How to Choose Between a Native or Hybrid Mobile App

As hybrid mobile app development technologies are increasingly more capable of matching the performance of native development and are able to leverage a growing number of native platform-specific APIs, enterprises are finding hybrid development technologies to be the right choice for their app development needs.

Native Mobile App Development

Native mobile apps are developed for use on one platform or device, using the device’s operating system and other software that are provided by the platform vendor.

Advantages:

Some applications run more quickly.
The user interface uses the capabilities of a specific device.
The ability to leverage platform-specific APIs as soon as they are released by Apple or Google.

Disadvantages:

It’s generally more expensive to build.
It’s generally more expensive to maintain.
You have two 100% separate codebases that require different developers.
The development cycle is longer as compared to hybrid apps.

Hybrid Mobile App Development

Hybrid development uses both the mobile platform’s capabilities and web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Advantages include:

Apps can be brought to market more quickly and are less expensive to develop than native apps.
Apps can create a consistent look and feel across devices without the need to create a separate interface for each device.

Disadvantages include:

Some applications will run more slowly.
The user interface may not look exactly like the one already running on a specific mobile device.
Delays in access to new platform specific APIs released by Apple and Google.

Pundits on both sides of the native vs. hybrid argument are still promoting this traditional list of advantages and disadvantages. However, technology is changing, and you need to make your choice considering those changes.

The Gap Between Native and Hybrid Apps Is Narrowing

Gartner predicted that by 2016, 50 percent of mobile apps would be built using hybrid development approaches. While Gartner hasn’t published definitive statistics, there are indications that we’re moving in that direction. We predict that this trend is only going to continue in 2017, hitting over 50% hybrid for new enterprise apps.

Native Apps Meet Specific Requirements

Certainly, there are situations where native apps make the most sense. You should use a native app if:

Your app utilizes advanced 3D graphics and animations.
Your app is very CPU-intensive. For example, if your app needs to apply filters to intercept camera input, you need a native app. This performance gap will also be reduced with technological advancements.
Your app needs to leverage a new platform-specific API as soon as the API is released.

Hybrid Apps Satisfy a Wide Range of Requirements

For most enterprises, the hybrid approach will be the choice of their technical organizations that want to bring their app to market as quickly as possible at a reasonable cost of overall ownership and maintenance for the lifecycle of the solution. Tools for hybrid development are now available that make hybrid development even more efficient.

Ionic is a premier example of one such tool. The Ionic framework offers a range of capabilities that make hybrid development more effective than ever before. Ionic is an open-source application that is supported by an extensive world-wide community. In addition, Ionic offers amazing speed, a base theme that conforms to each mobile platform, and optimization for both native and web components.

Which Development Approach Is Right for You?

If you’re developing a game like Pokemon GO, choose a native app. If you’re developing a business app, a hybrid development approach will undoubtedly make the most sense.

Hybrid apps can share code across platforms, therefore they produce an excellent return on investment over a 3 to 5 year life-cycle. A hybrid approach will bring your app to market in less than six months, which is an important consideration for many established companies. In addition, ongoing maintenance of a hybrid app is easier and less costly.

If you’re interested in developing a mobile app for your business, get started today!