Key pros and cons of native and hybrid apps

If you’re considering to develop an app, you’ll inevitably face many different questions. Should you develop an app for iOS or Android? Perhaps you should start with a web platform and then plan the framework of your app around it? Or maybe you should do both? What to focus on?

One thing is certain – your app needs to offer a top-notch user experience. Customers have no time to spare for apps offering bad user experience. Research indicates that 79% of consumers are willing retry a mobile app only once or twice if it fails to work the first time. But only 16% of them will give an app yet another chance. That’s why user experience should guide your decision-making process.

But even when you know what’s most important, you need some solid information to help you make the right development choices. If you’re struggling to decide between native and hybrid app development models, in this post you can find everything you need to know to make a good decision for your business.

NATIVE APPS

Native app development is a standard in the mobile industry. They are written specifically for mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android and work best for these platforms.

PROS

CONS

FULL DEVICE INTEGRATION

With native apps, you can make the most out of functionalities offered by mobile devices, for example: calendar, camera, microphone, GPS, and many others. This helps to build experiences which are more contextually relevant and enjoyable for users, as hybrid app will have only limited access to these functionalities.

MORE DEVELOPERS INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS

Developing a native app involves more work and time than creating a functional hybrid app. You’ll need to hire more developers for the job and ensure that they possess the skills and knowledge required for developing apps for different operating systems.

GREAT PERFORMANCE

Since they’re developed specifically for a given operation system, native apps are faster and more refined than hybrid apps. If you aim to develop a high-performance app or game, it should be a native app.

HIGHER DEVELOPMENT COSTS

Native apps are more expensive to develop. They’re more complex and require multiple code bases that need to be maintained by developers. This generates higher expenses than in the case of a single code base for a hybrid app. However, there are some ways to cut these costs. Tip: ask your software house about MVP method – it can help you save up to 70% of your budget and 60% of time.

EASY DISCOVERY IN APP STORES

Native apps are accessible exclusively through app stores. And according to researchers it’s in app stores that users usually discover apps: 47% of iPhone users and 53% of Android users find apps there. Locating your app in Google Play Store or Apple App Store is a bulletproof strategy for boosting your app discovery rate.

BETTER UX

Android and iOS apps offer a natural experience for their users by following specific UI standards shared by apps developed for these platforms. This way you can be sure that your app’s interface and navigation will be easy to understand for users. Native apps also allow creating smooth and descriptive transitions that build a seamless user experience.

THEY DON’T REQUIRE AN INTERNET CONNECTION

Depending on their functionalities, native apps don’t always require an Internet connection to work. That’s an important feature considering that users might find themselves in places with no access to the WiFi. A hybrid app won’t be accessible without an Internet connection.

HYBRID APPS

Hybrid apps are web apps based on a mix of HTML5 and native development. They’re usually built with HTML5 and Javascript. The code is then wrapped in a native container which allows accessing some native features.

PROS

CONS

EASY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Hybrid apps don’t require many developers to do the job. This may be important if speed to market is a significant factor in your app development project.

POOR UX

The most serious disadvantage of hybrid apps is the fact the they never offer a full native-like experience. And since users aren’t likely to give your app many tries, you need to create a seamless first experience with impeccable UX. This is hard to achieve in hybrid app development.

LOWER REQUIREMENTS

Hybrid apps don’t require developers to learn any of the specific languages for iOS or Android. In fact, you can create a hybrid app with a look and feel similar to native app with one language – C#, supplemented with frameworks like Cordova or PhoneGap wrapper.

LACK OF NATIVE FEATURES

Android and iOS offer features which are only available for their native apps. One good example is Render Script which is a computation engine operating at the native level that allows to accelerate the app when it needs more computational power. Hybrid apps have no access to such features and thus might be more difficult to use.

LOWER COST

Developing a hybrid app is relatively easier process than in case of a native app. You won’t face the hassle and expense involved in creating two separate versions for iOS and Android. Instead, you’ll get an app ready for both platforms.

LOWER EFFICIENCY

Hybrid apps are usually slower than their native counterparts. On average, you won’t be able to create native-like meaningful and smooth transitions in your hybrid app.

GOOD SOLUTION FOR BYOD PROGRAMS

If you’re planning to develop an internal company app and have a BYOD policy in place, a hybrid app is a good option. It works across different platforms and devices, so you don’t have to worry that some of your employees won’t be able to access it just because the app isn’t compatible with their devices or operating systems.

LAGS AND UX PROBLEMS

A hybrid app will never offer the kind of seamless experience of native apps. They are simply less refined and might cause performance problems in high-performing apps and games. And users who encounter lags are bound to get frustrated and abandon your app.

WORKS FOR APPS WITH SHORT RELEASE CYCLES

Hybrid app development is a smart option if you’re planning to regularly add some changes to your app. Unless it’s a major change, users of your app won’t need to update the app in the store. You can add the update on a page which is loaded from the server and users will instantly get it as they navigate through the app.

NATIVE OR HYBRID?

Considering all the points listed above, the answer to this burning question is quite simple. If you invest your time and money into a mobile app idea, and want your product to achieve a success it deserves, choosing the best quality should be your priority. And that’s can only be achieved in native apps.

Hybrid app may seem to be a tempting option, being easier, quicker and cheaper to develop, but if you want your app to be truly appealing to users and not to spoil their experience because of lags, don’t take a shortcut. It is simple not worth it.

All in all, investing into good quality always pays off. Even if the development cost of native apps is higher and takes a little longer, you’re bound to save time and money in the long run, all the while offering a great user experience and standard app performance based on everything the native environment has to offer.

 

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