What is Better for App Development – Native vs. Hybrid in 2022

Most of the apps available today look somewhat similar. They all seem to have the same layout, UI, and predictable navigation. However, that doesn’t mean they are the same under the hood. Apps can be broadly classified into native, hybrid, and cross-platform. Before you can invest in app development, it is important to understand what these types mean. Once you understand, you can choose what kind of app serves your purpose well and will help you attract more people.

Let’s look at the options available to you to get a good idea:

What are Native Apps?

Native apps are applications designed for a specific platform and operating system. For example, you can have an application designed specifically for the Apple operating system or the Android operating system. Native apps are designed with the operating system’s unique features in mind, which means they are ideal for taking full advantage of the operating system.

Native apps don’t work on other operating systems. An app designed for Apple will not work on Android.

They are developed for a specific platform using dedicated SDK or software development tools for the aforementioned platform. For Apple, the developer must use iOS SDK and Swift. For Apple, the developer must use Java Development Kit.

What are Hybrid Apps?

Hybrid apps, as the name implies, are designed to work on different platforms. These apps will work on both iOS and Android seamlessly. The base code is standard and there is very little difference in appearance and performance.

Hybrid app development is faster and more affordable, which is why many people choose it. The hybrid app code is generic and utilizes the features shared by the operating systems it sits on.

In general, most hybrid apps are made using web technologies like CSS and JavaScript. That makes them suitable for virtually any platform they are placed on. The app can also easily run in WebView, which means the app will offer a browser-like experience with web pages.

Benefits of a Native App

If there are hybrid apps available, why would people bother creating a native app designed specifically for a single operating system? This is one of the most common questions people have when they start planning for app development. Let’s explore the benefits of native apps first:

1. Fast and Reliable

When it comes down to core performance, native apps beat hybrid ones. As they are specifically designed for a particular platform, they load faster and experience less lag. They deliver a much more consistent performance and can handle a lot of activity without faltering.

As the app’s code and the operating system’s code fits in well with each other, the interaction between the two entities is seamless. That reflects on the performance, delivering a much better user experience.

2. Better Interaction With the OS Features

A native app is more capable of interacting with dedicated hardware and software features. For example, a native app will be able to take better advantage of an iPhone’s camera and deliver higher-quality images because of it. If you intend to make a social media app like Snapchat or Instagram, this becomes essential.

Every operating system has some unique features that you won’t find in competitors. Some of these features are popular among the phone’s users. If your app can’t utilize those features effectively, its user base will be reluctant to use your app.

3. Better Offline Function

Sometimes, users will need to access the app offline because they have issues with connection or just want to use something without accessing the internet. A native app delivers a much better offline performance in most cases. If the user is on a plane or stuck in an area with little to no reception, they can still use the app to get some service.

This isn’t essential for all apps but you may want to offer support if your app offers functions that may be useful when the user isn’t connected to the internet. For example, if you’re a game app, you may want to allow the users to access most of its features without the internet as well.

4. Graphic-Heavy Applications are More Efficient

If your app requires a lot of graphics support and hardware support, it is best to build it custom for different operating systems. Heavy applications will perform better if they are native to the operating system and designed for the device they are used on. They will be able to utilize the resources more efficiently.

Native apps also easily maintain aspect ratios, which means that your images, videos, and graphics adapt very well to the app.

Native apps are also less dependent on third-party resources and are generally more secure overall. That’s one of the reasons why developers recommend native apps for high-performance applications and platforms that handle more sensitive information.

Disadvantages of a Native App

The biggest disadvantage of a native app is that you need to develop a dedicated platform for a specific operating system. If you want to reach a large audience, this means you will need to develop two apps, one for Android and another for Apple. That can be expensive, cumbersome, and time-consuming.

The long-term costs are also a bit higher as you need to invest in maintaining two different apps and upgrading them periodically. Native apps may not be a good choice if you’re on a limited budget and need to get an app out quickly.

Benefits of Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps have become popular in recent years and some business owners even prefer them to native applications. Here’s a look at some of their biggest benefits:

1. Flexible

Hybrid applications are flexible as they just have a single code that works on virtually all popular platforms. You can place them in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store without worrying about incompatibility.

You will be able to reach a much wider audience with a single app, which is a convenient solution for small businesses with limited resources.

2. More Affordable

As these apps are usable on both Apple and Android, you only need to build and maintain one app. That means you will save a lot of money, effort, and time during the development and maintenance process.

It is also easier and quicker to fix any issues that may pop up. For example, if your app crashes or has a bug, there’s no need to check two different apps for the same issues.

3. Consistency

This is one of the most distinct advantages hybrid apps have over native apps. They deliver more consistent performance across different platforms, which is an important factor to consider. If the user experience isn’t consistent, you may end up alienating a portion of your audience.

There have been cases where Android users have complained that their version of a native app doesn’t perform as well as Apple’s version of the same app. This problem is unlikely to occur with a hybrid application.

Disadvantages of a Hybrid App

Hybrid apps do have some disadvantages. Their performance can vary depending on what version of the app the user is using. Older apps may not perform as well as newer versions. 3D and HD games don’t work as well in hybrid apps. These apps are often unable to access all of the features of the device and operating system because they have a more generic code.

Do You Need an App?

Mobile shopping and commerce have seen an unprecedented surge in recent years. Most shoppers today prefer to shop on their mobile phones instead of their computers. Having a dedicated app on your customer’s mobile phone has several advantages and they include:

  • Customers that download an app are loyal and are likely to make repeated purchases.
  • Mobile apps help boost sales numbers significantly.
  • You can establish a strong brand presence by offering a dedicated app.
  • Apps provide a more comfortable user experience to frequent customer.

Whether you choose a native or a hybrid app will depend on what kind of resources you have and what kind of app you want. Consider the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

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