To Hybrid Or To Native: The Ultimate Face-off

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According to Comscore, ‘Mobile users spend 90% of their time using applications, and only 10% on the web.  In these challenging times, mobile applications have come out to be the most dynamic business tools. These apps are highly efficient in maintaining a relation with customers. Hence, investing in a mobile app for your business is the best investment you can make. Before taking a decision to build an app, certain issues are to be taken into consideration. Technical, professional, design, marketing, branding all need  to be taken care of well in order to ensure success of your app. The most crucial significant one – Whether you should build a native or a hybrid app. But how does it even matter?

Why does an app type matter?

People’s expectations matter when it comes to software or technology. Choosing a platform to develop a mobile app really makes a difference. By lining up your app type with its core purpose, you take into account your audience’s pain points and ensure the user-friendliness of your app by focussing on its features and potentials. This blog here is to guide you make an improved choice between the right mobile app type and choose the right path to boost your business and meet marketing goals. You can easily align your skills, resources and goals.

Understanding Native Apps & Hybrid Apps

There are apparent differences between Native apps and Hybrid apps The major one being – Native apps are designed for a specific operating system i.e. either iOS or Android. On the other hand, Hybrid apps are designed to work across any operating system as well as share the same codebase.  Let’s take a brief look at these two apps and then move on further to discuss which one is better.

Introduction to Native Apps

Today, native apps are the most common. They are coded in a particular language like Objective C & Xcode for iOS and Java, Kotlin & Eclipse for Android. One popular example of the Native app is WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Telegram.

Why choose Native apps?

The benefits of Native apps include:

  • Speed and performance – Native apps load and operate faster.
  • Less dependent – Native apps’ dependency on multiple open source and libraries is lesser than hybrid apps. 
  • Better user experience and functionality – Native apps follow specific design standards for creating Android or iOS apps. The design integrates with any mobile feature easily, making it easier for users to navigate through the app uniformly and seamlessly. Also, since native apps are platform-specific, they offer you a set of features like camera, GPS, microphone, etc.
  • Personalization: Different devices have different sizes and specifications. Native apps come handy when adjusting to different screen layouts. Such types of apps allow you to create the best design while delivering an excellent user experience.
  • Better Security – Unlike hybrid apps, native apps are capable of utilizing the hardware capabilities. With that said, native apps offer high data security to its users. 

Why not choose Native apps?

  • Cost – Given the high level of complications involved in the development of native apps, the cost increases too. You need excellent resources as well as an experienced team that costs quite a bit.
  • Time-consuming – If you want a Native App, the developers would have to write separate code for iOS, Android as well as Windows. This requires more time. 
  • Complex coding – Native apps involve complex coding and the code portability is also low.

Introduction to Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are basically the web and native apps combined that are built using HTML, HTML5, CSS or Javascript. Such types of apps leverage the benefits of the native app while allowing the same app to be available through both Google play store and the iOS App Store. One popular example of the Hybrid app is Instagram, Gmail and Uber.

Why choose Hybrid apps?

Let’s have a deep dive into the benefits of hybrid mobile apps.

  • One codebase for every platform – The plus point of Hybrid applications is that the code is written for a single platform and tweaked to make it run across all other platforms.
  • Less development time – If time is of the essence, the hybrid app might be the one you are looking for. Since there is only one codebase, this makes it highly time-efficient. Comparatively, hybrid apps are much cheaper than native mobile apps.
  • Low app development cost – As only one base code needs to be written for all platforms, this decreases development time significantly and the cost of developing hybrid apps also reduces.
  • Easy Maintenance – Since it involves only a single base code, updating the program becomes effortless. The user need not to download the latest version to resolve a bug.

Why not choose Hybrid apps?

Though native apps are one of the most popular technology solutions, they involve a lot more drawbacks than native apps:  

  • Limited functionality – The framework doesn’t support every feature of native apps. Some native functions might not work properly or might not be functional at all in the Hybrid apps.
  • Internet Connectivity Required – Hybrid apps suffer from network vulnerabilities. Since in some cases they are basically websites wrapped in native apps, you need to be connected to the internet to use all features.
  • Poor user experience – Hybrid applications don’t offer a user experience as good as native apps. The UI is not as strong as native apps. Since the single interface needs to be compatible with multiple platforms, several functions are compromised.
  • Dependencies – Hybrid apps are quite dependent upon various libraries and frameworks which require a native app developer to solve. This, in turn, results in additional costs. Not only this, but Hybrid mobile apps also rely much on plugins that are required to access the inbuilt features of mobile devices. 

Native V/S Hybrid App: A Brief Comparison

Here’s a cheat sheet on both Native and Hybrid apps for you to draw out a side-by-side comparison:  

FEATURES NATIVE HYBRID
Language Swift for iOS, Kotlin or Java for Android HTML, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript languages and a hybrid framework (React Native, Xamarin, etc.)
Performance  Offers the most responsive and fastest possible user experience  Not as good as native apps
Cost of development Expensive to code since each code is written differently according to the platform Costs less
Speed  Slower development cycle Faster development cycle
Time of market Slower; More time needed to code  Quick; Less time needed to code 
Updating  The app needs to be updated every time to see changes The apps are updated from web code automatically
User experience  Rich and engaging Never a fully native experience
Security  Highly secure Less secure
Complexity  Involves complex coding Write once, deploy anywhere
Access to native APIs High  Moderate 
Frameworks  API provided by OS React Native, PhoneGap, Xamarin
Used for Single platform app with high optimization Apps that need to work on various platforms

Hybrid or Native?

The debate surrounding the two apps never seems to end. It is important to choose technology based on what you want your app to do. But how do you make the ultimate decision? By answering the following questions:    

  • What features do you want?
  The very first thing you need to be clear of is the functionality you want in your app. A native application allows you to take complete advantage of various functions, utilities such as contact, calendar, photo, storage and GPS that provide a richer experience whereas the hybrid app only makes calls only to the SQLite databases. This limits the functionality.   Hence, if you need a feature-rich app, it is recommended you go for a native app.

  • How much time do you have?
Second, you need to be clear of time to market. Are you trying to be the first one to release your unique app or trying to catch up with your competitors? If so, a hybrid app is your best bet. Nevertheless, if you have enough time in your hand – say six to seven months – in such a case a native app makes more sense.

  • What is your budget?
Third, the amount of money you are ready to invest in your app. Building native applications requires specific skills and more money for each operating system. If you have a significant budget to hire multiple development teams and enough time, it’s better to build a native app to give end-users a much better experience.  However, if your objective is to spread out as earliest as possible and publish your app on multiple platforms in a cost-effective way, get a hybrid app.

  • Will your app require frequent updates?
Updates are essential to keep the users engaged, resolve timely issues and enhance the functionality of the existing features. There are updates associated with each app but the question is how many are essential. If you expect to have frequent updates, go for a hybrid app as it requires less maintenance. The app users need not do anything to utilize the latest functionality. When it comes to native apps, the update has to be specifically installed whenever the new version of the app is available.  Once you consider the aforementioned questions, it would help you pick the right option for your next mobile app development. Answer the questions and choose between native and hybrid app development smartly.

Putting It All Together

So, which one is better? Well, there has been no universally correct answer for the same to date. The decision depends entirely on your business needs and objectives. So, choose the development type that serves your purpose the best. We, at Ads N Url, have developed both types of apps for our clients. So if you are thinking of launching an app for your business but are in search of a planned guidance, our experts are just a call away to help you pick out the most productive deal for your business.  

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