Nowadays most of mobile devices run on iOS and Android operating systems. According to Statista, the worldwide OS market share in the second quarter of 2017 amounts to 87.7% for Android, 12.1% – for iOS, and 0.2% – for other. Anyway, such statistics data should not be a ground for building custom mobile applications exclusively for Android devices. In fact, Android along with iOS OSes have own particular aspects that should be noted before choosing a platform for mobile app crafting.

We have passed a wealth of information in the review regarding the ins and outs of native and cross-platform development. If you want to tell these kinds of mobile development apart, our article “Native vs. Cross-Platform: Which to choose?” will help you get wise about the pros and cons of each approach to mobile app building and make your choice for the most fitting one.

Choosing a mobile OS

As previously noted, Android and iOS are the most popular mobile OS around the globe. iOS is an operating system developed and maintained by Apple. It is known to be a closed ecosystem which supports only own devices such as iPhones and iPads. In such a way, hardware along with software for iOS get under control of the Apple universe.

Unlike iOS, Android is a far more open platform for mobile development.  It is an open-source OS crafted and supported by Google. This way, any developer can utilize Android code to run a device without restraint.

Since Android and iOS have different approaches to software development policies, their devices cannot work together. In such a manner, a mobile application designed for iOS won’t run on Android device and vice versa.

You may get confused when seeing a mobile application which has the same look and user experience both on Android and iOS devices. In reality, there are two applications built for each platform separately. Thus, before starting a development process, you have to specify first the most suitable platform for your mobile application. In this coverage, we are going to outline the strong and weak points of native, web, and hybrid mobile app building.

Going native

 

In bare outlines, going native entails app development for one particular platform using a native programming language. This way software developers use Swift or Objective-C for iOS mobile crafting, and Java for Android apps. Besides, Apple and Google offer own tools, frameworks, libraries, and SDKs that help a developer create native applications flawlessly. For instance, Xcode and Android Studio are integrated development environments used for iOS and Android mobile app building.

In fact, the most of popular mobile applications are native. The reason for this can be explained by the wide range of advantages native applications provide.

Native app advantages

  • Native apps provide the fastest and the most responsive user experience.
  • They allow access to device in-built features such as camera, microphone, accelerometer, etc.
  • Native apps offer push-notifications option which allow users to keep abreast of current app activities. When a user gets notifications regularly, he/she is more likely to get back to the app continually.
  • Native apps allow UI/UX to comply with platform conventions. This way, you can build a truly user-friendly app for a particular platform.

Nevertheless, a native app building may entail several issues making a development process complicated.

Native app disadvantages

  • A native development assumes using more than one code base when creating custom apps for several platforms.
  • It is a pricey and a time-consuming process. Since most software developers specialize in development for one particular platform, it will cost you significantly more to hire two developers (or even two teams) who will craft an app separately for Android and iOS devices. As a result, the overall development process will cost you cost a bundle.

Opting for cross-platform development

 

When talking about the cross-platform development, we usually imply web and hybrid app building. Generally saying, both solutions assume creating mobile applications compatible with various kinds of mobile devices. Nevertheless, they have a significant difference in the ways of realization.

Web apps  

A web app is an application that provides access via a web browser such as Safari, Chrome or Firefox. Moreover, web apps don’t take memory on user’s device. The most of them are created using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Besides, there are no standardized SDKs for web app development. As a whole, web development process is easy and quick. On the downside, this type of apps cannot offer a rich UI/UX that are essential for successful mobile app development.

Web apps advantages

 

  • Compatible with all mobile OSes;
  • Simple in maintenance;
  • One common codebase;
  • Budget-friendly development.

Web apps disadvantages

  • Run exclusively in web-environment;
  • May entail security issues;
  • Don’t ruin in offline mode;
  • Have limited scope of UX-features.

 

Hybrid apps

 

If you cannot choose between going native or web, there is only one solution for you – a hybrid app. Like the web applications, hybrid apps are created with the help of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript but with one distinctive feature. They run in simplified browser component – called webview. This way you get a native-looking application with a web app inside. Going hybrid is the most optimal option for resource-light development. In case you want to create a simplified version of your product and let users test it, it is worth building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). In such a way, a hybrid application can come in handy.

Hybrid app advantages

  • Your developer team manages only one codebase that allows building one mobile app for several platforms.
  • A hybrid app can be easier scaled to another platform.
  • Using one codebase in development may save you money and time.
  • With the help of special tools, a hybrid app offers access to device inbuilt features.

Hybrid app disadvantages

  • Since a hybrid application loads in a webview, it provides a significantly slowlier performance compared to a native app.
  • A hybrid app cannot replicate the whole scope of UX features that a native app has. Since many users remain loyal to Apple or Android devices for years, they do know how the apps should run on these platforms. For this reason, the developers try to customize a hybrid app that requires high skill sets and quite a lot of time. As a result, the expenses for hybrid app development are relatively similar to native app building.

Summing up

We have outlined the main features of native and cross-platform development along with their pros and cons. To help you make a right choice, we would like to suggest you some key factors that should be considered when opting for a development platform:

 

  • Platform support
  • UX complexity
  • Performance speed
  • Security
  • Use of inbuilt device features
  • Maintenance complexities
  • Development timescale
  • Estimated costs.