Should I develop a native mobile app or hybrid?
You have an app idea. Now what? One of the important decisions that you will have to make is wether to invest in a Native mobile app or to have your app developed using a “hybrid” application platform allowing your “app” to work on multiple platforms.
Mobile applications visible in App Store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android) can be divided in to two categories: native apps and hybrid apps. Both have their advantages and disadvantages which business owners and entrepreneurs have to take into account in order to make the best decision possible.
What are Native Mobile Apps?
Native mobile apps are designed and developed having one particular system in mind, typically they are designed and coded specifically for iPhone (iOS) or the Android smartphone platform. Since in this scenario, the application is written for a specific operating system a lot of benefits come along.
Pro: Better Performance
First, and what is most commonly valued among customers and users of mobile applications, is the performance of the app. Performance issues are particularly the reason why many customers decide to ditch an app they download- and as a result uninstall it despite the possible benefit it is advertised to have. With native apps there’s no such worry, as they work smoothly and process data fast, and they allow easy access to the features of the device and operating system.
Pro: Better Features
Native mobile applications have other great advantage over hybrid apps – they can have access to all of the functions of the smartphone. This includes features like accelerometer, compass, camera, GPS, the contact list and push notifications to name a few. If you want to have an app that is complex and uses all of the functions above of the device then coding your app natively is a must.
Con: Cost of Development & Time
When you code your app in a specific operating system like iPhone (iOS0 or Android), it will not automatically work on the other platform. This requires a reinvestment to recode the application for each platform. This also means your project will take a little longer. Ideally your app development partner assigns multiple resources to the project so Android and iPhone can be coded relatively at the same time. While you typically can use largely the same graphic screen designs and backend webs services, the front end must be recoded.
There are also content restrictions and approval process apps have to go through before being allowed to enter the app store.
Hybrid Mobile Apps
Hybrid apps, although available in the app store, are coded in HTML and are basically web pages running in a browser implemented in the application.
Pro: Time and Cost
Developing a hybrid application can be a cheaper solution for companies than investing in a native app. Hybrid apps can be written using programs such as Appcelerator, Sencha, PhoneGap etc. which allow developers to create an app that can run on various smartphone operating systems.
As a result, the company can have a relatively cheap app which works on both platforms.
Many business owners think it a wise solution because having an app that is visible to both, iOS and Android users, guarantees a larger potential audience.
Pro: You Need a Web Developer Not A Mobile Developer
There are far more options in the market from a resource perspective when you search for web developers vs finding mobile developers. This is a plus in terms of quantity and also the cost per hour. Using a web developer on a mobile app is not the best approach however, so this plus quickly can become a minus. The standards for smartphone app development are very specific and designing an app and then developing one that does not comply with the iOS Human Interface Guidelines will quickly see your app not being approved for sale in the app store. So tread softly here if the hybrid route is the one you choose.
Con: Performance and Capabilities of your Hybrid App
By developing app which has visible performance issues, limited accessibility to various features of a mobile phone (GPS, accelerometer, etc.), and fewer design possibilities, customers are given product which might not be sufficiently convincing. Furthermore, hybrid apps offer noticeably poorer user experience and narrower spectrum of built-in features.
What is The verdict?
If you want to have an application that is characterized by high performance, functionality and unique design, then you shouldn’t even bother with hybrid applications, as the drop in these three categories will be significant.
If you just want to get the word out and reach as many clients as possible, treating quality as a secondary issue, then hybrid application might be your answer. Whichever you choose, remember that at the end of the day these are the customers which guarantee the success of your business, and that guarantee can only be achieved through their satisfaction.