The app ecosystem is now a critical business requirement. Most people own smartphones and they expect to be able to conduct their business with these phones. The potential of this sector has always been huge. Increasingly, that potential has turned into an opportunity.
It is a foregone conclusion that a business should be a part of the app ecosystem. The question is, should you choose native or hybrid mobile app development?
According to Statista, the worldwide mobile app revenue in 2019 was $462 billion. The number is expected to increase significantly in 2020. Apps, in general, also show significantly higher user interaction and retention rates.
Going with either choice has its own sets of benefits and challenges. It’s a question that is relevant to the business and the technical/development side of things. Let’s take a look at the factors that enable an informed choice.
According to your business time table, how long can you wait before the app is available for use? Hybrid app development is significantly faster because the app needs to be developed and tested only once.
Native app development is likely to take more time. The app will have to be developed and tested for different platforms. The platforms include Android and iOS, though other options like developing for the web can also be considered.
Cost and time are two major factors of development and business decisions. Building native apps for each platform will take time as well as cost more. Simply put, hiring a Mobile app Development Company or having developers work longer on a project will cost more.
Note, native development for multiple OS options being more time and cost-intensive is the expected scenario. It is entirely possible that things turn out differently. The complexity of the project, intended objective, scope, features, and several other factors will affect the outcome.
App development must answer to a larger goal. What is the objective of the development of the app? For example, an app as a minimum viable product could easily take the hybrid route. To highlight your brand or show off a product catalog, hybrid mobile app development is a better route.
A web app developed with mobile OS in mind could very well achieve these objectives. However, where specific services are concerned, native app development has better chances.
Any app is developed for its audience. Simply being “good” is not enough! That’s just a shortcut to being added to the pile of being “ahead of its time”. Now that is praise, but let’s face it, that also means the product bombed.
Distinctions can be made using several metrics, geography included, to see the popularity of a platform. For example, your target region or demographic may lean heavily in favor of Android. So it makes sense to invest money in an Android App Development Company as the center of your development agenda.
Know your audience, and know them well. Market research and data on your audience will answer questions related to app development. An app that answers the requirements of its users is the best way to make the hybrid or native decision.
User experience is an area where native apps are tough to beat. Good design and excellent UI/UX are essential aspects of any app experience. Native apps gel more easily with the original look and feel of the OS.
This is not to say that hybrid app development lacks in UI/UX characteristics. Skilled developers and designers can match the intended look and feel pretty closely. However, for the same skill set, native development just handles it better.
Hybrid apps can be constrained where access to native APIs is concerned. This means some features may not be easily available, or they may not work as well on a hybrid platform. If the app requires full access to the capabilities or OS APIs of a device, native is the right choice.
This is also another reason why your target audience is important. If the native feel of the app is not an absolute necessity, the small changes introduced by hybrid apps can be ignored.
Good development practices essentially maintain a high-level of security and quality. In most cases, hybrid mobile app development is as secure as a native app. However, in cases where security is an absolute and top concern, native apps perform better than hybrid apps.
Native apps must essentially be restricted to the SDKs, languages, and APIs provided by the OS. Meanwhile, hybrid app development can gain from the availability of multiple frameworks and options. This reduces the learning curve for developers and lets them focus on project requirements. Additionally, developers can play to their strengths in delivering better Android or iOS App Development Services.
In absolute terms, a hybrid app can be at a disadvantage where performance is concerned. Native apps work better with the OS and its APIs. Simply put, the custom development put into a native app allows it some advantages.
Skilled developers can make the performance gap very small. In fact, the end-user may not even see any notable performance difference between native and hybrid apps.
The key here is the focus of development. Since a native app is developed especially for an OS, it can take better advantage of available features. This also allows it better performance. These gains come with increased cost and time investment.
In the same vein, hybrid mobile app development makes a faster development cycle possible. Time and monetary investment are lower as the code only has to be written once for deployment to various platforms.
Praveen is a seasoned IT Solutions Leader and Director at RSK Business Solutions, a technology-driven IT Consulting Company that specializes in Bespoke Software Development, Agile Consulting, Mobile App Development, Smart Sourcing, and much more. For the last 17 years, he has been delivering quality custom IT solutions that help businesses achieve their goals.