Comparing Hybrid and Native Mobile Apps

Expert Tips for Comparing Hybrid and Native Mobile Apps


Mobile apps industry is indeed thriving. With over 2.7 billion smartphone users and 1.23 billion tablet users globally, mobile apps are expected to generate $189 billion USD in revenue by 2020. It is no surprise that almost every business is starting to consider having its own mobile apps.

If developing an app is something you’re considering for your business, you have probably come across the buzzwords ‘native app’ and ‘hybrid app,’ and deciding on which one to go with may play a vital role to the success of your mobile app development.

A few guiding principles when choosing the best development approach for your business means two things: first, incorporating your business goals while leveraging technology to reach customers; and second, the hybrid versus native mobile app development costs.  

Native App

Easily found on the app marketplaces like Play Store or App Store, native apps are the traditional way of creating mobile applications. Native App features are widely used and preferred by mobile app users for its performance and user experience.

Native apps are built on two separate platforms, hence there are two separate codebases, one each for Android and iOS. Because native apps do not depend on plug-ins like hybrid apps, Native Apps usually take longer to build and may have higher development costs – initially. 

The benefit is that Native app users enjoy instant access to new features and updates. And the code can usually be maintained by a single set of developers, whereas hybrid apps typically require a second set of developers, one to maintain the back-end code, and one to manage the “wrapper” code that is downloadable and installs the app through Webview. 

Additionally, native mobile apps features are more compatible with app store regulations and guidelines, generally leading to much more satisfying user experience.

Although native apps have many advantages, the development process takes longer from inception to release. The cost of maintaining native mobile apps may be higher due to the number of mobile platforms you need to program to. The benefit is that your app will be less susceptible to bugs introduced through platform updates and the apps can be highly customizable. 

Hybrid App

A hybrid app is created using features of both native and progressive apps. Built on back-end code of HTML5, CSS, or JavaScript, the hybrid app is created using a framework such as Ionic or Cordova to convert dynamic web content into mobile apps. 

The biggest advantage to the hybrid-app route is that it takes less time to develop because you’re developing the app from a native container foundation. The native container loads content onto the web page and Webview displays the content as the user navigates the mobile application. Hybrid app user interfaces can be updated frequently as long as the changes haven’t affected the native code. This allows for a shorter creative cycle, thus controlling development costs. 

On the downside, a hybrid app must wait for plug-ins to be installed before users can access their features; your apps may look or function differently depending on individual browsers, and hybrid apps tend to slow page-load speeds impacting the user experience. But the biggest cost may be its customizability. The more customizable you want your app to be, the larger the project will be, potentially eating away all the benefits of the time-to-market gain.

Mobile applications have changed the world of business and how customers interact with your products and service. Picking a development approach that will work with your business goals is as crucial as carefully selecting a development team who can transform your ideas into apps. To set up your app’s success, the best practice is to reach out to a group of experts. including designers, developers, and digital marketers, who can guide you from brainstorming to launch. 

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