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Quick guide on choosing between Native and Hybrid Mobile App development

How often has an idea struck you and you were wondering how to solidify it with a mobile application that supports various platforms? I am sure, plenty of times.

The debate between native and hybrid apps is never-ending, but comes to a closure when you have your factors and criteria sorted. Some of the prominent ones are business objective, overall product goals, budget, monetisation strategy, target audience and deadline. This piece will go through the differences between the three types of apps development (Native, Hybrid and Web), understand which one to use, along with making you aware of the pros and cons of each.

Mobility has now become an inseparable part of business solutions. This is because for any business, mobile devices provide the highest reachability to end users. Apps that are engaging and have good UX, attract end users and monetise well.

Let’s looks at the various App types that exist.

I) Native Apps: Apps that are developed for a particular mobile operating sytem. For e.g. iOS apps are developed using Swift, Android apps developed using Java or Kotlin.

Advantages:

  1. High performance
  2. Best-in-class user experience
  3. Updates available almost immediately
  4. Exposed to all the native device hardware features like camera, GPS, sensors, etc
  5. Can accommodate high-level of customisation

Disadvantages:

  1. Costly when it turns out to be time-consuming development for each unique platform
  2. Learning curve involved
  3. Specialized resources and talent needed for development and maintenance
  4. Not platform-agnostic

II) Hybrid Apps: Apps that use the same code base to support multiple platforms. They leverage web development technologies like HTML5, JavaScript for development.

Advantages:

  1. Faster development, lower budget as they generally make use of common technologies
  2. Low time to market
  3. Multiple platforms can be targeted using single code base
  4. Easy availability of resources. Your web development team can develop web apps with a little training

Disadvantages:

  1. Medium-level performance
  2. External dependency on Apache Cordova, Phonegap, etc to access device-level hardware
  3. Updates are not available until hybrid platform rolls them out
  4. Higher app code maintenance cost

III) Mobile Website/Progressive Web Apps: They’re not exactly mobile apps. They’re a website developed for mobile devices to improve functionality on mobile devices. In simpler language, PWAs are shortcuts to web pages placed on mobile desktop, just like a bookmark in a browser. Mobile-first approach is the key to develop these kinds of experiences.

Advantages:

  1. Same as web development
  2. Same code base of the website can be utilised for development

Disadvantages:

  1. Not distributed via play stores
  2. Always needs network connectivity to work unlike mobile apps
  3. PWAs have very limited support which is typically mobile-platform dependent
  4. May lead to user frustration with performance and usability issues like load times, images etc

Approach to choose:

Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each, we hope you now have a clearer picture and sounder arguments to back your choice of app. Although native apps are costlier to develop, they may be more suitable in case of complex device level interactions that your app feature involves. On the other hand, if your app features are fairly simple but needs to access device features, then hybrid app development is a better choice. That’s so because the native dependencies can be easily managed via plugins.

Final touchpoints to keep in mind:

  • Native apps are preferred for projects that are UI/UX and performance intensive and have rich animations
  • Hybrid apps are suitable for projects that are mostly content-based, have lower performance needs and moderate animations
  • Cost is broadly dependent on two factors: Development and Maintenance. Native apps might seem costlier in development phase but usually have a lower maintenance cost. On the other hand, Hybrid apps can get costlier to maintain.

At InfoBeans, we closely analyse the technical and business requirements with our clients to conclude the right and beneficial way to move ahead. The global consumer spending on mobile gaming apps is set to reach 105.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. What are you waiting for? Talk to us today!

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