Determining which type of app to create is one of the first hurdles to clear once you get down to business with any app development project. Hybrid and native apps are two of the main mobile app types you can choose between for your next project. So what are the differences between hybrid and native apps? Why are these two types of apps both so popular in mobile app development, and which one should you choose for your new project?
Native Apps vs. Hybrid Apps
Native apps and hybrid apps are both popular types of mobile apps. Native apps are mobile apps that are built for a certain platform and are written in a—usually complex—programming language that is accepted by that platform. Native apps are high-performing and are actually much more common than hybrid apps in the mobile app marketplace.
Hybrid apps can be thought of as copycats of native apps in a way. Hybrid apps are called ‘hybrid’ because they are technically web apps, but they act like native mobile apps. They are built for web browsers, but are able to perform at the same level across multiple different platforms—including mobile platforms.
Both native apps and hybrid apps can be great options for your next mobile app development project. Each of these two types of apps has its own unique value and qualities that are advantageous for certain goals. Which type of app you choose to create depends on your business and your goals for your new mobile app development project.
Why Choose a Native App?
There are several reasons why native apps are the most common type of app. Native apps are the all-around highest-performing type of app. They are naturally more user-friendly than hybrid apps, so they are less frustrating for consumers—especially non-tech-savvy consumers—to operate and enjoy. App stores are most supportive of native apps. Native apps are also the easiest for consumers to discover, so native app development is a great option for businesses that are hoping to generate more visibility for their new app right from the start.
With that being said, native app development also tends to be very costly. Native apps use specific programming languages that require the expertise of experienced developers whose services can be very expensive. Beyond the issue of programming language, native apps are overall more expensive than hybrid apps to develop. Also, although it is able to support very complex apps, native app development is actually not ideal nor cost-effective for the development of most simpler apps.
Why Choose a Hybrid App?
If you don’t have the resources to invest in native app development, hybrid apps offer a great alternative option to both web apps and native mobile apps.
Hybrid apps are designed like web apps, but they don’t require the use of a web browser and are mobile device-friendly. They also only use codebase, so they are much easier to develop without the knowledge of difficult programming languages or the resources to hire someone with expertise in these programming languages.
However, the ease of hybrid app development does come with some drawbacks. Hybrid apps rely on third-party platforms and are less wholeheartedly supported by major app stores than native apps are. They also run much more slowly than native apps, which can be frustrating for users and developers alike.
When it comes to native versus hybrid app development, there is no right or wrong answer. Both native and hybrid apps can be ideal for different purposes.
If you are developing a very simple app and don’t want to invest too much money upfront, a hybrid app is likely your best option.
On the other hand, if you are looking to develop a more complex app and don’t mind investing more resources and utilizing difficult programming languages in exchange for higher performance, a native app might be the best choice for your next mobile app development project.