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Hybrid vs. Native App – Know What to Choose and Why

Native App vs. Hybrid App - Comparison

Today’s business world lives and breathes on the internet. Websites became household long ago and business owners needed even a better exposure than websites. That’s when mobile apps came into existence. With the huge upsurge in mobile usage, a mobile app was apt for growing business among the billions of users worldwide. People accepted mobile applications with open arms considering its smooth operation, easy accessibility, and better online connectivity. Such a warm reception for the mobile apps is making business owners from every size go for a mobile app and hire a mobile app developer.

 

In recent years, mobile app development has experienced new heights with the introduction of new technology, design, and functionality. And the app developers have been occupied more than ever in the last year. The statistics would leave you spellbound as Google Play Store has reportedly 2.6 million registered apps as of December 2018 and Apple App Store stays steady on the race with 3.2 million apps!

 

No, the current scenario of mobile apps is not today’s topic. We are here to talk about the two major categories of mobile applications – Hybrid App and Native App.

 

With tremendous use of mobile devices and a sheer promise for branding and growth, mobile applications are the trends of today’s developmental and marketing landscape. But one specific question that strikes the minds of business owners every now and then is which platform they should go for – whether it’s the hybrid apps or native apps considering the fan base and supporters for both these kinds of apps.

 

Owing to the skyrocketing feud between the supporters of these two apps, we, being one of the leading names in App Development world, have decided to come forth with a detailed and actionable comparison between hybrid and native apps. This comparison will help you choose one of these giants of the mobile app world!

 

What is Native App?

This kind of application is used by most businesses and has the majority. The name itself describes the app as it is the most common and naturally developed one among the mobile applications. Native mobile apps are developed for a specific OS like Android or iOS. Thus, the codes of those applications are written in such a programming language that is easily comprehensible by the specific OS.

 

For instance, the apps for iOS are written either in Objective-C or in Swift, Windows mobile apps are written in Dot Net (.Net) and the native Android apps are developed using Java. Thus, if you are planning to build an app for any of these two platforms (or both), you should definitely hire a developer who is proficient in the languages mentioned above. Moreover, Native applications make use of the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for building the application for a particular OS.

 

Benefits

  • Fast and Responsive due to particular platform-focused development
  • Highly User-Friendly
  • Smooth performing, Intuitive, and Interactive
  • Better In-Device accessibility
  • Does not need an internet connection to run
  • No dependence on third-party platforms or libraries

 

Drawbacks

  • Separate Development for each platform increases development time and cost
  • Separate codebases require different skillset to run the same app with the same functionalities on different platforms
  • Not appropriate for simpler apps

 

What is Hybrid App?

In a nutshell, hybrid apps can be called the websites wrapped into a native packet. In some terms of behavior, Hybrid mobile apps are somehow similar to the native apps. Thus, normal users would not understand the difference between the native and hybrid apps in bare eyes. Similar to the native apps, hybrid apps can also be found in the app stores which makes this kind of applications quite appreciable and undetectable.

 

Basically, Hybrid apps are a blend of native apps and web apps. So, this sort of mobile applications contains both the features of these two kinds of applications. Hybrid mobile apps are developed using the conventional HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript which is then put into the native container like Adobe PhoneGap which makes it downloadable and lets it run the codes using a WebView. These are the two main parts of a hybrid mobile application.

 

The most beneficial aspect of a hybrid app is that it is built for the cross-platform advantage which means the single app can be uploaded to Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Windows App Store. You do not need to hire developers for different developmental work when it comes to Hybrid apps. The cross-platform codebase of hybrid apps allows it to be compatible with all the major mobile OS without writing separate codes.

 

Benefits

  • Takes less time to develop than Native apps
  • Development cost is lower than Native apps
  • Needs a single codebase to run on Multiple Platforms
  • Native Plugins can help Hybrid apps get the In-Device accessibility
  • Apt for the Smaller Apps

 

Drawbacks

  • A BIG NO for complicated apps
  • May require multiple maintenance and fixes in the future
  • Needs third-party native plugins and libraries to act like a Native app
  • Does not offer speed like Native apps
  • Needs Internet connection to run
  • Not preferred for User Experience in terms of Interactivity and Intuitiveness

 

Comparison between Hybrid and Native Apps: 6 Vital Aspects

As you have gone through the definitions of both these apps, now is the time to get into more details and discuss our main topic i.e. comparing these two popular app categories. We will discuss all the vital aspects that can help you come to a definite decision regarding hiring an app developer and building a particular kind of mobile application. So, let’s start without further ado.

 

User Experience

Whether it’s a website or a mobile application, user experience becomes the foremost liability of the product to be successful in the race! If the users are not satisfied with the user experience of your mobile app, they are going to simply leave!

 

Wait! What! Yes, you heard right! If you are unable to hand the users a good enough experience through your application, they will not think twice before tapping the uninstall button and switching to your competitor’s app! So, let’s find out!

 

When it comes to the small apps, people will not be able to make much difference between the hybrid and native apps since both of these apps will run smoothly without any performance glitch. But when the big hardware-driven apps come into consideration, the hybrid apps fall short in terms of performance whereas the native apps are apt for those huge tasks. Since the native apps are built for the best performance of a specific OS, it functions without any glitch.

 

Moreover, hybrid apps need an internet connection to run. On the other hand, native apps can run offline. So, internet connectivity and speed can also make a difference.

 

Decisive Words: Remember, mobile users are always keen to install the apps that do not hamper their experience. If the user experience gets hampered even the least, you may lose a lot of users you might have counted on! So, you need to consider the size of the app and how much load it may need to undertake. That’s how you can come to a decision whether you would go for a hybrid app or a native one.

 

In-Device Accessibility

You surely have WhatsApp or Facebook app installed on your mobile device and permitted the apps to access your camera, microphone, GPS, Geolocation, and much more. This can be called as the in-app accessibility which is a defining feature of a mobile application since most of the apps (and users) require accessing the in-built applications of a mobile device such as GPS, Compass, Microphone, and much more.

 

While the native apps naturally have access to all these apps in your mobile device, the hybrid apps do not come with pre-built accessibility. However, with the native plugins and native C++ code integration, the hybrid apps can access these pre-built apps on mobile devices. However, without the third-party native layers, codes, or plugins, the hybrid app would not have the accessibility that matches native apps.

 

Decisive Words: If you are getting a native app developed, it’s totally fine in terms of the in-device accessibility. But when you are developing a hybrid app and you want to incorporate the accessibility of a particular set of features of your phone, make sure you are making things clear to the mobile app developer you have hired.

 

Cross-Platform Compatibility

The two most dominant smartphone Operating Systems are Android and iOS. Most of the successful mobile apps are found on either (or both) of the app stores of these two OS, namely, Google Play Store (for Android) and Apple App Store (for iOS). Thus, you need your mobile application to be hosted and available on these platforms.

 

Now, when it comes to the native applications, as said before, they are focused on a single OS and thus, you need to create two separate apps for Android and iOS for the same product! This separate development for the separate OS is the reason why the app developers have to introduce different codebase. Now, when it comes to the Hybrid apps, it gives the leverage to cross-platform experience since you can create one app and host it to both the mobile OS. For this sole reason, one codebase will be enough to get everything on track for both the platforms.

 

The cross-platform nature of Hybrid apps induces the business owners to create hybrid apps and host it on all the platforms without requiring another app developer. However, it’s not always necessary to launch your app on both the platforms. If you require a more complex app, you should go for a native one and launch it on one OS at the first go. You may go for another OS later once you see significant growth.

 

When a brand like Instagram can take two long years to develop an Android version, you can follow their footsteps too and try to create the best impression with one app at first.

 

At 2010, Instagram FAQ says, “We are currently working on making the iPhone experience as solid as possible. Only then will we consider other platforms, but currently we have nothing to announce.”

 

Decisive Words: Look at the complexity of the app and consider whether the cross-platform experience is a necessity to you. If it’s not necessary for you to release your app both on Android and iOS, you should go for the native apps. However, investment is another concern which will be discussed below.

 

Pricing

Pricing, as all of you can understand, is an undeniable aspect of any business. Similarly, it becomes a great influencer for choosing one between Native and Hybrid app as well!

 

As you already know that Hybrid apps have a single codebase that runs on both the OS. This facility helps the apps to be built in a much less price compared to the Native apps. Since you need a single developer to create a single codebase which will run on all platforms.

 

On the other hand, the Native apps have a different codebase for different platforms which make it costly for the business owners. Moreover, the website-based codes used on Hybrid app development is relatively simpler than the Native apps which is why the developmental cost for the Native apps go higher.

 

However, while the Hybrid Apps seem much affordable than the Native apps, the scenario may go upside down in the long run! If you are creating a mobile app with complex functionalities and features along with a requirement for working on the locations with a poor internet connection, your Hybrid approach cannot save your money. At the long run, you have to make investments on fixing bugs, errors, and tweaking the app for making the UI elements and app performance better.

 

Decisive Words: You always need to consider the purpose and size of the app along with the price while thinking about hiring an app developer. You cannot think about one and come to a decision. If your app is small in size and complications, you may go for Hybrid since it will really save you many bucks; but if it’s a large app with complex functionalities and UI, you should definitely choose Native over Hybrid as it is efficient in the long run.

 

Time for Development

Time for app development can be crucial for your business. Normally, every business owner needs a project to be finished in the least time possible. When it comes to the Hybrid and Native app, the comparison becomes even more viable.

 

Native Apps, due to multiple codebase and complexities, require more time than the Hybrid counterparts. Quite naturally, the Native app developers have to develop two separate codebases for iOS and Android. This automatically increases the development time along with the cost.

 

But the Hybrid apps require a single codebase and simpler codes to be written which is why the development time also gets reduced. However, as we said before, developing large apps on a Hybrid environment can be a matter of concern in the future.

 

Decisive Words: It’s quite simple – Hybrid apps take much less time than Native apps to be developed. But the catch is whether less time is really fruitful for your business. If your app is small and simple, going for the Hybrid app is preferred; otherwise, think twice. You may also create a Hybrid app for test purpose (i.e. knowing the audience’s acceptability of the app) before creating a Native app which would cost you more time and money. This way, you can create an app quickly at a low cost for knowing whether or not your app appeals to the mass.

 

Speed

The mobile app users always look for the best speed. That’s why you should also develop an application which runs as fast as the users expect. Hampering the user expectation would certainly break your app and business exposure.

 

Since the Native apps are built for performance considering the large applications for a specific platform, they run faster than the Hybrid apps. However, Hybrid apps can be used for smaller apps.

 

Decisive Words: In this case as well, you need to consider the app’s size and complexity to decide whether you are going to develop a Native app or a Hybrid app. When you need a mobile application that will be large in size and complex in terms of functionality, only a Native app will have the ability to handle such heavy requirements. The OS-focused native apps will run smoothly regardless of the functionalities and features. To the contrary, if your app is straight and simple, Hybrid will be the best option to save cost and time with the same outcome.

 

Side by Side Overview of Native and Hybrid Apps

Here in this section, we are going to mention all the points discussed in this detailed article in a brief so that you can come to a decision easily.

Native App

Hybrid App
Fast and Smooth. But Developed for a Single OS

Focuses on multiple platforms

These apps offer the best performance

Performance may not always impress you

Offline Mode is available on Native Apps

Need internet connection to work
Native apps offer the finest User Experience

User Experience is not as good as Native apps

Native app development cost is high

Development time and cost is less
Development process is complex and time-taking

Third-Party reliability for mobile functionality

User can access the full functionality of mobile

Best for the simple apps
Best for large apps but not for simple apps

Device’s API can be accessed

Maintenance and Support are complex and costly

Maintenance and support are easy are low-cost

 

When Should You Choose Native or Hybrid App?

You might be still confused about when to choose one of these two popular app development processes for your upcoming project. Yes, coming to a conclusion can be difficult for a person who is exploring the complex world of app development for the first time. But as the proficient mobile app developers, we are here to make the decisions easy for you. Here, we are going to explain different purposes for choosing each of these platforms. So, read carefully and choose the one that fulfills your purpose of building the app.

When to Choose Native App

When to Choose Hybrid App
If you want your app to run offline

If you already have a website and want an app

If you want interactivity and high-performance

If the app requires constant internet access
If you need a wide range of functionalities

If you want the app for a shorter while

If you want access to mobile device’s features

If you want an app with simple functionalities
If your app will be large and complex

If you want the app to test your ideas

When User Experience is your concern

If you need a quick and affordable development
If you are focused on one OS

If you are focusing on multiple platforms

 

Conclusion

Despite the differences between these two apps, both require the top programming languages to get developed. Nobody can help you choose Native over Hybrid or vice versa. Your choice will solely depend on your requirement and objective. Both have their own benefits and limitations and you are the one who needs to understand the purpose and decide what you want to go for. If you need further assistance in the app development process or need any kind of mobile application to be developed, you can always get in touch with Intlum.

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