Should you build a Native Mobile App Or Hybrid Mobile App for your business?
What is the first step of the mobile app development process? Well, it’s decision-making and believe us, that’s what you’ll be doing throughout the entire process until you have a market-ready app at your disposal.
Entrepreneurs are subjected to the world of options as soon as they venture into mobile app development. From deciding goals and objectives the app would fulfill, determining the target audience, to deciding the technology stack needed to build the app, the entire app-building journey is dotted with possible courses of action that one would need to take as an entrepreneur.
One such point of deliberation is deciding between native or hybrid mobile app development. And to add to the complexity, web apps offer their own pros and cons, making it difficult for businesses to decide which one is best for them.
Why is it important to pick the right approach?
In mobile app development, each and every decision impacts the success of your app significantly. A wise decision can inch your app towards success and a wrong one can bring you back to square one. Choosing the best approach between native and hybrid app development can help you in the following ways –
- A mobile app requires a clear purpose to succeed. Aligning the app type with its core purpose will help you easily address your audience’s problems and ensure that your app features are user-driven
- An app necessitates long-term commitment. Based on the app type you choose, you can account for all the resources you’ll need for updates and maintenance and also facilitate future releases
- App costs depend invariably on the platform. Choosing the ideal app type will ensure that your app is developed within the intended budget
- Mid-way changes to the development process undo hundreds of hours of work and spike the overall cost of development. But if the right choice is made from the start, your development process will accelerate and benefit you in the long run
What counts while choosing an app type?
The app type you choose will depend on various factors that may vary from business to business. However, the most important factor to consider while developing an app is customer experience – a factor that trumps over all other factors.
This brings us to choosing the best app type for your business. Your choice of app type depends entirely on your business goals and priorities. But before getting into the details of native and hybrid app development, make sure you have the answers to the following:
- What is the time frame within which you want your app to be developed?
- What goals are you trying to fulfill with your app?
- Do you want your app to access the features of the smartphone it runs on?
- What budget have you set for the development of your app?
- How often do you want to upgrade your mobile app?
- Do you want to build the app in-house or outsource the development?
- What is primary to you – best UI/UX or cross-platform compatibility?
Answers to these questions will guide your choice between the app types based on their unique features and advantages. Let’s take a look at each app type individually and weigh the pros and cons of each before coming to a final conclusion.
Native apps are built explicitly for a single platform. These apps are written in a platform-specific programming language such as Swift or Objective-C for an iOS app and Java or Kotlin for an Android application.
Since these apps are platform specific, they can only be used on that platform. So, if an app is developed for the iOS platform, it will work for iPhone users only. It will not work on an Android phone. And if you want to offer your app on both these platforms, you would have to get two versions of the app ready.
However, there’s a bright side to this building-two-versions-of-the-same-app process. As the native apps are specific to a platform, they have the right to use the full functionality of the device. This not only enhances the app’s performance but boosts its speed as well. And if developed correctly, the app can run without error.
Pros and Cons of Native Apps
Here are some of the merits of building native apps –
- Native apps are fast and responsive
- They offer a robust user experience
- They can use push notifications to escalate the app’s use
- They have minimum hardware dependencies due to efficient coding
- They allow app developers to acquire the features of the given platform
- They do not necessitate an internet connection.
These apps show certain demerits such as the following –
- They can reach the audience only on a single platform
- The app development time is slower
- The development costs are high
- The app developer needs to be well-versed with the platform-specific language
- A different app needs to be developed for each platform
A hybrid app can be downloaded from a platform’s app store and is hence considered native. For building hybrid apps, developers use cross-platform mobile app development frameworks such as PhoneGap or Xamarin. These frameworks are third-party tools that link the native platform with the web view and allow communication between them.
Pros and Cons of Hybrid Apps
Here are some of the merits of building hybrid apps –
- These apps can be used on multiple platforms
- The development process is not as complex as native apps
- No complicated coding or programming knowledge required
- The development process is quicker and cheaper
- There is no need to queue multiple apps for approval to update them
Hybrid apps show certain demerits such as the following –
- These apps are usually slower in contrast with native apps
- They are not as interactive as native apps.
- The overall user experience is relatively unsatisfactory.
- In matters of high-definition graphics, these apps fall behind native apps
- These apps are dependent on a third party wrapper
Web Apps are a good option for startups starting out with a minimum budget. These apps are the least expensive option and do not require complex functionalities or the ability to access operating system features. However, these are slow, less intuitive, and inaccessible through app stores. Also, users will not have an app icon on their home screens and hence will not be persistently reminded to use the app.
Comparing Native Apps and Hybrid Apps
Coming back to our key point of discussion – should you build a native mobile app or hybrid mobile app for your business? We’ll leave web apps out of this discussion as it is not a fairly limiting option if you want to build a strong mobile presence. Let’s talk about the major points of contrast between native and hybrid app development.
The difference between the two app types is clear.
Firstly, native apps are built specifically for one platform and entail the development of platform-specific versions of an app whereas a single hybrid app can work on many platforms.
And then, for developing a platform-specific native app, you need skilled developers who understand the languages particular to the platform. This means that the development process would need more time, effort, and money. However, the development time of hybrid apps is less and one mobile app is sufficient for different platforms which minimize the cost of app development.
Lastly, native apps offer a better user interface and enhanced speed than the hybrid apps. This makes them the best option for demanding and processor-intensive apps like 3D games and audio-processing applications. So which one is best for your business?
By now, you must be well-versed with both app types and the merits and demerits they pose. So here are few points to ponder on before making a final decision.
When to choose native app development –
- When you have a budget accommodating enough to build separate apps for separate platforms
- When you have ample time (usually more than six months) for developing, testing, and launching an app
- When you want to build an app that is high on performance, responsiveness, and security
- When you want to add enhanced graphics and API to your app
When to choose Hybrid app development –
- When you want an app that serves your business goals just right but is economical as well.
- When you want to develop an app and release it to market in a short duration of time
- When you want an economical app that can run across various operating systems and platforms
- When you want a simple app that doesn’t have to be rich in features
On a Final Note
If it is great app performance and robust customer experience that you’re looking for, then native app development is the right choice for your business. But if you want a simple app and doesn’t call for an extensive investment of time and resources, then hybrid app development is the best option for your business.
The goals you want to fulfill with your app and features you want to offer to your customers will ultimately decide what type of app you should develop.