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Mobile app development renders benefits galore. A mobile application helps you accomplish improved customer engagement, escalated conversion rates, greater customer loyalty, and a lot more. However, to reap these benefits you have to sail through the turbulent waters of the challenges associated with the mobile app development process. The first and perhaps the most daunting challenge you have to wrestle with is choosing one out of the three types of mobile apps available in the market.
Native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps are the three types of mobile apps you have to choose between. As all of them offer some lucrative benefits, picking up one is often a perplexing task. However, when you know which type of app is best suited under which scenarios, making a decision becomes a piece of cake.
Here, we’ll take a deep plunge into the differences between the three types of mobile apps and beacon you toward making an informed decision.
What is a Native Web App?
Native apps are exclusively designed for specific operating systems such as Android, iOS, and so on. You can download these apps from app stores such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store and install them directly into your device. Once the installation is complete, you can see native apps appear as icons on your device through which you can access them anytime without any hassle. These applications also exhibit offline functionality.
Further, these apps can unconditionally utilize device-specific software and hardware as they are seamlessly compatible with the operating system they have been created for. Hence, they can effortlessly access the device’s camera, microphone, contact list, and other features. Pokémon GO, WhatsApp, and Spotify are some examples of native apps.
The Technology Employed in Native Apps
You can utilize different programming languages to create native apps such as Java, Scala, Swift, Kotlin, Ruby, Python, Corona, C++, and PHP. As Android and iOS are the most popular operating systems today, it is imperative to mention that Java and Kotlin are the most preferred programming languages for Android mobile apps. Whereas, Swift is the main programming language for iOS mobile app development.
The Enormous Benefits Associated With Native Apps
1. Phenomenal security
Native apps transcend web apps and hybrid apps in terms of security. To be a little more specific, developers are obliged to follow the security guidelines issued by a particular platform while creating an app for it. Besides, app stores thoroughly review native apps before publishing them. This implies that a mobile application doesn’t get published unless it exhibits top-notch security.
2. Faster performance
Native apps are extremely fast and offer incredible performance as they are built and optimized for specific operating systems. On top of it, these apps are developed using platform-specific programming languages and APIs which equips them to deliver fabulous performance without fail.
3. Access to device-specific features
An enormous advantage associated with building native apps is that you get access to device-specific features such as a camera, GPS, accelerometer, and microphone.
4. Visibility on app stores
Native apps get published on app stores such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store which makes it easier for potential users to discover them. Otherwise, it is quite challenging for brands to get organic visitors for their mobile apps.
5. Intuitive user interface
As native apps are developed for specific platforms, developers have to comply with the user interface (UI) requirements. Consequently, these mobile applications possess an intuitive user interface that users can easily navigate through.
Some Drawbacks of Native Apps
As discussed earlier, native apps are exclusively created for particular operating systems such as Android or iOS, depending on the requirements. Given that, if you envision releasing your mobile application for multiple operating systems, you’ll have to design separate apps for them. Hence, building a native app for a diverse range of operating systems is taxing and time-consuming.
Moreover, if you limit yourself to a particular platform, you also limit yourself to its target audience. For instance, if your app is compatible with iOS, your reach will be limited to Apple users.
2. Higher expenses
Creating native apps is generally more time-consuming which leads to higher expenses as compared to building hybrid apps or web apps. Besides, if you plan to release your app on multiple platforms, you’ll have to create separate applications for each of them, which further increases the cost of development.
3. Requirement of experienced developers
App stores such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store follow a stringent review process before publishing native apps. Hence, it is imperative for you to hire proficient and experienced developers to sail through the review processes which is a bit expensive. Besides, finding accomplished developers is a daunting task.
What is a Web App?
Web apps are basically websites disguised as mobile apps. You can access them through multitudinous web browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera Browser. Unlike native apps, you cannot download and install web apps on your device.
Even when web apps present you the option for installation, all that happens is that your browser bookmarks the website which then appears as an icon on your device’s home screen. Every time you click on the icon, you can effortlessly access the web app. Gmail, Twitter, and Starbucks are some examples of applications that are available as web apps.
Now, here are some factors that distinguish web apps from native apps and hybrid apps.
Technology Employed in Web Apps
The Benefits of Web Apps
1. Greater accessibility
Web apps open up worlds of possibilities for you when it comes to being accessible to users. They can use your web app from all types of browsers and the operating system barrier doesn’t act as a hindrance.
2. Lower costs
Building web apps is a budget-friendly alternative to developing native apps. You have to incur lower costs while creating web apps as the development time is less. Furthermore, you don’t have to build separate applications for various operating systems which again saves you money. On top of it, these apps require less maintenance which is again cost-effective.
3. Simple maintenance
Concerning maintenance, web apps do not require much. As they use the same code across all browsers, you can fix it for bugs and issues and the changes will get reflected in all browsers irrespective of the device operating system. This saves precious time, effort, and money.
4. Negligible user maintenance
Unlike native apps, users do not have to update web applications manually by downloading the upgrades from app stores. Your developers can update your web app and the users don’t have to do anything at all.
5. No review process involved
As you don’t have to publish your web app on app stores, you do not have to undergo any stringent review process. This implies that you can release your app in a hassle-free manner.
Some Drawbacks of Web Apps
1. Slower in comparison to native apps
Web apps are slower in comparison with native apps. The user interface is also less intuitive and interactive, which offers an average user experience.
2. Lack of uniform experience
All browsers do not possess the potential to support all types of functionalities possessed by a web app. This results in a non-uniform user experience across different web browsers which is undesirable.
3. Lack of offline functionality
Web apps rely on browsers. Hence, an internet connection is an indispensable requirement for them to function well. Even if some web apps offer offline mode, they cannot provide any new data to the users unless an internet connection is available. Users can only access what they last accessed through the internet.
4. No visibility on app stores
You cannot publish web apps on app stores. Consequently, it is quite challenging to attract organic traffic
What are Hybrid Apps?
Hybrid apps are web apps that feel more like native apps. You can easily install them on your device and access them whenever you want. They offer responsive design and great performance. They can also access some native platform features such as a camera, contact list, and calendar. You can also use these apps when you are offline but they cannot deliver fresh content without the internet. Uber, Twitter, Instagram, and Discord are some examples of hybrid apps.
Further, you’ll be astounded to know that unlike web apps, you can download hybrid apps from app stores such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Now, let’s dig into the things that distinguish hybrid apps from native apps and web apps.
Technology Employed in Hybrid Apps
Hybrid apps are developed through an amalgam of native APIs and web technologies. They are often built with Ionic, HTML5, Objective, Swift, and C.
The Benefits of Hybrid Mobile App
1. Single code base
Hybrid apps are built with a single code base which makes them compatible with both Android and iOS. Hence, you don’t have to invest your time and money in building separate mobile applications for Android and iOS.
2. Low cost
As hybrid apps have a single code base, they are easier to develop and consume relatively less time. Hence, developers charge less for creating hybrid apps which makes them perfect for tight budgets.
3. Visibility on app stores
Hybrid apps can be published on app stores which makes them easily discoverable.
4. Access to internal API
As hybrid apps are equipped with native app-like functionalities, they possess the power to access the internal device API. Hence, they can utilize device features such as cameras, contact lists, location, and others.
Some Drawbacks of Hybrid Mobile Apps
1. Slow loading
Developers ought to write relatively long codes while creating hybrid apps to make them compatible with multiple platforms. As a result, these apps become heavier which can lead to slow loading as compared to native apps.
2. Taxing testing procedures
Testing a hybrid app is a daunting process. Developers have to test them for various platforms and ensure a smooth experience for the users.
Let’s Wrap Up
In a nutshell, if you aspire to build an app as soon as possible and that too at an affordable price, it is best to opt for a web app. If you have a tight budget but aspire to release a native-like app, it is best to go for a hybrid app. However, if top-notch security, phenomenal performance, and an intuitive user interface are your preferences, developing a native app will be the optimal decision for you.
Have some questions to ask? At LN Webworks, we possess a proficient team of mobile app developers that can help you know the different types of mobile apps in even more detail. We can also create a phenomenal native, web, or hybrid app for you depending on your preferences. So, without any second thoughts, contact us today.
Deepak has a close to decade of experience working as a brand and digital designer. His experiences with visual design, web design, print design, and animation have established him as a useful force wherever he is able to serve.