Native vs. Hybrid App: Which App Should You Develop?

Imagine you have a new lemonade recipe that you want to share with the world. How would you reach out to your customers? Would you start with a classic lemonade stand with your perfect recipe, or open a juice bar that offers a wide selection? 

This is what native vs hybrid app is, the lemonade stand with one perfect drink is a native app, while the wider offers from the juice bar serves as the hybrid app. 

Understanding Native vs Hybrid App 

Native Apps are built specifically for a single platform, such as iOS or Android, using their tools and languages. Think of them like a customized lemonade stand—they’re designed to make your perfect lemonade perfectly, offering a cool and refreshing experience for your customers. 

To explain native apps better, think how Apple does its business. Native iOS development refers to building apps specifically for Apple devices (iPhones, iPads) using Apple’s programming languages (Swift or Objective-C) where they leverage iOS features and provide an optimal user experience within the Apple ecosystem. 

Hybrid Apps, on the other hand, are built using general web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) and wrapped in a native container to run on multiple platforms. Like a juice bar it can serve a variety of drinks to a wider audience, but may not offer the same level of experience as a dedicated lemonade stand. Instagram, Uber, and Discord are some of the more popular hybrid apps. 

What’s the Difference? 

Comparison between native vs hybrid app

The key difference in the native vs hybrid app discussion lies in how these apps are built, as well as their function: 

  • Development: Native apps require separate codebases for iOS and Android, while hybrid apps use a single codebase wrapped in a native container. 
  • Performance: Native apps offer smoother and faster performance due to their platform-specific optimization. 
  • User Experience: Native apps provide a more seamless user experience as they’re designed specifically for each platform’s look and feel. 
  • Device Access: Native apps have full access to all device features (camera, location, etc.), while hybrid apps might have limitations. 
  • Maintenance: Updating native apps requires changes to both iOS and Android versions, while hybrid apps only need one codebase update. 

Choosing the Right Fit for Native vs Hybrid App 

Choosing the right development approach for your app, whether it be native or hybrid, is just one piece of the puzzle in bringing your software vision to life. All you need to do is consider the differences mentioned above. But how do you determine if your project is truly ready to move forward into development? From conceptualization to launch, there are several key aspects to consider, including development readiness, testing and validation strategies, understanding business metrics, and evaluating your team’s skills and experience.

To help you navigate these critical decisions, we offer our Product Readiness Quiz. This comprehensive tool is designed to evaluate your project’s overall readiness for development, providing insights not just into the choice between native and hybrid app development, but into a broader spectrum of essential factors that influence software success.

Native Apps 

Pros:

  • Better Performance: Native apps run flawlessly – they feel smoother and faster for a more enjoyable user experience, and customers are likely to keep coming back for more. 
  • Seamless User Experience: Works exactly how users expect for their device (iOS or Android), so it is more intuitive and user-friendly, and exactly how your app should be. 
  • Full Device Access: Integrates features like camera, location, and fingerprint reader for a richer app experience. Consider this to be like loyalty programs that utilize camera recognition, location-based features, enhanced usability, and fingerprint logins for added security. 
  • App Store Optimization: Native apps are more likely to rank well in app stores, which leads to better visibility. App store optimization also helps your app reach its target audience. 

Cons:

  • Higher Development Cost: Building separate apps for iOS and Android can be more expensive. Investing in at least two different operating systems can be a hurdle for startups or those with limited budgets. 
  • More Development Time: Building two separate apps also takes almost twice as long to finish. It takes time to design and customize each version, so it can delay getting your app to market, potentially missing out on valuable opportunities. 
  • Maintenance Challenges: Updates require changes to both iOS and Android versions, so maintaining two separate codebases can be more complex especially if you don’t have enough manpower for it. 

Hybrid Apps: The All-Beverage Juice Bar Option 

Pros:

  • Cost-Effective: Develop one version of the app then deploy on both iOS and Android, which saves a lot on development costs.  
  • Fast Development: Get your app to market quicker with a single codebase, allowing you to capitalize on market opportunities and get your app to the market sooner. 
  • Easier Maintenance: Updates are applied to one codebase for both platforms, like you only need to update your recipe once. This makes maintenance simpler and reduces ongoing costs. 

Cons:

  • Performance Limitations: Hybrid apps may not be as fast or smooth as native apps, especially for complex features. This could lead to a frustrating user experience and can discourage customers from coming back. 
  • Limited Device Access: Because hybrid apps are not customized per operating system, they may not have full access to all device features, limiting your ability to offer certain functionalities like advanced camera integration or fingerprint logins. 
  • Reliance on Third-Party Tools: Updates to hybrid apps can cause compatibility issues, and you can be dependent on external factors that are outside your control, which could negatively impact the app’s functionality. 

The Bottom Line 

Choosing to make native vs hybrid app depends on your needs and resources. Native apps excel in performance and offer great user experience, but it usually comes at a higher cost. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, offer a faster and more affordable option, but it can come with a lot of limitations. Consider your apps complexity, target audience, and budget to make the right choice. 

Get in touch with us so we can help you figure out your app development needs. 

 

Darren-Clark-dazlab-founder

Darren Clark

Dazlab Founder

“I started Dazlab because there’s a huge knowledge deficit between people who want software built and those that build the software. I watched again and again as non-tech product owners with great ideas overpaid for complicated solutions to simple problems, or underpaid only to end up with crummy products with little chance of lasting. Tech doesn’t have to be that way. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it well or what’s the point?. Even now, 20 years later I’m still heavily involved in the onboarding process with every one of my clients.”

Darren Clark

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