Native vs. Hybrid Apps: Which One Is Better For You?

February 7, 2022

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The way people across the world spend their lives from day to night reveals truly astonishing stats. According to the report published by App Annie, the average number of hours people spend on mobile apps is 4.2 hours. And in some countries, people spend more than 5 hours on their smartphones on a daily basis.

For an entrepreneur, this would be a great opportunity to advertise their products or services and attract customers. Do not confuse this with the gaming apps, non-gaming apps have seen a sudden rise in the industry. If you own a business, please ask yourself if you can afford to lose such a huge market. Of course not.

Making your business presence on mobile devices will open new doors of opportunities. Having your business’s mobile app is an excellent way of spreading awareness. You can offer more value to your clients or customers and this is a major reason why people are opting for mobile app development.

As per stats displayed by Sensor Tower, it is shown that first-time downloads in 2021 were 119 billion and it is estimated that this number will grow to 187 billion in 2025.

With such fierce competition, entrepreneurs are under pressure to focus more on quality, functionality, precision, and other factors that persuade potential clients to choose their services over other options.

But this also creates a dilemma in the minds of business owners about which technology/platform they should count on. Many people have this question about what is native vs. hybrid apps and what is best for their business.

In this guide, you’ll get a thorough understanding of both types of apps and their specific advantages.

What are really Native And Hybrid Apps

Native Applications

Native apps of software are specifically developed for a single platform or environment. These apps or software are made using programming languages that only support one platform at a particular time. For instance, Kotlin or Java language is used to develop Android-based apps and Objective-C or Swift is used to create iOS applications.

To develop native apps, an SDK (Software Development Tools) for a specific software framework, operating system, and hardware platform is used. These apps can not function or run on other platforms i.e. an iOS-based app cannot work on android and vice-versa.

Hybrid Applications

Hybrid apps are developed by combining native and web solutions and in one way are a kind of native applications. This is said because you can download these apps like native apps from the platform’s app store.

  • These apps are built using web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS whereas native apps are developed using specific languages like Swift, Java, etc.
  • You can view these apps in WebView for android and UIWebView for iOS (A view that shows web pages and uses the browser’s same engine but no widgets similar to browser ones).
  • Using a single code base you can develop hybrid apps for any platform.

Key Differences Between Native & Hybrid Apps

Whenever a business owner decides to build a mobile app for their business, the first question that comes to their minds is which platform would be better for my business. Deciding between the types of mobile apps can be highly confusing and this is why it is important to understand the differences between the two.

All mobile app development techniques have unique characteristics and different advantages and disadvantages. Several enterprises are moving towards mobile application development due to their increasing demand in the market. Thus, to take the benefit of this sector, you first need to have in-depth knowledge of distinct technologies.

  • The first major difference is the one that we are discussing from the very beginning is platforms. Native apps are built and run only on one particular platform whereas hybrid apps are developed to run on numerous platforms.
  • This brings us to the second difference i.e. the technology used to develop them. They are coded and developed using different programming languages. For instance, Java (for Android) or Swift (for iOS) are used to make native apps whereas HTML, JavaScript, & CSS are used to make hybrid apps.
  • The second difference leads us to the third one i.e. the one who develops (developer) these apps. To build native apps, you need to work with an expert app developer. The UI/UX of the app is crucial as customers usually switch to another app if they don’t like it. ON the other hand, you don’t need an expert developer to create hybrid apps as they are easy to develop. But one should work with professionals to get quality apps within the specified time frame. To hire the best app developer, you need to be aware and must avoid critical mistakes that several entrepreneurs make and regret.
  • The fifth difference is the main difference and it is between the user experience offered by them. Native apps are highly customizable and have preset libraries and interface components that allow them to offer better user experiences than hybrid apps. But in terms of time to market, native apps take a good amount of time for development but it is easy to build cross-platform or hybrid apps and thus their launch time is usually less than the former.
  • The next thing is a comparison of both platforms in terms of the cost of development. To develop hybrid apps you may have to spend less cost but the cost of the development of native apps is higher.

All these above-mentioned differences can help an entrepreneur in deciding the best platform as per their business needs and budget. However, we cannot ignore the most popular apps made using both platforms. For instance, famous native apps include Twitter, LinkedIn, Paypal, etc. and famous hybrid apps include Instagram, Basecamp, Yelp, etc.

Both types of apps are good for different reasons and like a coin, they also have their benefits as well as disadvantages. So, let’s deep dive and get to know more about them.

Benefits Of Native Apps

  • These apps are fast as they are made specifically for the intended platform.
  • These apps are meant to run on a single platform and you need to code differently to make them run on other platforms.
  • These apps offer better performance and can also work offline with no internet connectivity.
  • Aspect ratio is maintained to improve graphics and images quality.
  • They can access the full functionality of devices.

Disadvantages Of Native Apps

  • The cost of developing native apps is high.
  • The time taken to develop these apps is usually high.
  • An expert developer is required to develop apps for different platforms.
  • Separate development, testing, and maintenance of an app for different platforms (i.e. iOS & Android) are required.

Benefits Of Hybrid Apps

  • These apps can be developed in less time.
  • The development cost of these apps is also lower than native apps.
  • These apps can run on various platforms and only one-time coding is required.
  • The development, maintenance, and support for these apps are easy.

Disadvantages Of Hybrid Apps

  • Hybrid apps need an internet connection all time and cannot run in offline mode.
  • Regular testing and maintenance are required.
  • These apps are slower than native apps and depend on the third-party wrapper.
  • These apps can not use the full functionality of devices.
  • These apps are mostly dependent on frameworks and libraries.

List Of Popular Native App Frameworks

SwiftUI: It is the latest framework launched by Apple in 2019 and is used to build interfaces for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. With this framework, developers can develop fast mobile apps. Now they focus more on the different types of functionalities to be added rather than how to add them. This allows for designing, developing, and testing at the code writing stage which is one of the best advantages of using this framework.

KTOR (Kotlin) framework: This framework is developed by JetBrains and is used to build web applications using Kotlin. It possesses coroutines for high scalability and it also includes idiomatic API. It is easy to install and use and developers can easily build applications in less time.

List Of Popular Hybrid App Frameworks

React Native: It is the latest framework launched by Apple in 2019 and is used to build interfaces for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. With this framework, developers can develop fast mobile apps. Now they focus more on the different types of functionalities to be added rather than how to add them. This allows for designing, developing, and testing at the code writing stage which is one of the best advantages of using this framework.

Flutter: It is a UI toolkit developed by Google and used to develop genuine native apps for various platforms such as mobile, web, or desktop. This allows you to create one code base to build Android as well as iOS apps. With the help of a 2D rendering engine/library known as Skia, one can develop good visuals.

Native vs Hybrid Apps: Which One To Choose In Different Scenarios?

To decide the platform that will work best for your business, you must consider a few factors such as:

  • Speed of the application
  • UI/UX of the application
  • Features’ complexity of the app
  • Your app development budget
  • Your business goals

Let’s see which app development platform will work best in different scenarios:

When You Can Opt For Native Apps?

  • If your business app needs to work in online as well as offline mode.
  • If better interaction and performance are priority features for your business.
  • If it is important to add a wide number of functionalities to your app.
  • If your app requires access to the device’s features.

When You Can Opt For Hybrid Apps?

  • If you want to make your business presence on mobile too.
  • If you want to spend less and fast app development.
  • If it is okay for you to compromise with performance and user interface.

Which Option Is Best For Mobile App Development?

The best choice for mobile app development lies within your business goals and priorities.

  • Based-on platform: If your business goal is to run your mobile app on different platforms e.g. iOS, Android and web as well, you should go for hybrid apps. The app development process to create these apps is not long and also the launch time is less. If you choose the web or hybrid option, you’ll only have to develop a single code base and you can publish it on multiple platforms. If you choose native app development, you will have to create code differently for each platform.
  • Based-on budget: If you have a low budget, less time, and hardware functionalities are not essential, you should go for hybrid or web apps. These apps are simpler to maintain and can run on multiple devices with a single code base. If budget is not a problem and your business app needs to access hardware functionalities, high performance, then without compromising, you must choose native apps.
  • Based on user experience: Native apps are meant to be designed for a particular application store and thus offer the best user experience. On the other hand, with hybrid apps, you may not get an excellent user experience.

Native Or Hybrid Apps: Which Is Better Choice?

To conclude, hybrid mobile apps are less time-consuming and cost-effective whereas native apps possess strong technical advancements and complex features and functionalities. If you find that native apps will be best for you but want to test your product without wasting a lot of money, you can first consider Minimum Viable Product (MVP). If you don’t know about it, you must first read and understand what is a minimum viable product.

Now you must have an in-depth understanding of native and hybrid apps and their respective pros and cons. You must understand that deciding and settling on one type of platform completely relies on the end-user or business requirements. If you are still in a dilemma, it is always better to consult an experienced mobile app developer to understand what is best for your particular business.

They will help in comprehending your business needs and then provide the best solution and shape your ideas/thoughts in an ideal way. To know more about native and hybrid apps and the technologies associated with them, you should contact our professional and experienced mobile app development team at RV Technologies.

What should you choose native vs. hybrid app development? Well, in the end, what matters the most is finding and hiring a reliable and expert mobile app developer. So, after understanding the terminology and what’s best for you, focus on finding the right developer to fulfill your business needs.

About the Author Sandeep Kumar is a Director at RV Technologies. Having an inclination towards software development, Sandeep always ensures to stay on top of the latest development technologies and how to implement them in real-world projects. He is always ready to share his insight with the developers so that they can also leverage the modern-day tech stack and build futuristic digital solutions for clients. Apart from overseeing all the development projects, Sandeep also likes to write down and share his insights with the world to familiarize people with the latest technologies and their potential in our everyday lives.

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