Native vs Hybrid App Development: Which One is Right for Your Business?

5 mn read

Mobile apps have been at the forefront of technology for more than a decade. Nowadays, they have come to play a major role in business, particularly for startups. Mobile applications have increasingly become a mainstay for virtually every business owner, and they are regarded as the most versatile business tools available in the market today.

More modern businesses are expected to jump into the bandwagon as mobile apps have proven to be the most beneficial method for startups to reach prospective customers. They are also being used to effectively streamline business processes.

Global mobile app download revenue is projected to hit $258 billion in 2022, and the figure is expected to rise in the coming years. However, when moving to a mobile-first environment, many entrepreneurs deal with the dilemma of choosing the type of application to build. In order to meet business needs, the choice is between hybrid app development vs native app development.

To complicate matters, even if you know the ins and outs of startup app development and you’re all set to design and develop your application, choosing the suitable app development approach can appear confusing, if not daunting. To help you decide, let’s dive in and discuss native vs hybrid development.

An Overview of Native App Development

Native apps are created using the development languages and tools specific to each operating system (OS), whether you go with iOS app development or Android app development. On iOS, this requires Swift or Objective-C, and on Android its Java or Kotlin.

Because they are designed for a specific platform, native apps have quick access to all of the features and UI components of mobile devices. While it is convenient to have instant access to common and popular UI elements, you’ll have to customize the app for your business, which can be a bit tough with the built-in controls.

So, even if native applications are developed exclusively for a platform, neither Android nor iOS apps can be utilized on the other. If you wish to cater to both audiences, you must develop two versions of the app. You’ll need to spend more to build the system initially, maintain, and incorporate new features due to the duplication.

An Overview of Hybrid App Development

Hybrid apps are a combination of native and web solutions; hence they are able to provide cross-platform functionality. Developers may build an app that runs on both iOS and Android. These programs are deployed in a native shell that uses a mobile web view and possess elements from native apps. Just like web apps, they are developed by using web tools like HTML5 and JavaScript.

Hybrid apps can be compared to the shells of websites. They perform like websites but are not installed in a device and can be accessed through a browser on the internet.

The objective of hybrid apps is to deliver information in an app-like style. Such applications require minimal upkeep, but they are not as fast as native programs because they depend on the browser’s speed.

Close Look into Native vs Hybrid Development for Businesses

Code Adoption

As previously mentioned, native apps are developed specifically for a single OS. The same code cannot be used on different platforms, so a separate code base preparation is required for iOS and Android app development. Consequently, native apps require longer development time.

With hybrid apps, there is no need to build and maintain a separate code base for various platforms. Mobile app developers can write a single code base and run it on iOS and Android platforms, providing for faster development.

There is no doubt about speed when it comes to development of hybrid applications. Because they don’t rely on network connectivity as much as their native counterpart, hybrid apps are meant to run swiftly on device screens even if there’s a large number of users.

Hybrid vs Native Verdict: Hybrid app development has a distinct advantage here.

Functionality and Performance

There’s no denying that native applications offer more robust performance. They offer a more engaging and seamless user experience (UX) across all structure, content, and visual elements.

The use of platform-specific programming languages allows developers to optimize native apps for performance. On the other hand, hybrid apps place an added layer between the source code and the target OS, sometimes resulting in reduction in performance.

Since hybrid apps load in web view, they’re okay but they have yet to reach native functionality and performance. If the top priorities are reliability and seamless performance, businesses must go with a native approach.

Hybrid vs Native Verdict: The clear winner here is native app development.

User Experience

Most people are detached from the technology that powers the various programs that they use on a daily basis. All they care about is the user experience and how comfortable and versatile the app is for them.

The overall user experience of native apps is superb because the user interface is created specifically for a platform. Native apps adhere to the guidelines that enhance user experience with the specific OS.

Hybrid apps provide a good user experience but it’s definitely inferior to that of native applications. Although they may look and act like native apps, the user experience they deliver is not as sophisticated as that of native apps. The good news for hybrid apps is that technologies like Ionic, Xamarin, and React Native, are continuously improving and making it easier to come up with a native-like experience for their users.

Hybrid vs Native Verdict: The obvious winner here is native app development.

Development Cost

Every business has budget constraints, and this explains the reason why money plays a crucial role in app development. Since native apps require a separate codebase and different programming languages for different mobile platforms, they are more cost-prohibitive.

When developing a native app, you certainly don’t want to lose existing customers who use a different platform. Therefore, you may want to develop an application for all platforms, even if it means extra cost. On the other hand, hybrid apps create and maintain a single code base, so the app development process is a lot easier and cheaper.

Hybrid vs Native Verdict: If cost is your main concern, hybrid app development will make more sense to you.

Security and Quality Assurance

Security and quality must be the top priorities among app developers. The security susceptibilities of any application rely on the platform and how well the code was written. Having said that, native apps are generally regarded as more secure than hybrid apps for a number of reasons, including the fact that they can take advantage of platform-specific integrated security features.

In contrast, hybrid apps rely on web views, which means they are vulnerable to injection attacks when using certain APIs. They also depend on plugins, which require an additional layer of code, where a security risk may be uncovered. Hybrid critics also cited JavaScript injection and SSL configuration as weaknesses.

Hybrid vs Native Verdict: Native app development is the undisputed winner here.

Time to Market

Utilizing a single codebase to build a mobile app for different platforms is a distinct advantage of hybrid app development, as it’s usually faster to market. Native apps are platform-specific and demand different codes for various operating systems; hence they typically take longer to get to market.

Hybrid vs Native Verdict: If time to market is a concern, hybrid app development is the better approach.

Final Thoughts

Native app development will achieve cross-platform compatibility if you are not strapped for time, a significant budget, and access to seasoned developers. Otherwise, hybrid app development offers the best alternative. Hybrid apps are desirable because of their cheaper initial budget expenses, speed to market, cross-compatible web technologies, and use of single source code.

We hope that after discussing native vs hybrid development, you gained a better idea as to which one is better suited for your business venture. Have a quick review of your requirements, select the right approach, and start working with a reputable app development company.

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