In 2020, consumers downloaded 240 billion mobile apps, making businesses over 318 billion U.S. dollars. And these numbers are only trending upwards.
So we can safely say the app market is hot. There is a lot of potential for entrepreneurship in the industry.
However, businesses are pumping out apps to supply it because of all that demand. In the first quarter of 2021, Google Play had three and a half million apps, and the Apple App Store had 2.22 million apps.
One crucial decision is which platform you want your app on, so we’re going to break down the options and the pros and cons.
What Is a Native App?
A native app is developed for a specific platform, such as iOS or Android.
Native refers to the fact that the app has been developed for use with the targeted platform’s programming language or development environment. As a result, they typically offer features unavailable to cross-platform apps.
Native apps are written using the platform’s programming language and are typically installed through an application store. The native app can only be installed on the device it was made for and cannot be installed on other devices. This means they can take advantage of certain features:
- device hardware
- access to device functions
- and more
Pros and cons
Native apps have many advantages over web-based applications.
For example, they can be more easily updated and deployed to users. They offer a better user experience because they are designed specifically for the device or operating system on which they will be run.
Native apps are built with the specific operating system’s API and take advantage of features that would not be possible in a web browser. They can extend the capabilities of the device and operating system.
However, native apps also have some disadvantages.
They can be expensive to develop, requiring a significant amount of time to build. They also take up more storage space on the device than web apps or mobile websites, so they’re more in danger of being deleted to save space.
They cannot be accessed from any device (e.g., a desktop computer), and to use them, you need to download them from an app store.
What Is a Cross-Platform App?
In contrast to the native app, a cross-platform app is a software application that can be used on multiple operating systems.
The term is often used to refer to an app that can be downloaded on both Android and iOS devices. But that also includes desktop computers running Windows, Mac, or Linux.
So while a cross-platform application may have a different user interface (UI) and features on each platform, it shares one codebase.
This eliminates the need for separate development teams and helps developers avoid the extra time and cost of developing an app for two different platforms.
Pros and cons
Cross-platform apps are an excellent way for app developers to reach a wider audience. They are also more cost-effective, as the developer doesn’t have to create and maintain separate versions of the same app.
- Cross-platform apps can reach a wider audience.
- They are cheaper in the long run as they require less development work than developing native apps for multiple platforms.
- They can be used on different platforms with no significant problems.
- They allow users to access the same app on both their desktop and mobile devices, making it more convenient.
- Developers can focus on developing one app instead of two or more.
However, cross-platform apps still have downsides, such as a lack of features, incompatibility with other platforms, and poor performance. One of the most significant disadvantages is that these apps are not optimized for any one platform. This means that they will not work as well on some platforms as on others.
- Cross-platform apps usually have a less polished UI than native apps.
- They do not work as well on mobile devices compared with native applications.
- They also have a higher probability of crashing because of bugs in the code.
- Issues with app fragmentation, where the user experience for each platform is different from the other due to varying screen sizes, resolutions, and input methods.
What Is a Hybrid App?
Since they use web languages, it’s easier to develop them. In addition, web developers are more comfortable with these languages than with native ones.
Similar to cross-platform apps, hybrid apps can run on Android and iOS devices and share a codebase.
However, the similarities end there. Hybrid apps run Web-View Containers. They act like an offline web page, and the UI elements come from the code.
Pros and Cons
As a combination of native and web technologies, hybrid apps have the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Hybrid apps are often preferred for their speed and ease of development because they require less programming than native or cross-platform apps. They also put less demand on a phone’s resources than either of the other two.
The disadvantages are that the performance isn’t as good as a native app, there’s no access to device capabilities like the camera or GPS, and there’s no offline support.
Which To Choose?
If you want your app to stand out from the competition, you’ll have to consider carefully every decision you make. You’ll have to assess your resources and goals.
Native apps are best for those who have more resources and time. Cross-platform is for those who want their apps to be like native ones but to cost less and have a further reach. And hybrid is ideal for those looking to get a product out as quickly as possible.
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