Hybrid or Native Mobile App Development – Which is a Better Option?
With the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices, mobile applications have become an integral part of every business that aims at leveraging modern technologies to build strong and long-term relationships with customers. Mobile apps help businesses to be in touch with their prospects at all times and provide them with a great experience. When it comes to mobile app development, you need to be very careful about which direction you should go. Whether you should go with Hybrid app development or Native Android app development or Native iOS app development. Well, you can make this decision based on your business requirements, objectives, and available resources. This article will acquaint you with the pros and cons of Hybrid and Native app development approaches to help you decide which option is ideal for your business.
For starters, here’s a brief introduction to Hybrid and Native Mobile App Development along with their pros and cons.
Hybrid and Native Mobile App Development – An Overview
Native applications are built specifically for a single platform and therefore, the technologies used to develop these differ as per the platform chosen. For Native Android app development, the developers can use Java or Kotlin and for iOS app development, Swift and Objective-C are the prominent languages. If you’re going with this approach, you need to build two applications at the same time. As a result, the development process requires more time and effort. However, the final result makes up for this drawback as the customers are able to enjoy a more responsive and faster app experience. If your mobile app is dealing with animation and rendering, then native mobile app development is the best option for you. Moreover, native apps also ensure high-end data security.
Pros of Native Mobile App Development
- High-performance —When it comes to comparing hybrid vs native app performance, native mobile apps are faster as they are built using a framework that is native to the platform.
- Data security — Native mobile apps ensure high-end data security and this is the reason why Native app development is suitable for companies that deal with sensitive data.
- Enhanced functionality— Native apps can easily connect the device hardware features and different databases, without using any additional plugins or tools.
- Customer experience— Native applications have high performance and they can also work in offline mode. This is still a major problem for hybrid applications.
- Understanding— Since the developers are already well-acquainted with all the strengths and weaknesses of using prominent technologies, they will help you find the right approach to achieving the desired outcome.
Cons of Native App Development
- You need to be careful while checking the cons of native app development as it may differ depending on the platform you choose.
- Expensive and time-consuming— Native app development is time and money-consuming, especially if you want to build complex software. Moreover, building separate applications for two major platforms doubles the cost of development, testing, and maintenance to keep the two applications for iOS and Android in optimal condition.
- Distributed codebase —Distributed codebase with lack of some features for iOS or Android is a bad practice that is being used even in 2020. This is because of the budget limitations or restrictions of the platform. At times, iOS apps may not need frequent updates for years while the Android version receives frequent updates and vice versa. With a hybrid approach, developers can create an intuitive UI and offer only essential features that can support both operating systems.
Pros of Hybrid App Development
- Single codebase— Hybrid applications have a single codebase that can be used for both iOS and Android platforms. This is the main reason why companies prefer hybrid app development over Native Android app development or iOS app development. There’s no need to creating two separate codes for Android or iOS platforms because of the code’s common functionality.
- Reduced cost —You can save a lot of time and money by developing one application and gaining access to users on various platforms. However, you will need to hire a professional team that has expertise in both mobile platforms as well as web development. The cost of the overall development will be almost the same as developing only one application for multiple platforms.
- Simpler development and testing process —The development team can achieve desirable outcomes quickly. Developers do not need to handle each platform individually. The code is written once which also reduces the testing and debugging time.
- Easier to maintain —All the major updates and changes are maintained at the same time on both Android and iOS platforms. This is not only convenient for developers as well as users. Most of the issues can be resolved from the server’s end, and the app user will receive the updates automatically.
- Faster delivery time — You do not have to hire two separate teams of iOS and Android developers or a large cross-functional development team. Hiring a relatively small team of professionals would be good enough. They can develop the most intuitive and highly-engaging app that will attract and retain various users. The hybrid applications are more content-focused.
Cons of Hybrid App Development
- Limited efficiency —The hybrid app development framework largely depends on the use of plugins or API to access the device features. Sometimes, developers need to develop them manually to access a specific function of the device.
- Internet connectivity —When comparing hybrid vs native approach in terms of app’s efficiency, the hybrid app development framework requires uninterrupted internet connectivity. Some functions may not work in offline mode or when there’s a poor internet connection.
Side-by-Side Comparison of Hybrid vs Native Mobile App Development
|Comparison Parameters||Hybrid App Development||Native App Development|
|Concept||A single codebase for multiple platforms.||The separate codebase for different platforms|
|App performance||Lower than Native apps||Most responsive and fast app performance|
|User experience||Not as good as Native apps||Best-in-class user experience|
|Overall development cost||Less costs||More expensive, as you need to write code for both platforms.|
|Overall development time||Less time to code||More time-consuming|
|Development cycle||Shorter development cycle||Longer development cycle|
|Updates||Users will always be on the latest software version.||Users may need to download updates, thus they may be on a different version at any specific time.|
|Device Feature Accessibility||Little to no integration capabilities with device features. Depends on APIs.||Apps can access device features like camera, calendars, microphone, GPS, etc.|
|Security||Less secure||Highly secure|
|Internet Connection||Regular internet connection||Works even in offline mode|
When Should You Consider Native App Development?
You should consider going with Native Android app development or iOS app development if you’re looking to build an app with a high-performance, best-in-class user experience, and high-end data security. Moreover, it is easier to scale native applications as there are fewer restrictions. So, if you anticipate business growth, building native applications is the right option for you. Native app development is time-consuming, therefore, you must choose this option if you have sufficient time in hand. Above all, you must clearly identify your target audience and then decide which of the two platforms will be suitable for you.
When Should You Consider Hybrid App Development?
You should consider creating a hybrid app if you want to launch your app within the shortest time possible. Moreover, if you want to target a broader global audience, then building a hybrid app can serve the purpose. Hybrid app development is a cost-effective solution as you can create a single application for multiple platforms. So, if you’re tight on your budget, you may opt for hybrid application development.
Hybrid vs Native App Development – Which of the Two is a Good Option?
Both hybrid and native app development approaches come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. However, at the end of the day Native app development will bring the biggest benefits for your business’s bottom line.
There are various points of difference between hybrid vs native app development, and therefore this comparison is still relevant when it comes to choosing the right platform for your business app.
If a single code base, quick time to market, cross-compatibility, easy updates, availability of resources, and lower original costs are your priority, then you should go with hybrid app development. However, in the long run, the biggest drawback of hybrid applications is that you will have to spend more time and money fixing and revamping your app because of the changing user expectations, performance-driven issues, or complaints about UI elements.
Native applications, on the other hand, leverage all the hardware features or functions that are specific to the operating system on which the app is built, for example, camera, calendar, GPS, address book, etc. Additionally, native app development provides high-end security for a mobile app, best-in-class performance, a fully responsive user interface, and access to all native APIs.
With a native approach, the initial investment may be higher but you can save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run while delivering a seamless user experience and an industry-standard app performance.
At the end of the day, it’s completely your decision that matters the most. Whether you should go with Hybrid app development or Native Android app development or Native iOS app development, your decision largely depends on your target audience, development time and cost, business goals, and requirements.
Hope this article has given you a clear idea about which platform is an ideal option for your business app. If you’re still less confident to get started, you may consult with mobile app development experts without any hesitation.
James Walker is a Senior Android App Developer at Android Developer, a leading Native Android App Development company in India. He is passionate about sharing his experience and knowledge through his informative write-ups centered on mobile app development. He believes that through his shared write-ups, businesses can gain knowledge and guidance on how to utilize the full potential of their mobile apps and boost their productivity and growth.