus their efforts on tailoring the app’s functionality to one platform that has its own design language, unique elements, and set gestures. Thus the sense of unity is achieved and users intuitively navigate through the interface. Furthermore, native applications allow full offline mode.

2. Cons of native app development

Be attentive while checking the list of disadvantages, it might depend on the chosen platform as well.

A) Time and money-consuming

These are the most important factors that influence how companies develop their apps. It definitely requires time to build complex software. Furthermore, creating two different apps for iOS and Android doubles the amount of work and price.

B) Distributed codebase

Having some features unavailable for iOS or Android is a well-known problem in the development world. This happens due to limitations in the budget or restrictions of the platform. Sometimes, apps in the App Store can be abandoned for years while the Android version receives regular updates and vice versa.

3. Pros of hybrid app development

A) Work across multiple platforms

Hybrid apps can run both Android and iOS having just one code base, which is extremely convenient. This means you don’t have to build the app for each platform as in the case with native apps. Mobile developers create a single code base that can function across Android and iOS. This is good news for stakeholders whose primary goal is to target as much audience as possible.

B) Lower cost and faster delivery time

Due to the single codebase, the hybrid application which runs on iOS and Android can be implemented for nearly the same period that’s required to build one native app. The development time directly influences the final cost of your product. Furthermore, you don’t need separate teams for Android and iOS development.

C) Easier to maintain and update

Again, due to the single codebase, the developer team doesn’t have to work with different platforms separately to add new functions. All required changes and updates are maintained simultaneously on both platforms. Furthermore, when the developers fix bugs, users don’t have to download the latest version of your app manually. Developers repair the issue, and users get the new version the next time they launch the app.

4. Cons of hybrid app development

A) Limited capabilities

Due to the nature of hybrid mobile apps’ architecture, they rely on plugins to access the built-in features of a device. Furthermore, those plugins may be out of date or unreliable. And in some cases, developers may need to create plugins on their own, which could be very time-consuming.

B) Internet connection

Hybrid apps are websites at their core, and they require a constant internet connection to deliver the full range of features. Due to this, some functions won’t be available when the user lacks connection.

C) Poor user experience

Unfortunately, the user experience isn’t a strong side of hybrid apps since the interface for both iOS and Android platforms should meet somewhere in the middle. In case you focus too much on Android, the experience will be worse for iOS users and vice versa. Eventually, you are able to write version specific UI for each platform, but it will take extra development time, which defeats the purpose of going for a Hybrid app in the first place.

Conclusion

So, what is the answer to ‘Which is better – native or hybrid?’ – we believe that the right question is: ‘Which method fits better my company?’ Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses and companies, have their own objectives, budget, and marketing strategies. Therefore, both hybrid and native app development might be the best approach for different companies.

We hope that this article helped you to understand the difference between native and hybrid mobile apps and making the right choice will be easier for you. Your task is to outline your own most important criteria and based on that to choose a method.

If you feel lost, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are ready to help you.

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