In our modern connected world, mobile applications are perceived as one of the most dynamic tools business leaders need to reach out to more customers, carryout transactions seamlessly, and to promote their businesses online. Especially in the new normal, every business, from banking to retail, is pushed to go mobile to cater to a wider market and to provide them with better accessibility and more convenient service.
Indeed, mobile applications are now vital tools for the modern business. More so, having one requires not just time and monetary investment but decision making as well. This starts with defining what app suits one’s business better – native or hybrid.
By definition, a native app is an application developed using the native development language and tools specific to a platform, such as Swift or Objective-C for iOS and Java or Kotlin for Android. Because of this, it is able to fully and easily access and use hardware and software particular to the device and operating system (OS) that it is built for. This enables native apps to provide optimized performance and utilize latest technology that the device has such as access to contacts, GPS, or camera. Examples of native apps include social apps such as Twitter and navigation apps such as Waze. Native apps are also installed directly on mobile devices with its data stored either locally on the device or backed up via cloud.
Users are assured of the app’s quality via ratings on Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and other app markets
App functionalities has a wide range depending on the features of the device where it is installed
Better responsiveness and more optimized app performance
App’s user interface (UI) matches the OS’
Native apps are capable of enabling push notifications
Each app entails various code bases as each device requires its own app version
Can be costly to have dedicated developers to build and manage a code base specific for each platform
Requires time for multiple builds for various platforms for each feature updates
In this sense, hybrid apps display web pages adapted to a WebView display and can either be displayed upon opening the app of for specific parts of the app only such as for payment of orders.
Hybrid apps combine user experience, cost efficiency and agile development
These apps avoid the limitations of the Apple App Store as far as validation of updates is concerned as long as the native code has no modifications for the said update
Hybrid apps allow reusing the web app part of the app’s code
Hybrid app development is more time and cost efficient as the code is written once
Hybrid apps’ user interface tend to be not as seamless as native apps as it doesn’t maximizing the device’s full potentials
These don’t take much advantage of a certain device’s full specifications and features. Moreover, to achieve this. Further coding and use of plug-ins are to be made that can complicate the app development project
Hybrid apps tend to perform slower and transition between pages can be dragging
These apps depend heavily on the browser’s speed and performance
Native or Hybrid – What should you choose?
Deciding on what type of mobile applications to build for business can be tricky especially when pressed for time, budget constraint, or development resources. For this, a company will have to assess various factors in order to roll out a mobile app that serves the purpose it is created first and foremost.
The following factors should help on evaluating which development strategy to take for a project to come into fruition:
Target users – Who will be using your app?
Accessibility of the app for target users – How are they going to access it?
App stores where the app is intended to be made available – Will it be available both in App Store and Google Play Store?
Frequency of app updates – How often will updates be rolled out?
Level of complexity of app features – Are your app's functionality simple or complex?
Use of device’s native features – Is it needed or not?
Intended quality of user experience – What kind of user experience is aimed?
Time to market- Are you pressed for time? What is the timeline?
Budget - Do you have budget constraints?
Available development resources/talent pool - What are your options, in-house or outsourced development team?
After assessing the aforementioned factors and the app in mind needs to carry out complex tasks and speed & performance are important elements for its usability, then native apps should be the time- and budget-worthy choice.
On the other hand, should you be aiming for a native-like app but on a budget, hybrid app is the best way to go. It enables streamlined maintenance and could carry out most app goals and purposes for less money and development time.
Definitely, both native and hybrid apps have their strengths and weaknesses and the choice of which one to go for will surely impact the business. Therefore, it is important to factor in all goals, assets, and limitations to build the best possible app that delivers.
We hope that this article has given a clear overview of what native and hybrid apps are. Moreover, if you are looking for mobile developers for your first or your next mobile app, you can always reach out to BlastAsia and we can discuss your idea further. With about 20 years of experience in software product engineering, BlastAsia, Inc. is a world-class provider of custom applications development services and continues to be a leading technology partner worldwide, collaborating strongly with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and technology companies globally.