Hybrid vs. Native App Development: What’s the Difference?

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Hybrid vs. Native App Development: What’s the Difference?

It’s that age-old question again. Hybrid app development or native app development?

Friends or Seinfeld?

Beatles or Rolling Stones?

Shakespeare or E.L. James?

Sometimes questions just don’t have simple answers, and this one is no different. Each one has great benefits and a few pitfalls, so let’s take a more in-depth look into the difference between native apps and hybrid apps.

What Exactly Is a Native App?

Well, the easy answer is that a native application is one that is designed for use on a specific operating system.

Using Apple and Android as examples of devices having two different operating systems, a native app for listening to podcasts on the iPhone would be Apple Podcasts, and a native app for listening to podcasts on an Android would be the Google Podcasts app.

Native apps are designed to run seamlessly with the specific OS, creating a very smooth application experience in each case. Anything that is preinstalled when you turn on your phone or tablet is a native app, but any app that is written to work on a device’s platform is native.

So What Does That Make a Hybrid App?

A hybrid application, consequently, is an app that is designed to work across multiple operating systems.

Examples of hybrid apps are most things that require downloading from an app store or a web browser. For example, if you have Instagram installed on your phone, that is a hybrid app as it is designed for use with any kind of operating system in mind.

Basically, they are web-based applications done up to look and run like native apps on your device.

Native App Development vs. Hybrid App Development

Native Upside & Downside

Native applications are typically a bit smoother as they were developed with a device’s functionality in mind.

At the forefront of the development of a native app would be how the app uses memory and battery, how it would feel when the user is operating the app, and data protection and security.

The biggest drawback of native app development is the time that is required to develop the app for each operating system.

The different code base for each device is problematic for release and update schedules and requires a company to have employees with different skill sets for coding on different OS’s.

Hybrid Upside & Downside

Hybrid applications are made using web code like HTML, CSS, and Javascript and work across all operating systems. Running one code across all platforms allows app developers to write the code once, saving a great deal of time.

In terms of user experience, hybrid apps run and feel the same across different platforms. If a user switches devices, the app works in basically the same way.

In some cases, however, due to the lack of device-specific development, a hybrid app may not perform as well as a native app. This is especially true with applications that require a lot of graphics, mostly games.

Who Wins?

In this case, there is no winner. It’s more of an apples and oranges argument. It’s really how you want the app to perform on a device versus the amount of time and money spent to achieve that goal.

Decide for yourself, then contact us with all of your development needs.