Native App vs Hybrid App
One entrepreneur said to me “I just want a plain app that allows my customers to find out about my products. Why do I need a native app when I could build a hybrid app for a fraction of the cost?” The answer is quite simple. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, I’ll explain the difference between native app development and hybrid app development.
Native apps are mobile applications programmed and developed specifically for the mobile device operating system. Building a native iPhone app means coding in programming languages Swift or Objective-C. Building a native Android app means using a programming language called Java. Advantages for building a native app includes access to the device ‘s newest technologies, a sharper look and design, better user experience, better performance, highly responsive user interface, and full use of device functionality and hardware.
Hybrid apps could be compared to any generic product out there. They resemble the original product but not quite as good, they do the bare minimum. In today’s highly competitive app market with over 4.2 million apps (2.2million Play Store, 2 million App Store) bare minimum will not retain users. Retaining users is by far the most important stat in the app business. This stat alone could make or break the success of the app.
Whether your reason for an app is only to show customers your products or because all your competitors have one, having a great user experience is very important. Your customers are accustomed to having a great user experience when coming in contact with your brand therefore they expect it from your mobile app. Building an app with great user experience ultimately starts with familiarity and fast performance. This means the app must look and feel consistent with all the other native apps on that device. Users typically do not want to learn new controls, interactions, or gestures. The typography, layout, navigation, and animations must all feel natural to the user.
By nature the performance of a native app is better because development is specific to the device operating system. When a user first downloads a native app, most of the static content is already stored on the phone. This provides quite the performance boost, not having to re-download static content and only having to focus on downloading dynamic content (e.g. news information, sport scores, images etc.). Stored static content provides users the ability to still use the app while offline. Using a hybrid app is very similar to going on a website, most of the static and dynamic content have to be downloaded, drastically slowing down the app. Hybrid apps either have a limited or no offline mode.
New Device Features
Think about why people get new things more specifically new phones. It’s because this new phone has features their old phone did not. Now think about these same users using an app that does not utilize any of the new features their new phone provides. How long do you believe these users would continue to use this app?
Native apps are able to utilize the full functionality of the device (e.g. GPS, swipe gestures, camera, sms, contacts, Bluetooth, hardware buttons etc.).
These features are fundamental and essential to almost every app. Native apps simply allow the user to take an advantage of the latest features on their phone.
It’s clear that a better user experience, better performance, and ability to utilize full functionality of the device are all benefits of building a native app. The only real benefit to a hybrid app is cost and time, which are obviously both critical factors. Finding the right development team could bring down cost and shorten the time it takes to build your native app, ultimately making the decision to go native a lot easier.