Native vs. Hybrid vs. Cross-Platform - Best one in 2023
Our ways of life are inextricably linked to digital resources since the advent of technology. Critical verdicts in our personal and professional lives are now made through the use of the internet and mobile applications. However, with the plethora of applications now available on the Play Store and App Store, businesses face a challenging digital landscape with minimal exposure, skills, resources, and budget.
It is projected that the global number of application downloads will reach 299 billion by 2023, increasing from roughly 247 billion in 2020. By 2023, mobile applications are expected to generate more than 935 billion US dollars in revenue from paid downloads and in-app advertisements.
With such cut-throat competition, businesspersons are now under immense pressure to concentrate on quality, precision, functionality, and other key parameters that would persuade potential customers to opt for their services over other options. Companies, in general, experience a variety of difficulties, such as determining the best technology to use for mobile application development, deciding whether to use iOS or Android, or selecting an application development framework to increase customer engagement.
A native application refers to software that is specifically crafted for a mobile platform, such as iOS or Android. These applications are intended to take advantage of the unique features and capabilities of the specific devices and operating system. In general, app stores like the Apple Store or Google Play are utilized to download and install applications directly onto the mobile device. Native applications are recognized for their quick and responsive performance in contrast to other mobile app types, like hybrid or web applications, and are given better access to device sensors and features.
Developers have multiple options to select from when it comes to designing native apps for Android and iOS. Swift is commonly used for iOS, while Java is often used for Android.
Pros of Native Apps
- Improved Performance & user Experience : Native apps are designed to look and feel like the operating system of the device, providing users with a more seamless and intuitive experience. and are optimized for the device they are running on, they perform better and load faster. Native apps are listed in app stores, making them easier for users to discover and download.
- Offline Access: Native apps can work offline, which is a significant benefit for users in areas with limited internet access.
- Enhanced device security and features : Native apps have access to the device’s security features, making them more secure than web apps and to device-specific features such as the camera, GPS, and accelerometer, allowing for more advanced functionality.
Cons of Native Apps
- High maintenance : Creating a native app can be costly because it necessitates specialized skills and knowledge from experienced developers. Because the development process is more complex and requires more resources, developing a native app may take longer than developing a web or hybrid app. To fix bugs and ensure compatibility with new operating system versions, native apps require regular updates and maintenance. This can increase the development process’s costs and resources.
- Limited functionality: Because native apps are limited by the capabilities of the device and operating system, they may not have the same functionality as web or hybrid apps. Native apps must go through a rigorous approval process with app stores, which can take a long time and may result in rejection if the app does not meet the guidelines. Native apps are only available to users who have the specific operating system (iOS or Android) installed on their device, limiting the potential audience.
When should you build a Native App?
Use it when you need access to device-specific features & offline access and to improve app performance.
When you want to improve app discoverability, to create a strong brand presence, to increase revenue and your target audience primarily uses mobile devices.
Pros of Hybrid Apps
- Improved performance : Hybrid apps are faster and more responsive than traditional web apps, as they utilize the device’s native features and capabilities. Can access device features such as the camera, GPS, and accelerometer, providing a more immersive user experience. Can be updated through the app store, making it easy for developers to add new features and fix bugs.
- Cross-platform compatibility: Hybrid apps can be developed for multiple platforms, such as iOS and Android, using a single codebase. This reduces development costs and time.
- Offline functionality: Hybrid apps can store data and perform basic functions even when offline, providing a more seamless user experience.
Cons of Hybrid Apps
- Hybrid apps may not perform as well as native apps due to the added layer of abstraction and the use of web technologies.
- Hybrid apps are dependent on third-party tools and frameworks, which can add an additional layer of complexity and may not be as reliable as native tools.
When should you build a Hybrid App?
If one desires to economize time and expenses in the development of an application, while concurrently taking advantage of device functionality and leveraging pre-existing web development knowledge, the preferable choice is a hybrid app. Additionally, if one is uncertain whether a native application is the optimal option for their enterprise, then employing a hybrid app can serve as a method to trial the market before committing to a full-fledged native app development project.
Cross Platform App
Pros of Cross Platform
- Consistency in user experience: Cross-platform apps ensure consistency in the user experience across different platforms, which improves user engagement and satisfaction. Can reach a larger audience as they are available on different platforms, increasing the chances of app adoption and success.
- Easy maintenance and updates: With cross-platform apps, updates and maintenance can be done on a single codebase, which is more efficient and cost-effective. As cross-platform apps use a single codebase, it takes less time to develop and launch an app on multiple platforms.
- Cross-platform tools and frameworks: There are several cross-platform tools and frameworks available that make it easy to develop cross-platform apps, such as React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter.
- Cost-effective development: Cross-platform apps can be developed at a lower cost as they use a single codebase for multiple platforms.
Cons of Cross Platform apps
- Compatibility issues: Some features on one platform may not be compatible with another, which can cause cross-platform apps to malfunction or not work at all.
- Maintenance challenges: Maintaining a cross-platform app can be more difficult than maintaining a native app. Each platform has its own set of bugs and issues that must be addressed, and keeping track of these can be time-consuming.
When should you build a Cross Platform App?
Choose Cross platform apps when targeting a wide audience, cost is a concern, time is of the essence, frequent updates are needed, want to reach a global audience, want to leverage existing resources.
Which App development platform to choose in 2023 ?
When examining each of the development frameworks presented, it becomes clear that there are merits and demerits to each. Thus, arriving at a decisive conclusion as to which framework reigns supreme is no easy feat. Instead, the ideal course of action is to evaluate the specific needs of one’s business project, target audience, budget, and desired time-to-market.
If one’s utmost concern is with regards to the app’s overall performance, customization, and security, then selecting a native app development framework would be a wise decision. Not only do native apps offer top-notch performance capabilities, but they also possess the ability to safeguard user data. While hybrid and cross-platform apps are not considered unsafe, they undoubtedly pale in comparison to native apps in this aspect.
For businesses looking for a swift development cycle or those starting with a minimum viable product (MVP) that can be improved upon later, the hybrid app development framework is the way to go. These apps can be introduced to the market quickly and have the shortest development time. On the other hand, cross-platform app development would be more suitable for businesses operating on a shoestring budget. It is not surprising that most startups opt for this framework as it is the most cost-effective option available.
Your company cannot function without a mobile application, particularly in 2023 and beyond. Whether you develop a native, hybrid, or cross-platform app, your choice should be based on your business needs, target audience, and development costs.
If you need a team to design and develop your mobile app across the three frameworks, Growth Natives can help. We have a talented team of mobile developers who are well-versed in these frameworks. We will assist you in selecting the best framework to meet your needs. To learn more contact Vispan Solutions.