Hybrid vs Native Apps – The Verdict
Mobile app developers have been scratching their heads since years. The dilemma between hybrid and native apps do not seem to subside even though the differences are clear. Though developing an app on HTML5 sounds good and easy, the advocates of native app have always stood by their choice because of the number of additional features that it offers. And the verdict that has finally come out is in favor of native apps. Let us tell you why it is so.
Where Is The Difference?
A native app is one which is specifically developed for a particular operating system. This way, an Android app can work only on Android devices, an iOS app can work only on Apple devices. If a business has an Android app and wants to develop one for iOS, it has to hire a separate iOS developer or team to get it created. Businesses often decide to go Android first these days, and entering iOS market will need additional investments.
A hybrid app on the other hand is designed and developed using other platform-independent technologies, which help a single app to work on multiple operating systems. This way, we can have one app created and serving a variety of platforms.
But there is much more to the difference between them than just the operating system. Let’s delve into those as well.
What we mean by an app’s suitability is that the in-app interaction of the app has the aesthetics that look consistent with the look and feel of other native apps on the phone. Native apps follow the user experience and technical guidelines of the operating system and hence, the performance is much faster. Hybrid apps are created in a still developing ecosystem and hence, may suffer on performance and aesthetics.
Native apps also have the built-in capabilities to leverage the power of GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer and several other sensors. Most of the apps that come pre-loaded on the phone are native apps. Hybrid apps will often fail to utilize the device’s features. Hybrid apps are essentially web apps that are created using web based technologies and are wrapped inside a native container. The container loads the content each time a user navigates within the application. Native apps on the other hand are different and can come pre-packaged with necessary content. This is again why native apps are a lot faster. Hybrid apps will just give you the look and feel of a native app, but on technical grounds, it is quite different.
Native apps are very easy to find in app stores. If you go to Play Store or Apple’s App Store, it won’t take you much time to find out the desired native app. Therefore, if a business wants to tap into the customer base and does not want to lose out to its rivals just on account of visibility in app store, then native apps are the best ones to go for.
In terms of overall performance, native apps win hands-down compared to hybrid apps. The overall user experience and performance is far better due to the way the UI and content can be loaded in a native app.
Portability & Time To Market
The portability of hybrid apps makes them sound suitable if time to market is very short. Moreover, if a business wants to be the first-mover in app store for some service, then hybrid apps are the best to go for. But it is important to remember that customers don’t care much about how soon or late the app is released. If the app experience is awful, they will not return to the app.
The cost of developing a hybrid app is lesser compared to native as you need to develop only one app instead of two separate native apps. It’s a matter of sacrificing the experience to reduce the overall cost of your project.
Updates & Release Cycles
It is easier to release updates for hybrid apps. If it’s a content change, the same can be updated on the server side and it is reflected on the app. For native apps, if the content is on the device, then the app has to be updated on App Store or Play Store for the content to be updated.
The crux of the matter is that, at present, native apps definitely have an upper hand over hybrid apps. Even with first-class 4G networks, hybrid apps may not be as fast as native apps and can lead to a considerably bad user experience. Combine this with the fickle mind of the customer and you know where the story should end. So, the verdict is out and it is loud and clear.