When you decide to develop an app for your business, you have to make a lot of decisions. This includes deciding between a native app and a hybrid app.
Have you never heard of these terms? Not sure what the differences are between them or which type you should choose?
Read on to learn more about the key differences between a native vs hybrid app, as well as the pros and cons of each.
What Is a Native App?
A native app is an app that gets installed right onto a person’s smartphone. In most cases, native apps work without any internet connection (although, every app is different, of course).
Native apps get installed through the application store (Google Play, Apple’s App Store, etc.). They’re developed for one specific platform and are meant to utilize the device’s unique features (processor, GPS, camera, etc.).
Some native apps can actually control the device on which it’s been installed. Most of them can use the device’s notification system, too.
Native vs Web Apps
The opposite of a hybrid app would be a web app. Web apps are technically not apps. Instead, they’re websites that are written in HTML (a common coding language) and look and function like a native application.
Users access web apps by typing in a special URL, just like they would if they were looking to access a specific webpage. From here, they “install” the app on their device’s home screen by creating a bookmark to that particular webpage.
Another key difference between native apps and web apps is the fact that web apps, understandably, require internet access. Operation speeds vary depending on the quality of a user’s cell signal or wi-fi connection.
What Is a Hybrid App?
Hybrid apps share some similarities with both native apps and web apps.
They exist in the app store, like native apps, and can utilize various device features. However, they also rely on HTML, like web apps. They also require internet access, and operation speeds will vary based on wi-fi connection strength and cell signal.
Many businesses build hybrid apps as a sort of cover for an existing web page. This gives them a chance to establish a presence in the app store without having to put in a ton of time and money to develop a native app.
Native App Pros and Cons
There’s a lot of debate over native vs hybrid apps, especially among business owners who are looking to expand their reach by creating a mobile app for their customers or clients.
It’s understandable if you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to make a decision. The more you know about the pros and cons of native and hybrid apps, though, the easier it’ll be to make the right decision for yourself and your business.
Here’s a breakdown of the most important Native app pros and cons to consider:
Native apps are fast. They’re native to a specific platform, and they work with the device’s built-in features. This combination, along with the fact that many elements are already pre-loaded and ready to go, allows for quick access at all times.
Not only can users access native apps quickly, but they can also access them regardless of whether or not they have a strong internet connection (or any internet connection at all). For business owners who want their customers to access their app at all times, a native app is a better choice.
Ease of Use
Many users find that native apps are easier to use and navigate. They have a recognizable, intuitive format and are similar to other apps that your customers or clients are already using.
In general, native apps provide a better user experience than hybrid apps. This has to do, in part, with the fact their layout is so recognizable. They’re also designed to align with the specific UI (user interface) standards for the device on which they’re downloaded, so users won’t have to deal with as many glitches.
The term “aspect ratio” refers to the ratio of height to width on different screens. It plays an important role in image quality.
Native apps offer better control over aspect ratios and image resolution. This ensures that users can always see the app’s content clearly, which increases their engagement and boosts the overall user experience.
Native apps must receive approval from the specific app store for which they’re being developed. Part of receiving this approval is verifying that the app is completely secure and will protect the users’ data.
For businesses with customers and clients who are concerned about security, native apps are likely a better choice.
Longer Downloading Process
The process of downloading a native app does take a bit longer than the process of downloading a hybrid app. Because there are more steps, businesses may lose some customers as they move down the funnel.
Lack of Flexibility
Native apps aren’t particularly flexible. Remember, they’re designed for one specific device and operating system. This is why many native apps, initially, are only available on one type of device, and other users have to wait a while before they can access the app for themselves.
Higher Development Cost
Native apps offer lots of perks, including offline access and higher levels of security. Some costs come with these perks, though, such as higher development expenses. Developers have to go through a longer process, which means clients typically have to pay more upfront.
Longer Development Time Frame
For the same reasons discussed above, native apps typically take longer to develop than hybrid apps and web apps.
Most businesses find that the longer development time frame is ultimately worth it, as they end up with a higher-performing product. However, they need to keep in mind that it may take a while before they see a return on their investment.
Hybrid App Pros and Cons
As with native apps, hybrid apps also come with their own unique pros and cons, including those outlined below:
Lower Development Costs
Because hybrid apps are easier to develop, they often are more affordable than native apps. For businesses that are working with limited budgets, hybrid apps can be a more cost-effective choice.
Hybrid apps can be developed faster than native apps, too. There are fewer hoops that developers have to jump through, and that means businesses (and their customers) can start enjoying the app sooner.
Hybrid app development eliminates the guesswork of choosing which platform to develop for first. Instead, it allows businesses to target customers who use both Android and iOS platforms.
Because hybrid apps provide them with a wider reach, this allows businesses to build awareness and see results from their efforts faster.
A common criticism of hybrid apps is that they don’t utilize device features (cameras, GPS, etc.). However, many hybrid app development platforms these days provide access to plugins that work around this issue and allow access to users’ device features.
These plugins create an app experience that resembles that of a native app and can allow for a better user experience and higher satisfaction rate.
Many developers find that it’s easier to maintain hybrid apps compared to native apps. This is because they share so many features with web apps, and it’s often less time-consuming to make changes and updates to web technology compared to native app technology.
Depending on the users’ internet connection, hybrid apps may be slower performing than their native counterparts. This can be a source of frustration and may cause people to stop using the app.
Hybrid apps often don’t come with as many features and functions as native apps. Plugins are helping to combat this problem, but they’re not a perfect solution. After all, there also isn’t a plugin for every feature (yet).
Longer Wait for New Features
General updates and maintenance are easier with hybrid apps. However, when it comes to implementing big, new features, it can sometimes take longer to make that happen.
This has to do with the fact that native apps are readily accessible in the Google Play and Apple app stores. When Apple and Google release new features for iOS and Android platforms, native apps typically get updated first (and more easily).
A major benefit of hybrid apps is that they can be released on iOS and Android platforms at the same time. However, there are often inconsistencies in these platforms. These inconsistencies, in turn, can cause glitches and potential frustrations for hybrid app users.
Are You Ready to Build an App?
Now that you know more about the ins and outs of the native vs hybrid app debate, which one seems like a better fit for you, your business, and your customers or clients?
Whichever option you’re drawn to, we have the experience and resources needed to help you achieve your goals. Contact us today to learn more about our app development services or to schedule a consultation.