Native vs Hybrid Mobile Apps
Native vs. Hybrid Mobile Apps: What Should You Choose for Your Business?
- Mobile applications are essential for businesses that want to be where the clients are.
- A native application is the safest choice in terms of performance, but high costs can make it prohibitive for smaller companies.
- Development time and costs for a hybrid application are much smaller, but the performance and user experience are inferior to those offered by native apps.
A few years ago, an online presence (website and social media) was a mandatory move for businesses; now the same can be said for developing mobile apps. Any company that wants to go to the next level and follow its clients to the media they spend the most time in, should consider developing their own mobile app. This prompts the question that makes most businesses delay kicking off such a project: “What kind of application should I choose?”
And since we are aware that most business owners don’t know much about this area (especially if they don’t work in the field), we set out to shed some light on the topic.
First off, you should know that you can choose between a native mobile app and a hybrid one. Of course, there is also the Progressive Web Apps option, but these are in fact websites accessed using a browser, so they are not actual mobile applications.
You don’t know the difference between native and hybrid apps? Find out below.
Native apps are developed for a specific platform, such as Android or iOS, and are written in programming languages that the platforms accept (Java or Kotlin for Android apps and Swift or Objective-C for iOS apps). Moreover, native apps offer a better user experience and are faster and more intuitive, but also imply higher costs for development and maintenance.
Native vs hybrid applications. Pros and Cons
In order to make the best decision for your business regarding the type of mobile app you intend to develop, you need to be clear on the pros and cons of each one. Therefore, here’s a comparative overview, organized by the most important criteria you need to keep in mind:
As described above, native mobile apps have much higher costs because the developer needs to write separate code for each particular platform. Therefore, if you want your app to run on both Android and iOS, you need to pay for each one separately.
On the other hand, hybrid apps are more convenient in this regard as they can run on multiple platforms without re-writing the code in other programming languages. This translates to a shorter development time, and, consequently, to lower costs.
The final price for the two options can differ quite a lot, depending on the type of project the app is being developed for, but also on the place where the developer is located. So, if you opt for a developer in Romania, the price per hour is between $30 and $50, while a Western European developer can demand between $40 and $70 per hour for the same project, depending on his experience, success rate and complexity of the project. At the same time, hiring a freelancer can reduce the costs by half, but these savings bring along other advantages and disadvantages.
2. Development time
Native apps provide the users with the best navigation and interaction experience, as well as a very short response time because they benefit from the functionalities of the platforms they will run on.
On the other hand, hybrid apps have lower performance and a longer response time, since they depend on plugins to connect to the phone’s functionalities. Moreover, some functions of the hybrid app can become unavailable when the user doesn’t have a good internet connection. In addition, hybrid apps don’t have full access to the device’s hardware, so you’ll be limited from this point of view as well.
Considering that separate code writing for each platform is required, native app maintenance is more difficult and costly, as opposed to hybrid apps, when the necessary changes can be made simultaneously on all platforms. On the other hand, keeping hybrid apps compatible with future versions of mobile operating systems can lead to longer working time.
Keeping the previous points in mind, it’s clear that there isn’t necessarily a right or a wrong choice regarding the type of mobile app. The final decision must be made in conformity with your goals, your budget, and the type of project you want to develop the app for.
So, if you represent a company with a low budget, let’s say a portal that’s just starting out, the hybrid option might be best for you due to the lower costs and being easier to manage.
On the other hand, if you have a higher budget and your project is more complex (like an online store), then the best choice is to develop a native app. Although it will take longer and cost more than a hybrid app, you will be guaranteed the performance you need to offer users a great experience, as well as better data security.