What is the difference between hybrid and native app?

Mobile Development

The difference between Hybrid and Native App

 

The constant growth of users of mobile devices is increasing the demand for mobile applications.

If 10 years ago a smartphone was an attribute of rich people, now every 2 people go with a modern device and use it for 5 hours a day.

Companies often turn to us for help in developing their own mobile application. However, the first question is: "Are you interested in a native or hybrid application?" leads them into a stupor.

Let’s understand today what a native and hybrid application is, what are their main differences, and what your business will need.

 

What is a Native app?

A native app is a type of software that is developed for a specific operating system (OS) installed on the gadget such as Android, iOS, etc. Native applications use the hardware functionality of a specific OS: camera, geolocation, voice recorder, etc. In addition, native mobile apps have access to device services: audio and video files, notifications, calendar, etc. If desired, the user includes push notifications, which are also supported. 

To build a native iOS app, Swift or Objective-C will be used. For native Android apps, Kotlin or Java are suitable.

The “trick” of native applications is that they provide reliable operation of resource-intensive games, complex mathematical calculations, and a large amount of animation.

Pros of Native app:

  1. Easy to deploy;

  2. The application works more efficiently;

  3. Higher performance;

  4. Easy user interface customization;

  5. Safe and reliable;

  6. Quality functionality and user experience.

Cons of Native app:

  1. Expensive development cost;

  2. Unique source code prohibits reuse;

  3. The higher cost of service;

  4. It takes a lot of time to develop compared to cross-platform.

What is a Hybrid app?

A hybrid app is a regular mobile site, “wrapped” in its native built-in mobile OS browser, and working as an application.

Inside such an application is a website adapted for a mobile device. Through native operating system components, it can access push notifications and geolocation, and it can be distributed through app stores.

A hybrid application is more suitable for those who already have ready-made sites adapted for mobile devices, and who want to quickly check whether a full-fledged mobile app will be in demand among customers.

Various frameworks can be used to create a hybrid app, React Native and Flutter are tne most popular today. With its help, it is relatively easy to create hybrid applications on Android using HTML5, CSS3, and JS.

Pros of Hybrid app:

  1. Lower cost compared to native apps;

  2. Fast development;

  3. Native APIs;

  4. One codebase;

  5. Maintenance.

Cons of Hybrid app:

  1. Connection limitations;

  2. Restriction on the use of the device function;

  3. Platform differences entail additional improvements;

  4. User Experience (UX) is worse than in native apps;

  5. Lower performance.

Comparison of Native vs Hybrid Applications

Every year, the mobile development standards change, so we want to honestly tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of each approach so that you can make an objective choice. We offer you a comparative analysis of native and hybrid applications according to a number of criteria.

Access device features

Native apps have full access to the hardware platform, while hybrid apps don’t. So if you are going to use the capabilities of the camera, geolocation, data transfer wirelessly, then a native application will suit you.

Offline work

The native app is your choice if it is important that it works without any kind of Internet connection. Hybrid applications are dependent on Internet connectivity and browser caching.

Searchability

Hybrid applications are better at searching for content, but if you plan to search the contents of the app without access to the Internet, then a hybrid and native application will do.

Work speed

Native applications work the fastest. In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg said that the biggest mistake on his social network was not the development of a native solution (until then, Facebook used a hybrid app where most of the content was available only when connected to the Internet and was based on HTML; with 2012 it was replaced by a native). It's all about response speed.

Installation process

Native and hybrid apps must be installed on your device and given permission to access certain components of the software and hardware platform.

App management and maintenance

After each update, the native application needs to be re-hosted in the app store, while the hybrid application essentially updates the page and content, “packaged” in the form of a kind of mobile site.

Platform-specific

Since different browsers can support different versions of HTML5, regardless of the type of hardware platform or installed mobile OS, for those who want to "get rid" of the platform, hybrid apps will be the choice. If a separate development for each individual platform does not scare you, then you can bet on a native app.

Work with content, the procedure for adding to the application store and additional payments

Native and hybrid applications go through a special approval process after they are added to the app store. In addition, they may be subject to certain restrictions due to the rules and internal policies of the App Store and Google Play (especially when it comes to “adult” content, gambling, alcohol, or similar topics).

Native apps that sell a paid subscription as part of apps added to the App Store should share royalties with Apple. Accordingly, pricing and budgets in the case of native applications need to be adjusted taking into account the amount of these contributions.

Development cost

On the one hand, the development of hybrid solutions is much cheaper (elementary versions of hybrid apps can generally be created in the designer for free or at a significant discount). On the other hand, even to create a hybrid application you need to have sufficiently high development skills and the number of restrictions on the possibilities of using the hardware platform question the appropriateness of "savings".

User interface

And one of the key arguments in favor of native development, rather than hybrid solutions, is the integrity of the user interface in the application and in the mobile OS. The visual components, graphics, and interface of the hybrid application can also be as close as possible to those that are by default in the OS itself, but for the most complete match, it is still worth using a native solution.

Summary

In the end, we want to sub-trim and answer the question, what app type to choose for your business?

Of course, the native app has many advantages. Native apps are must-have for those who need:

  • heavy calculations that are needed on the phone side (for example, working with 3D, processing virtual reality, complex animation)

  • lack of requirements for the constant availability of the Internet (pedometers, heart rate monitors, clicker games, organizers, etc.)

However, hybrid apps also have a place to be. Indeed, many business applications have no requirements for the processing power of the phone (the load is no higher than that of the browser), or for the lack of the Internet (to make an order in a mobile store you need the Internet in any case). If you want a game application, then, of course, we recommend creating a native solution. The most important thing is to choose the right approach to development so that you don’t reproach yourself for the mistakes made at the start.

 

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