Native vs. Hybrid App: Choosing the Best Solution in 2019

Native vs. Hybrid App

Mobile app development is all about making informed decisions.

And prior to hiring a team of developers, you should take into account numerous factors to create a functional and cost-effective application.

Many product owners wonder who wins in native app vs. hybrid app battle. Spoiler: no one. And here comes our explanation of the pros and cons of native apps vs. hybrid apps. Stay tuned!

Difference between native and hybrid apps

The main difference between native and hybrid apps is that the first ones are developed for a specific platform like iOS or Android. On the contrary, hybrid apps are cross-platform and have one code base. They cover multiple platforms.

Now, a few words about tech differences. Native apps are created with the help of programming languages – Java and Kotlin for Android and Objective-C or Swift for iOS. While hybrid apps are built with the help of JavaScript, HTML&CSS that are web technologies.

Simply put, hybrid apps are websites that look and function like native apps. They both can be distributed via Google Play and App Store.

So it’s a bit hard to define which app is hybrid and which is native, isn’t it? Still, there are some hints. When it comes to cross-platform app building, devs use the web technologies we’ve mentioned previously and also non-web ones like .NET-oriented. It’s possible due to hybrid app frameworks (e.g. Xamarin and Ionic) and gives developers more power.

So, what do we have? Native apps are built for one platform, and hybrid apps run across multiple platforms. At the core, they’re websites put into app’s shell. Believe it or not, Uber, Instagram, and Twitter are actually hybrid apps. Fantastic.

Hybrid apps benefits and drawbacks

Prior to creating a hybrid app, you should know all their pros and cons. First of all, mind that to access native features, hybrid products have to use APIs. So their abilities are limited.

Hybrid apps are a good fit when you’re focused on the content. But if you need something more sophisticated, it may be a pure waste of time and money. Here’s our short review of what you should know prior to choosing hybrid app development.

Main benefits of hybrid applications include:

Cross-platform capabilities. These apps run on both Android and iOS as they have one code base. So you don’t need to choose which platform goes first. It’s also a good choice when you need to increase brand awareness and hit as many users as possible.

Faster delivery. It takes a lot of time to create a native app. And if you’re eager to use the product as soon as possible, stop on hybrid version. Devs don’t have to create a code base for each platform which reduces the overall development time. By the way, QA engineers need less time to check a hybrid app too.

Easier to make changes. Devs don’t have to work with each platform specifically to replace or change some elements. It’s enough to make changes once and they will be applied across all the platforms.

Reduced building cost. It’s same code base again. Hybrid apps delivery takes as much time as building one app for iOS or Android platforms. And hybrid applications run on both!

In order to get a full picture of hybrid development, let’s review the main cons of such apps:

Internet connection. Hybrid apps require non-stop internet connection to work. In addition, it takes more time for hybrid applications to load so they run slower compared to native apps.

Limited capabilities. Hybrid apps rely on plugins to access the built-in device features. However, these plugins can be out of date or unreliable. And if there’re no ready-made solutions that help you access a certain feature, developers will have to create it from scratch.

Poor UX. User experience is one thing that should be of a high level no matter what product you create. Unfortunately, UX in hybrid apps leaves much to be desired. Developers focus on something in the middle of iOS and Android versions to please users of both platforms.

Need for native app developers. That’s right – you may need native app devs to build a hybrid application. The approach accepted during hybrid app delivery can’t solve all the functional problems that are basic for native building. Thus, you may need to hire a native developer to create a top-rated product.

Pros and cons of native apps

Native apps are developed for a specific OS. Developers align the UX within the operating system and stick to guidelines during its delivery. So let’s take a look at the advantages and downfalls of native apps.

Advantages of native apps include:

Great user experience. While working on a native application, developers tailor the app’s functionality to one platform.  It allows them to create a more intuitive interface and understand app functionality better.

Top performance. The app created for a specific platform shows a high-performance level. Native apps run fast not only because of optimization but due to the code itself. It’s written in the language natively supported by the platform so it performs faster.

Security means. The only way to guarantee your users’ data protection is to deliver a native app. In this case, the full power of hardware is engaged to process tasks.

Full-fledged functionality. Here comes another reason why native apps are better. Mind that they have full access to databases and hardware features of a device. Their functionality can’t be limited to plugins or any third-party tools. And there’s no need to consider the peculiarities of several operating systems at once.

Personalization. Due to fragmentation, adjusting the layout for different devices becomes way too complex. Especially when it comes to Android-based devices. With native apps, you can keep the design at a high level and implement great UX.

Finally, let’s check the flip side of the coin, the disadvantages:

Development cost. Native app building is a complex process that requires more experienced developers to work on it. And their services won’t be cheap.

…and time. Time is money again, and more time is needed to deliver a native app. If you need the product to be released on both App Store and Google Play, native apps may not be the best choice.

Which option is best?

Hybrid apps work great when you’re dealing with simple and content-oriented projects. They will be your perfect choice if you’re on a tight budget or have little time. By the way, you can also build a hybrid app you want to test your product without significant spendings.

But if you’re aimed at adding custom features, top performance, and good design, then native app development is what you actually need.
I hope that this short guide helped you to find out what option works better for your project. Still, I always mention that it’s better to contact an experienced app development team to be sure. They will check your objectives and find the best way to bring the project to live. Good luck with building your perfect application!