For the last several years, Web and app developers have battled over what many felt was the soul of mobile itself. That war is waning, but the result – and the victors – may not be what and who you expected so in this article, we discussed about native vs hybrid mobile app.
Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and Symbian etc. are the leading Operating Systems used in Smart devices like Phones and Tablets. There are more than 950,000 apps in iOS store, more than 750,000 apps in Play store and around 200,000 apps in Windows Phone and Blackberry’s play store. It has lead among users as a device can have just 1 operating system and hence have access to its app store but not to every app store.
Today most of the companies are facing a critical problem i.e. they are unable to decide whether to build a native app or a hybrid app for their solution? This is an old debate and there is no answer to it. Before we answer this question let us first understand out what native and hybrid apps means.
Hybrid App: Developer augments web code with native SDK. Can be easily deployed across multiple platform and is usually the cheaper and faster solution
Native App: This is platform (iOS, Android etc.) specific and requires unique expertise. However the full potential of the platform can be leveraged which will drive great user experience and larger app capabilities (especially around phone hardware). Can be pricey based on requirement and take longer to develop.
Both Hybrid and Native App have their advantages and disadvantages so before selecting if the app has to be native app or a hybrid app there needs to several questions that should be think or discussed:
Do you want to use native features in the Mobile App?
If your app is heavy on native phone capability and this is your primary USP, then native app development will work best. While building a Hybrid Mobile App, depending on the framework that you adopt (there are several in the market), you may or may not have access to native features. Some of these native features can be the Camera, Contacts, SMS, Hardware Device Buttons.
How quickly do you want to take it to the market?
The time to market is dependent on various factors like the amount of features and number of resources you have. More resources typically mean that the budget will increase. If you want to launch the mobile app quickly to the market with limited resources, it would be wise to go with hybrid app approach, which will help to launch your app on multiple platforms in a short time.
Do you have separate budget for developers in iOS and Android (considering that they dominate the market share)?
If you can allocate separate budget for iOS and Android development resources, and you have liberty of time to take it to the market , then you don’t have to worry much; go for native app!
Below table shows the average cost of mobile app development using hybrid vs native mobile app development:
|Description||Small to Medium Size Projects
Native App Development
|Small to Medium Size Projects
Hybrid App Development
|Back-end programming, APIs, admin and cloud deployment||$10,000 – $20,000||$10,000 – $20,000|
|iOS native development||$15,000 – $30,000||$0|
|Android native development||$10,000 – $20,000||$0|
|Hybrid app development using PhoneGap technology||$0||$15,000 – $25,000|
|Total||$35,000 – $70,000||$20,000 – $40,000|
The above cost is just a ball park average cost. The cost can be lower or higher based on mobile app project size and specifications.
How often do you need to update your mobile app?
If you need to make frequent updates to your app, which means that the user will have to update from the App Store regularly (and not annoying them with that), then you should consider a hybrid app. The biggest advantage for hybrid app is that unless you have an integral change of the functionality in the app, all the content will be updated from web directly. This is one of the reasons that most Banks, News and Media apps in the market are hybrid. Hybrid apps also let you work out of a single code-base thereby helping the teams work more efficiently.
Do you want to have the best user experience?
If you want to create an awesome user experience, the native app approach would be better. A hybrid app can never match the level of creative user experience that you get in a native app. However, this doesn’t mean that the user experience of a hybrid app is bad. A good front-end developer in hybrid app can get close to a native experience, but it’s a far stretch.
There are several things / factors that we should consider when we step-up to make the best Mobile App for users.
Mobile development is a constantly moving target. Every six months, there’s a new mobile operating system, with unique features only accessible with native APIs. The containers bring those to hybrid apps soon thereafter, with the web making tremendous leaps every few years. Based on current technology, let’s take a quick glance at comparison:
|Development Language||Native Only||Native and Web / Web Only|
|Device Specific Features||High||Moderate|
|Approval Process||Mandatory||Low Overhead|
|UI / UX||High||Moderate|
|Access to Native APIs||High||Moderate|