Our lives have become confined to digital assets since the advent of technology. Over the Internet and mobile apps, we make the most important decisions in our lives and businesses. It is difficult for businesses to compete in the competitive digital landscape because countless apps are currently available on the Play Store and App Store with limited exposure, skills, resources, and budget.
The annual app downloads worldwide are expected to reach 299 billion in 2023, up from approximately 247 billion global app downloads in 2020.
Furthermore, by 2023, mobile apps are expected to generate over 935 billion US dollars in revenue from paid downloads and in-app advertising.
With such fierce competition, business owners are under pressure to focus more on the quality, precision, functionality, and other parameters that persuade potential customers to choose their services over others.
At this point, businesses usually face several dilemmas, such as deciding on the best technology to rely on for mobile app development services, whether to go with iOS or Android or which app development framework to use to increase customer engagement.
This blog will review the three major app development methods: native, hybrid, and cross-platform.
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What is a Native App?
Native apps are created for a specific operating system using platform-specific programming languages. Native app development refers to creating apps or software that must run on specific devices and mobile app platforms such as Android and iOS. Native mobile app development company relies on the native-to-the-operating-system programming language to create apps for a specific platform, such as desktops, smart TVs, smartphones, or any other advanced gadgets used in the digital space.
When developing native apps for Android, Java or Kotlin are used, while Objective-C or Swift are used for iOS. Native mobile app development is ideal when you want to provide the best user experience possible regarding the application’s appearance and feel. Because native app development allows developers to use primary smartphone hardware elements such as GPS, proximity sensors, camera, microphone, and so on, developers can add more capabilities and features to their apps.
Benefits of Native Apps
- High Speed
Because native mobile apps do not use complex code like hybrid and cross-platform apps, they are significantly faster. The majority of the app elements are displayed quickly because they preload ahead of time. Startups prefer native applications due to their rapid development and low cost.
- Offline Functionality
One of the most notable native app advantages is that they work flawlessly without an internet connection. This provides greater convenience to users because they can access all app functionalities while in airplane mode or offline. This offline support functionality in native apps is critical for app users who live in areas with poor internet connectivity, are in remote areas, or have limited data availability.
- More Intuitive & Interactive
Native apps provide a superior user experience, which emerging entrepreneurs can expect. Because native apps are built for a specific operating system, they adhere to guidelines that ensure an improved experience perfectly aligned with a specific operating system. Furthermore, because native apps adhere to the guidelines, users can interact with the applications using gestures and actions with which they are already familiar.
- Minimized Scope of Bugs
Managing two different codebases becomes more difficult than managing a single codebase as in native app development. Because native apps have a single codebase and do not rely on cross-platform tools, they have fewer bugs.
- Utmost Performance
Native app development aids in developing apps optimized for a specific platform, ensuring high performance. Because native applications are designed for a specific platform, they are responsive and relatively fast. Furthermore, these apps are built with core programming languages and APIs, making native apps more efficient.
- Enhanced Security
When to Consider Developing a Native App?
Your target audience will be using your app for the first time, and you want to give them the best app experience possible.
It is necessary to code specifically for one platform.
Businesses are interested in 3D games and animations.
You intend to acquire many DAUs, approach VC investors for product funding and create an easy-to-learn yet intuitive app.
Device-specific features such as GPS, cameras, and so on must be added.
Tools for Native Mobile App Development
- Tools for Android App Development:
- Tools for iOS App Development:
- Examples of Best Native App
Cons of Native App Development
- No Code Reusability
If you want to build native apps for iOS and Android separately, you’ll have to do the coding and develop the apps for both mobile operating systems. And, unlike hybrid mobile apps with shared backend code or cross-platform apps with a reusable codebase, this would necessitate a significant amount of time, effort, cost, and resources.
- High Maintenance
Native app development incurs significant maintenance costs that are in addition to the development costs.
- Needs More Skills and Talent
Because native mobile apps are language-specific, it can be difficult to find developers who can create native apps back-to-back. When deciding between native and cross-platform app development, you’ll need to hire two teams for native app development and only one for cross-platform app development.
What is a Hybrid App?
The hybrid platform comprises two major components: backend code and a native viewer that is downloaded to display the functions and the backend.
With hybrid app development, the code is written only once and can be used across multiple platforms. When you create a hybrid app, it can provide performance and user experience comparable to native apps, but it falls short in UX and navigation patterns.
Benefits of Hybrid Apps
- Rapid Time to Market
Startups are typically motivated to get their MVPs to market as soon as possible. In that case, a hybrid app development framework is the best option because it allows for rapid development and market launch of the app at a relatively early stage.
- Easy Maintenance
Because hybrid apps are solely based on web technology, they are easier to maintain than native and cross-platform apps with complex coding.
- Minimized Cost Backed with Ease of Development
Because the hybrid app development lifecycle is accompanied by unified development, startups with limited budgets can sigh relief. They do not need to invest separately in developing different versions of applications for different platforms. Hybrid app development frameworks allow developers to create a single version and use it across multiple platforms.
- Improved UI/UX
Hybrid apps combine the advantages of native and web apps while providing a flawless and enhanced user experience across Android and iOS platforms. The lightweight hybrid app UI of a hybrid mobile app development company allows for super-fast loading of graphics and content.
When to Consider Developing a Hybrid App?
Planning to operate the app seamlessly across different platforms and don’t have sufficient time to build a cross-platform solution.
You plan to distribute a web app throughout app stores.
You are targeting a broader audience that uses the app on the web and mobile devices.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for testing the project idea.
You wish to avail the device’s native features like GPS, camera, and so on.
- Hybrid App Development Frameworks
- Examples of Best Hybrid Apps
Cons of Hybrid App Development
- No Offline Support
Hybrid applications, unlike native apps, do not provide offline support. Users must wait for an Internet connection before using the app’s features.
- OS Inconsistencies
Because hybrid apps use a single code base, there may be features that are specific to one operating system that does not work perfectly on other systems, such as some Android-specific functionalities that do not work on iOS devices.
What is a Cross Platform App?
Let’s clear the air for young entrepreneurs who believe cross-platform and hybrid app development is the same.
Cross-platform vs. hybrid app development has entirely different meanings and serves entirely different purposes. Cross-platform frameworks are on the agenda to create shareable and reusable code for building apps for various operating systems. Writing code once and reusing it on multiple platforms reduces development costs and efforts.
Cross-platform apps will ensure easy implementation, robust functionality, and low production costs. However, don’t expect high performance and customization with a cross-platform app development framework.
Cross-platform applications are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter frameworks.
Benefits of Cross-platform Apps
- Hassle-free & Rapid Development
Having reusable code that is backed up by increased productivity and efficiency is a huge benefit for developers and business owners in the long run. This is where a cross-platform app development framework outperforms the competition.
- Great Product Maintenance
Businesses can rest easy knowing that cross-platform app development uses a single codebase and produces flawless results. Because there is only one codebase, it is very simple to test and deploy fixes and upgrades, resulting in higher accuracy and superior quality mobile applications.
- Reduced Cost
A cross-platform app development framework has the potential to support all types of platforms. It ensures a wider global market reach with increased brand popularity of startup businesses seeking rapid market traction. Furthermore, cross-platform apps ensure lower initial costs.
- Code Reusability
When developing cross-platform apps, developers do not need to write unique code for each operating system. A shared codebase can be used to transfer code between platforms.
- When to Consider Building a Cross-platform App?
With a limited budget, time, and resources, you must release a mobile application on multiple platforms.
You must target both iOS and Android app users.
You require quicker app development.
The app isn’t complicated, and it doesn’t require features that differ greatly between platforms.
- Popular Cross Platform App Development Frameworks
- Examples of Best Cross-platform Apps
Cons of Cross-platform Apps
- Complicated Development Lifecycle
You’ll need a team of skilled developers to create apps that can run on multiple platforms. When implementing complex functionalities and interfaces, you must carefully consider the minor differences between operating systems and the hardware they run.
- Difficult Integrations
Integrating cross-platform apps into local settings is frequently difficult for developers, and the code of HTML5 cross-platform apps is complex due to callback-style programming.
Native vs. Hybrid vs. Cross-Platform: Which One to Choose?
Now that we are aware of all three mobile app development frameworks, the next question that arises in the minds of business owners is which approach is the best of all. Whether you choose native, hybrid, or cross-platform depends on the project requirements, budget, business model, target audience, demographics, and a variety of other factors.
It is difficult to choose a winner when it comes to native vs. hybrid vs. cross-platform apps, but you can easily determine which is better based on a few parameters and the merits of each element.
Using the dropdown below, startup businesses can clearly understand native vs. cross-platform vs. hybrid app development frameworks and determine the best fit for their business in the long run.
When it comes to providing the best possible performance to users and comparing cross-platform vs. hybrid vs. native app performance, the native mobile app development approach is the best choice. Native Android app development allows you to easily discover next-generation smartphone features such as memory management, network, and wireless access points, and so on for optimizing service delivery and ultimately improving overall app performance.
Airbnb, an early adopter of the React Native app framework, is one real-life example of a tech giant complementing native app development. When deciding between hybrid mobile apps, native apps, and cross-platform apps, Airbnb initially chose cross-platform to move faster and write product code only once. However, their priorities and demands for improved app performance and developer experience evolved. Then they switched to native app development and saw profitable results.
Time to Market
Approximately 29.5K mobile apps are released monthly through the Apple App Store.
With such fierce competition in the market, companies are working hard to get their app on the App Store and Google Play as soon as possible. When comparing time to market between native apps, cross-platform apps, and hybrid platforms, native apps take the longest to develop. While hybrid and cross-platform apps are worth considering due to their quicker time to market.
Every startup company’s primary concern is the budget; they expect a superior yet modern mobile app that can be developed within their budget. A startup with a limited budget cannot afford a native app in this case. Cross-platform app development is the best option because it allows developers to write a single source code that can then be transformed into the desired OS-based app. Furthermore, cross-platform app development necessitates fewer efforts and resources.
The number of data breaches in the United States in 2020 totaled 1001 cases. Meanwhile, over 155.8 million people were affected by data exposures in the same year, defined as the unintentional disclosure of sensitive information due to inadequate information security.
App security has become a top priority for business owners to protect their company’s and customers’ data and sensitive information at all costs. App security is a top priority if you work in the eCommerce industry or another business vertical that deals with sensitive customer data. Because compromising user security and sensitive data can destroy a company’s reputation overnight, business owners must deliver a bug-free app.
In terms of security, native apps outperform hybrid apps and cross-platform apps. Native apps include a plethora of built-in security features. These features make it simple for developers to implement file encryption, intelligent fraud detection, and the highest level of security in their apps. However, because startups are concerned with development costs and time to market, hybrid and cross-platform app development frameworks are more popular. Once their apps are stable and popular in the market, they can eventually transition to native apps to ensure app security.
Customization & UX
70% of customers report abandoning their shopping carts due to a poor user experience.
90% of smartphone users say they are more likely to continue shopping if they have a positive user experience. Modern customers have higher expectations from a brand, and the first thing they expect from a company is a rich user experience throughout their app journey. This implies that the mobile application’s user experience solely determines the overall user retention rate.
Businesses must focus on providing customization, personalization, and improved usability. When comparing native vs. hybrid mobile app development vs. cross-platform app development, native apps have better UI capabilities because they have pre-built libraries and interface components that can be customized. So, in terms of customization and UX, native app development is the best option.
Regardless of the industry vertical, businesses must invest in a mobile app development strategy that perfectly suits their business nature, business requirements, and customer expectations.
Whether you choose native, hybrid or cross-platform apps depends entirely on your business needs. Businesses must first determine their needs to develop a robust yet modern-age app. Once that is determined, they must investigate the best development platform for meeting all of those needs.
When comparing native vs. hybrid vs. cross-platform, each option has advantages and disadvantages; you must consider the big picture and understand the goals you want to achieve with the app. It will undoubtedly assist you in developing a modern yet engaging mobile app for the market and eventually reaching the pinnacle over time.
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