As the number of mobile app users is increasing day by day, businesses are now using mobile apps to maximize their reach to a larger audience. A recent report by Statista shows that in 2023, 255 billion mobile apps were downloaded from various app stores.
But wait! Are you juggling between whether to choose a hybrid or native mobile app for your business? If yes, worry not! 🤗we are here to guide you.
In this blog post, we will be discussing native and hybrid apps, including the main differences between hybrid and native apps.
Let’s get started.
What is a Native App?
A native app is a type of mobile app built for a particular operating system (OS), platform, or device. The two major mobile platforms you’ll likely develop a native app for are Android and iOS.
Any native app that runs on an iOS platform can’t function on Android platforms/ devices, and any Android native app can’t run on iOS devices/ OS/platforms. It’s because Android and iOS use different programming languages and environments. Android apps are developed using Java or Kotlin, while iOS apps are written in Swift or Objective-C.
▶️Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Apps
- One can easily download and install a native mobile app from the Play Store or App Store.
- A native app typically loads faster since it is designed for a single platform or operating system only.
- Native apps can run without an internet connection or, simply say, offline. This is particularly beneficial in a situation when there isn’t a stable internet connection.
- Native apps directly interact with device features such as cameras, GPS, contact lists, etc.
- Code used to develop an Android native mobile app can’t be reused to develop an iOS native mobile app.
- It becomes expensive and time-consuming to develop separate native apps for different platforms (iOS and Android devices).
- A native app can consume a lot of storage space on a device.
Examples of Native Apps: Popular native apps include Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
👍 You May Also Like: Demystifying App Development: Exploring the Five Types of Applications
What is a Hybrid App?
A hybrid app is a type of mobile application that combines elements of both a native and web app. What sets it apart from native apps is its compatibility with any operating system, whether it’s Windows, Linux, iOS, or Android.
▶️ Advantages and Disadvantages of Hybrid Apps
- They run on different operating systems.
- Unlike native apps, one doesn’t have to write code separately to develop hybrid apps, as it allows for code reuse.
- A single codebase results in cost and development time savings.
- A stable internet connection is required for the hybrid app’s full functionality.
- Since hybrid apps can’t utilize the platform’s User Interface (UI), the user experience could suffer.
Examples of Hybrid Apps: Popular examples of hybrid apps include Gmail, Evernote, Uber, Baskin Robbins, Amazon app store, etc.
Hybrid vs. Native Apps: Main differences
Hybrid and native apps are two types of mobile applications. They differ significantly from one another in terms of features, functionalities, platform dependent, performance, and technologies used.
Here is the tabular comparison between native and hybrid apps:
|Have limited features compared to native apps.
|Have more features compared to hybrid apps.
|Run across multiple platforms/ OS.
|Run on a single platform/OS.
|Simple or moderately complex.
|Very complex to build.
|Slower and less reliable than native apps.
|Better performance than hybrid apps.
|The single codebase for multiple platforms.
|Separate codebase for each platform.
|Programming languages used
|Java, Kotlin, and Swift.
In terms of features, native apps have more features than hybrid apps. It’s because a native mobile app directly interacts with device hardware features like cameras, GPS, contact lists, etc. This tight interaction results in high features.
Contrarily, hybrid apps cannot access or have limited access to the phone’s features due to their native shell.
- Platform Compatability
Hybrid apps are independent of platforms and run on multiple platforms or operating systems like Windows, Linux, iOS, or Android.
On the other hand, native apps are compatible with a single platform/ operating system as they are built with specific codes compatible with a single OS.
- Development Time
When you’re building a hybrid app, you only need to write the code once to make it work on multiple platforms, which is a massive timesaver. On the flip side, if you’re developing native apps for both iOS and Android, you have to write the code at least twice using two different programming languages. Consequently, this significantly extends the development time.
Native app development is ideal for companies that can wait a few months to launch an app. On the other hand, a hybrid app development approach is more appropriate in circumstances where a company needs to launch and deploy its mobile app almost immediately.
- App Complexity
Native apps are generally very complex to build. This is because one needs to have knowledge of multiple programming languages and tools specific to each platform. Also, developers must take into account the guidelines and conventions of each platform when building and designing apps.
Native apps tend to outperform hybrid apps when it comes to speed and reliability. Native apps have drect access to the devices hardware and operating system, resulting in enhanced speed responsiveness and resource utilization.
The reliance of hybrid apps on web views leads to slower performance. This effect is especially noticeable in graphics rendering, animations, and responsiveness.
App developers use a single codebase to develop hybrid apps compatible with multiple platforms. On the other hand, app developers write code differently to develop native apps that are compatible with different platforms.
- Programming Languages Used
- Code Reusability
Developers can use the same code to deploy a hybrid mobile app to all platforms. However, a native mobile app written for one platform cannot be ported to another.
As hybrid apps are cross-platform compatible, they cost comparatively less than developing native apps for multiple platforms. Developing native apps for multiple platforms is the most expensive.
Hybrid or Native Apps? Which Should I Choose in 2024?
You should choose a native mobile app for your business if;
- You have enough budget to develop native apps for both Android and iOS.
- You aren’t in a hurry to launch your app immediately.
- You want your app to leverage device features like camera, GPS, microphones, etc.
- You want your app to deliver high performance and a consistent user experience.
You should choose a hybrid mobile app for your business if;
- You have a limited budget.
- You don’t have time and want to speed up your app development time.
- You want to build a mobile app compatible with multiple platforms and operating systems.
By now, you must know what hybrid and native apps are and the key differences between them. It is not just about cost and time that differentiates native from hybrid apps but also how they perform and how they interact with users.
Your choice between a native vs hybrid app depends on what you are looking for from your app- whether you want performance, cross-platform compatibility, user-friendly design, more features, or consistent UI.