Native vs. Hybrid Mobile Apps: Which is Better to Choose?

Difficulty: Intermediate

Estimated Completion Time: 11 minutes

What is a native app and a hybrid app? When it comes to software development, knowing the distinction between these two types of apps is crucial. It will help you guide your decision regarding the type of software to design based on the benefits it will provide to your business.

It is difficult to state what type is prevalent on the market, as it depends on the industry. For example, 37 of 50 top retailer apps went hybrid. So let’s review and compare both types so that you know which one suits your business model and purposes better.

What is a Native Mobile Application?

Native apps are software solutions designed specifically for a particular operating system (OS). They use a native language of either Android or iOS. Developers have to utilize a respective software development kit (SDK) while building a native app.

Native apps for iOS are written in Objective-C or Swift programming languages. At the same time, Android-based software uses Java or Kotlin.

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Pros and Cons of Native Mobile Apps

The significant advantages that native software solutions have are the following:

  • Performance.

Native apps run as independent applications with no web browser needed. It ensures higher operational speed and smooth performance overall. Also, technical issues occurring during native software functioning are rather rare. 

  • Fully-fledged functionality.

In contrast to hybrid apps, native software solutions can have unrestricted access to a device’s inbuilt utilities. This includes a camera, calendar, gyroscope, GPS, etc. 

  • Security.

It is simpler to integrate a reliable security system in native apps, while the number of weak spots in their operation is lower. It leads to lower risks of a cyberattack being successful.  

  • UX/UI standards compliance.

As mentioned previously, developers that build an app for Android or iOS-based devices specifically have to guide the process based on SDKs. These kits include UX/UI design policies that new apps must incorporate. It makes all the native apps look similar, benefiting from design consistency. 

All the native apps intended for a particular platform have similar designs due to standards compliance so that users can get used to new software faster. It also enhances the customer experience. 

  • The simplicity of scaling.

Native apps are not intended for multiple platforms naturally, which simplifies their updating. For this reason, these software solutions can be scaled relatively effortlessly.

The limitations of these kinds of digital applications are the following:

  • Higher costs deriving from longer development time.

Building a new native app from scratch is a time-consuming process, typically. Considering that development time is a major constituent of a final cost, such software solutions are more expensive.

  • Complicated technical support and maintenance. 

The common problem with supporting a native app is that different devices may use distinct versions of the same software. Considering that all of these require particular attention in the context of technical support, native digital tools are more difficult to maintain.

The pros and cons of native apps evidence that such software solutions ensure superior performance and the most intuitive, user-friendly design while compromising customization, accessibility, and affordability overall.

What is a Hybrid Mobile Application?

Hybrid apps are cross-platform software solutions that support multiple OSs and run in browsers. Building such an app may be based on using a third-party platform like React Native, Ionic, Cordova, Xamarin, etc. Or on using web technologies and respective programming languages.  

Hybrid apps are written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Regardless of the language, hybrid software can run on both iOS and Android with the same code.

A notable example in native app development is Flutter. Utilizing the Skia graphics engine results in apps that look exactly the same on all platforms without any additional customization. Since there is no intermediate layer for translating the code into native, you get apps that are very close in function to native apps with some small limitations.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Mobile Apps

The significant advantages of hybrid software solutions are the following:

  • Lower costs deriving from shorter development time.

A single hybrid app with a uniform code can run on multiple devices. As there is no need to design editions of the same app specifically using different SDK and programming languages, development time is lower. Consequently, prices for hybrid apps are more affordable.

  • Accessibility.

Hybrid apps are equally available to users with any device, regardless of their operating system. It significantly enhances the accessibility of the application.

The limitations of these kinds of digital applications are the following:

  • Occasional glitches.

In most cases, hybrid applications perform slower than native ones. It is so because the speed of a connected browser restricts the loading time of its pages. This dependency leads to frequent glitches and other bugs.

  • Design inconsistencies.

Given that developers of hybrid apps do not have to guide their design based on any standards, such software can be fully customizable. There is no consistency between hybrid application interfaces, making it difficult for a customer to get used to them. 

  • Compromised functionality.

Hybrid apps naturally cannot use the full functionality of a device. So, the range of features they can offer is severely limited. The pros and cons of hybrid apps evidence that such software solutions ensure better accessibility overall while compromising design and performance.

Not sure what software solution to choose for your app?

Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about pros and cons for both of them.

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Comparison of Native vs. Hybrid Applications

Take a look at the table below for a visual, all-in-one comparison of the same metrics of native and hybrid software solutions.

FactorNative ApplicationsHybrid Applications
Built-In FeaturesSupport all functionality of a device and offer a wide range of native features to employCannot use the full potential of a device, and many features are restricted
Operation speedSuperior overallAverage to superior depending on the browser used
Design responsiveness and user-friendlinessDesigned specifically to be a part of a platform’s native digital environment, it simplifies introducing an app to a customer and makes it more user-friendly Can have any design requested without any restrictions, but unsuccessful design decisions deteriorate user experience, and adoption of an app takes more time 
Possibility of offline usageSome functions may be supported in offline modeMost functions cannot be used in offline mode
Stability of systemSuperior with infrequent technical issues occurringAverage with occasional technical issues occurring
SecurityLess prone to security breachesMore prone to security breaches
AccessibilityDevices on one platformDevices on any platform
Development timeTime-consuming development overallDevelopment time depends on the complexity of a hybrid app
Code reusabilitySome code can be reused with technologies like Kotlin MultiplatformMajor part of the code can be reused
Application sizeSmall-sized apps overallTypically larger than native apps
Programming languageJava, Kotlin, Swift, Objective-CJavaScript, HTML, CSS
Integration with other applicationsIncorporation with other apps is possible but is limitedCan be incorporated with other apps limit-free

Native or Hybrid Mobile Application: Which is Better for You?

Look at the following considerations to determine what type of mobile applications suit your business the best.

User Audience

The accessibility and the convenience of an application to potential users of an app are essential. If you choose to build a native app, ensure that all your customers use the intended platform. Alternatively, you may want to develop a native software solution for two OSs or go hybrid.

Functionality Required

In case you have a specific feature in mind, ensure that it is potentially compatible with your digital app choice. If your app does not require using a device’s gyroscope, GPS, camera, and other utilities, you can stick with hybrid app development.

Performance and Reliability

You may want to guide your decision based on the desired application performance. This difference between native and hybrid apps clearly indicates the advantage of the first. So in case superior security and high loading speed are crucial, go native.

Cost of Developing Native and Hybrid Mobile Applications

In the native vs. hybrid mobile apps battle, development costs are not the least important factor, especially for new-to-market startups. Factors that impact the final price are the following:

  • Design complexity. It includes an increase in the number of pages to develop, the intricacy and innovativeness of design overall, and other related nuances.
  • Functionality required. It includes built-in features that both admins and users can employ.
  • Development time. This factor is a logical consequence of the other two combined. Your app’s functionality and design define how time-consuming the project will be, directly impacting costs.
  • Third-party licenses. You may need to integrate other developers’ software solutions or application programming interfaces (APIs) in your app. This way, you will have to purchase their licenses.

In essence, costs for developing native apps may fall somewhere in the range of $5,000–500,000. A basic digital tool may be priced up to $50,000, a gaming app’s average cost is $6,000–$250,000, and a fully-fledged native software piece will require investing as much as $250,000–$500,000 or even more.

Costs for creating a hybrid mobile app may fall in the range of $5,000–200,000, notably lower than the one for the native apps. But, a vital consideration is that the rising complexity of hybrid software may bring you to the need to invest in such a digital solution even more.When it comes to hybrid mobile apps vs. native, the cost to develop the first ones is typically lower. But, exceptions to this rule are not unheard of.

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Consider Weelorum Your Trusted Partner in Developing Your Mobile App

Weelorum is your reliable contractor for building a mobile app of any complexity. You can be confident in the top level of our services regardless of whether you intend native or hybrid app development. We have years of experience working on both types of software. And you can easily check our portfolio, comprising examples of our work.

If you have any doubts, check just a few of the benefits you receive from using our services:

  • An all-inclusive development that covers all your needs and even more.
  • Careful consideration of native and hybrid apps’ specificities.
  • Full commitment to your business goals.
  • Transparency at every development stage.
  • Constant customer support ensures that you have control over the development process.
  • Respect for your privacy and confidential information.

Do not hesitate to contact us with your project details. We will respond shortly.

Final Thoughts

The native vs. hybrid app comparison does not indicate a clear winner. The first type provides a higher choice of built-in features, superior performance speed, and the most user-friendly design possible. But, it requires more development time, resulting in higher costs. 

The second type ensures equal access to all your prospective customers, does not set design limitations, and is typically more affordable. However, it is more demanding to constant technical maintenance, shows lower reliability, and cannot employ devices’ full potential. So, your choice will entirely depend on your app’s target audience and its purposes. 

FAQ

  • Native vs. hybrid mobile apps: how do I choose?

Guide your decision based on how diverse your audience is, what your industry and business model are, and what the characteristics of an app you intend to design are. 

  • What is the main advantage of hybrid apps over native apps?

They ensure equal accessibility of an app to any user at an affordable cost. 

  • Are hybrid apps more expensive than native apps?

No, when it comes to native vs. hybrid apps, the second ones are more affordable but only to a certain degree of complexity.

Table of content
What is a Native Mobile Application?What is a Hybrid Mobile Application?Comparison of Native vs. Hybrid ApplicationsNative or Hybrid Mobile Application: Which is Better for You?Cost of Developing Native and Hybrid Mobile ApplicationsConsider Weelorum Your Trusted Partner in Developing Your Mobile AppFinal ThoughtsFAQ
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