When considering Mobile Application development, it is important to be familiar with the three different options available. The three types of Mobile Applications – Native Apps, Hybrid Apps, and Responsive Web Apps. Here, we will be breaking down some of the pros and cons of each type of app. At the end of this blog, you will find a chart of all the valuable information.
A Native application means the application is written for use on a specific device such as iPhone or Android. This means the application cannot be used across devices with different operating systems.
A Native App runs on a single mobile operating system such as iOS. This means you can completely customize your layout/interface, taking advantage of native features, and give the user the most fundamental experience for their device. You may also utilize features such as:
- Geo Location
- Metrics (speed, altitude, direction of travel)
Utilizing multiple attributes does not hinder the speed of the app because it’s designed to conform to that specific platform. This along with other factors such as the ability to work offline in most instances will give the user a great sense of compatibility with the app.
A Native app cannot run on a device that doesn’t employ the same operating system. That means apps built specifically for an iPhone run only on an iPhone/iPad. If you would like an app in the Google Play store as well, you need to build a separate app. Each app requires its own codebase.
Because of this, companies will devote more time and resources to updating multiple versions of one app. This may mean double or triple the cost to tend to a single application.
On the other side of the spectrum, a Hybrid App is written in one code base which is capable of being deployed to multiple devices. One application will work seamlessly across all devices with Android and iOS operating systems.
Having one code base across multiple devices is a clear advantage. This means you will save resources and time (cost) to multiple applications for your users. The beauty here is that if the app is written well, most users can’t distinguish the difference between the Hybrid and Native apps…and frankly, some users don’t care.
While Hybrid Apps may seem like an obvious choice due to cost savings, the level of functionality required of your app should influence your decision. If your app is complex requiring advanced interface systems, building Native Apps is a better choice because Hybrid apps can only handle so much complexity.
Our last type of mobile application is not really an application, but a responsive website. A responsive website is a website built to visually respond to the size of the device it is presented on. The website adjusts its look-and-feel based on if it’s a tablet or phone.
A responsive website can be a better alternative for businesses looking to increase website traffic and views of their page. 52.6% of all web searches are mobile, so gearing up your site for today’s mobile capabilities could be the turning point that drives your business to its success.
While being accessible on all devices, a mobile version of your website will give users a simplified and polished version of your more intensive desktop version, while still offering the same capabilities.
If it’s important to your business to monetize the access, a mobile responsive site won’t suffice because it can’t be accessed via an app store. Also, a website requires an internet connection. While access to connectivity is becoming more available, any lack of internet access can cause problems for users and developers alike.
To deliver the right user experience, you need to choose the type of mobile app that is right for you. Learning about the basics prepares you for the next step of your journey, which is deciding the path of development that is best for your business.
SphereGen has more than 10 years of experience helping customers with their web and mobile apps. If you are considering building a Responsive Web or Mobile App, we would love to talk with you!
Learn about the differences between adaptive design and responsive design: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/adaptive-vs-responsive-design
Examining the case for native apps for smartwatches – http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/09/26/native-apps-for-watchos-2-arent-perfect-but-theyre-far-better-than-what-we-had/
A punchier comparison of native vs hybrid – http://www.netxtra.net/insights/web-apps-vs-native-apps-fight-fight-fight/