Not all mobile apps are successful. Few applications perform excellently in giving security, added features, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, while few apps fail miserably to fulfill their primary objectives. The success of an app is not just defined by its features. Hence, developing the app in the right way is extremely important. 

In general, Native and hybrid are two options available for developing a mobile app. While both options are versatile, they come with pros and cons. Before we help you resolve your dilemma on which app development is best for you, let us first understand what Native and Hybrid apps are and how they can benefit your business. 

Native app: Native apps are developed for a specific operating system, hardware, or software framework. They example, for iOS systems, native apps are developed with iOS SDK and swift. For Android, Java development kits are used for native app development. 

Pros of Native app

  • Since native apps are developed specifically for the platform, they give enhanced performance in terms of speed and leveraging new technologies to their best.
  • Native apps provide support both in online and offline mode. They are very accurate, reliable, and have less development time for a given system. 
  • Native apps give access to all the native features and user interface controls. 
  • Native apps are not developed on plugins. 

Cons of Native app

  • Since code bases are different, an app developed for iOS will not work for android and vice versa. Moreover, developing the exact same app for different operating systems is difficult, costly, and time-consuming.
  • High cost of development since multiple resources are required to develop multiple versions of the apps for different platforms.  
  • Developing, managing, and updating different code bases timely is a big challenge for Native apps. 
  • If business wish to target both iOS and android system, the Time-to-Market for Native app will be higher since two code bases need separate development.    

Hybrid app: Hybrid apps are developed using specific web applications such as JavaScript. Unlike Native apps, they are not specific to the operating system or hardware and can be used for any platform with just one code base.

Pros of Hybrid app

  • Only one code base is required. This eliminates a lot of effort and time in writing and managing multiple code bases. 
  • Hybrid apps can be developed faster and at a low cost. 
  • Since no separate team is required for developing and maintaining different code bases, hybrid app development saves time and money. 
  • Hybrid app allows wider market reach with its cross-platform functionality. 

Cons of Hybrid app

  • Hybrid apps do not have offline support. 
  • Compared to Native app that is developed for only one operating system, hybrid app needs excessive testing to ensure the user has the same experience across different operating systems and hardware.
  • Hybrid apps can access all the native features like camera, GPS, etc. however, they are dependent on native plugins.
  • Since hybrid app is dependent on various different frameworks, they need to be in sync with the most recent platform version. 

Now, since you are aware of Native and Hybrid apps, let us see what are the factors that should be considered before choosing between Native and Hybrid apps.

  1. Time to market: Time to market is a critical factor for app success in competitive market. If business is targeting either iOS or Android system alone, then the Time to market for Native app will be less than Hybrid, however, it comes with the drawback of lesser market reach and inoperability across different platforms. If the business wish to target both iOS and Android for larger market penetration, the hybrid app provides less time to market since singular code base is required.
  2. User experience: In native apps, user needs and experience are usually the centre of focus. They are designed considering the native features of the operating system or the platform. Hence, Native app gives excellent user experience. Hybrid apps are designed considering both iOS and android system, hence along with good user experience, they also offer interoperability across platforms.
  3. Cost of development: Developing hybrid app is less costly than developing Native app. Native app needs lot of development, multiple code base and hence more resources. This increases the time and cost required for development. Since investment in development and app testing is higher for hybrid app, the failure cost associated with it is also higher.
  4. Ease of development: Hybrid apps are much easier to develop. Only single code base is needed saving time and cost. The complexity involved in developing, maintaining and updating native apps are much higher.
  5. Objective of app building: Objective of app development defines its success. If the focus is on a specific set of users for example only iOS users, then native app is a better option. If the business wish to launch their app across all the platforms and operating system, hybrid app is the best suit.
  6. In-house or outsourcing: The availability of resources required for developing app are critical. Hybrid app needs developers who have specialization in multiple operating systems. However, for developing native apps, business needs developers specialized in the operating system they are targeting. All these resources may be or may not be available and business owners has to take decision on whether to in-house the app or outsource it.
  7. Paid or Free app: The success of an app depends on how the targeted audience perceive your app and in which category do the business owner wish to launch the app. If the business owners wish to launch a free app, they has to keep a keen eye on the developmental cost. In such case, hybrid app may work better. However, if the app is paid, and business owners are confident on its perceived quality, they may go with native app, where the cost of development can be traded off with the premium paid by the users while buying the subscription.

To summarize, the simple difference between Native and Hybrid apps is that hybrid apps are developed across all platforms while Native apps are designed for specific operating systems. The choice of apps ultimately depends on the objective and priorities of the business. Native app allows to focus on minimally viable products, while hybrid app gives you an opportunity to reach a wider scale of users. You may start with Native app and scale it up to hybrid app if you see the future is bright, or you can directly go with hybrid app and launch your business application across all the platforms. At last, the aim should be to provide a better experience, better performance, and security to the end-users.

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