If you’re a business owner who has developed an app, you may be wondering which of the three app types–native, hybrid, or progressive web app–is best for your business. If you’re not familiar with these terms, this guide will help you understand each type of app and how they can help your business succeed. So, let’s get started!
Native Apps vs Hybrid Apps vs PWAs
Let’s start comparison among these 3 app types:
>> Native Apps
Building native mobile apps for your business can have significant advantages, in addition to being an important aspect of your overall marketing strategy.
Advantages of Native Mobile Apps Development
Here are five essential benefits of native mobile apps development that you should consider when making the decision to build them yourself or hire someone else to do it for you.
A native app is a fully-functional mobile application that can be installed on a mobile device. They’re apps that have been built using a particular operating system’s programming language, which is why they’re called native apps.
Native apps boast better performance than web-based or hybrid applications because they have unrestricted access to an operating system’s resources, such as its file system and sensors. In addition, there are no limitations as to what native apps can do.
For example, if you open up Safari on your iPhone or iPad and try to watch a video in full-screen mode – it won’t work – but if you use a video player app that was developed using iOS’ programming language, it will play full-screen.
The biggest benefit of native mobile apps development is flexibility. There are no limits when you develop your own app, especially when it comes to adding functionality, implementing new features, or connecting different data sources. And while it’s not cheap to create an app, you don’t have to worry about external factors like changes in platform policies or feature restrictions. As long as your users can access your app on its respective marketplace, there are no limitations on what you can do with it.
3) Lower Cost
Native mobile apps are typically less expensive to create and maintain. When you build a native app for a specific platform, you only need to create one version, which means no extra work. Plus, your existing users can seamlessly download updates.
Cross-platform apps have to go through an approval process for each new update—and they cost more because developers have to code each version from scratch. In fact, with cross-platform tools like PhoneGap or Titanium, it takes about as much time and money as a native app does just to get one version live. This is not sustainable in any way if you’re looking at multiple versions for different platforms.
4) Platform Specific Features
There are many additional features that can be added to an app through native app development, but not all apps use them. For example, Facebook uses platform-specific features like Touch ID and Apple Pay to allow users access to their accounts quickly and easily.
These features only work on iOS devices, so they would not be available for Android or Windows phones. While apps created with cross-platform tools will be available for all mobile devices, they won’t have these platform-specific features included in them. With native mobile apps development, you are able to take advantage of these great benefits while also creating a higher quality product.
By designing specifically for each platform you are able to create an experience that is unique for each type of device it will run on.
5) Upgrades are Free!
One major benefit to developing native apps for different mobile platforms is that updates to your code are seamless and simple. There’s no need to re-compile your app, no need to resubmit it for approval, and no need to worry about breaking something because you fixed a bug. You just push out an update through Xcode or Android Studio (or whichever IDE you use) and release it right onto users’ phones. It really doesn’t get any easier than that!
Disadvantages of Native App Development
Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks of native app development that not many people are aware of. Here are five disadvantages of native mobile app development to consider before embarking on this journey.
With native apps, you’re constantly updating your codebase to ensure everything works properly with each update. For example, if Apple or Google updates their operating system, it’s up to you to update your app as well.
That means a lot of work for you and a lot of money paid out in testing and retesting costs. If you’re not constantly monitoring your app and fixing bugs/issues, then that leaves room for hackers to find vulnerabilities in your app that can result in leaks or even total loss of data.
To avoid these problems, consider using a hybrid framework that allows you to maintain one code base across multiple platforms so there’s less work involved as technology evolves over time.
Native mobile app development can be expensive for small businesses, especially when developers need to create multiple versions of an app that will work on multiple operating systems.
There are also training costs, licensing fees, and monthly maintenance costs to consider. On top of that, you’ll also need to hire support staff (or figure out how to do it yourself) once your application is released because users are bound to have questions or run into issues.
Finally, if you want your app on every platform out there today—Android, iOS, and Windows Phone—you’ll have to develop them separately with each native codebase rather than creating cross-platform apps using something like PhoneGap.
3) Multipurpose Platform
For many, developing an app for every platform (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry) can seem like a daunting task. Although it may seem like you’re providing your users with more options (and allowing them to access your app on more devices), you’re actually spreading yourself too thin.
Your time and resources are limited—it makes no sense to have multiple development teams working on separate platforms. Not only will it take longer to launch each platform, but consumers are more likely to be confused by how similar or different each platform seems.
It also means that updating one version of your app could drastically change what’s available on other platforms.
4) Device Fragmentation
It’s no secret that users can and will use their mobile devices for tasks and applications that you may not have even considered. It’s also true that they will access your app using operating systems and hardware variants, not in your control.
However, having to support dozens of different devices, OS versions, and screen sizes with minimal development cost makes native app development as an option more challenging than many think. In fact, as developers note, it often makes more sense to build a single app across multiple platforms rather than build separate apps on each platform.
5) Download Requirement
Requiring users to download an app in order to access your product and services, and then forcing them to log into that app in order to actually use your product or service is terrible for the user experience.
Even if it results in higher retention rates, that’s still pretty bad. Plus, it’s not 2015 anymore—many of us are on multiple devices throughout the day. Native apps are completely inflexible to these multi-device lifestyles.
The new paradigm? Responsive web design (RWD). RWD allows you to create one site that responds dynamically to different screen sizes, browsers, or operating systems—no download required! That means more flexibility for you, greater ease for your users, and no hurdles when switching between devices throughout their day.
>> Hybrid Apps
Advantages of Hybrid App Development
Learn about the advantages of hybrid app development and why it’s perfect for both developers and businesses alike!
1) It’s Cost Effective
Hybrid applications are generally created using open source technology, which makes them significantly cheaper to develop than native apps. This means you can get more bang for your buck when it comes to designing and developing your app, which in turn could mean a potentially higher return on investment. If there’s one advantage that should never be underestimated, it’s cost effectiveness.
2) It Has Low Maintenance Costs
If you want to be able to create an app that can update in real-time, then you need to use a hybrid app development company. These kinds of apps are becoming more and more popular because they save money when it comes to maintenance costs. This doesn’t mean that you will have no costs in maintaining your app, but rather that if it does need any changes or updates, then these changes can be done without having to rely on multiple people for doing so.
3) It Has Accessibility to Multiple Platforms
4) It Can Be Deployed Faster
Hybrid apps are built using web technologies that developers already know how to work with. This allows them to create a hybrid app quickly, which means it can be deployed faster than other types of apps—sometimes in less than a week. This can be especially beneficial for smaller businesses that need to get an app out sooner rather than later.
5) It Provides Enhanced User Experience
If you want to create a mobile app, especially if you’re targeting multiple platforms like iOS and Android, consider using hybrid technology to deliver an enhanced user experience. Since hybrid apps are built with HTML5 code, they’re able to dynamically serve up only that code that a device needs for a faster load time.
They also provide a better experience because they can be cached on different devices, while native apps must be rebuilt every time. A native app also has limitations when it comes to security and storage capacity.
Disadvantages of Hybrid Apps
Even though the hybrid app development process can sometimes be more efficient than creating native apps from scratch, it’s not without its drawbacks. Read on to learn about the top five disadvantages of hybrid app development so you can weigh these potential problems against the benefits of using this approach when building your next app.
1) Hybrid Apps are Harder to Scale
With native apps, you can build and maintain a single app that functions on all mobile platforms. However, with hybrid apps, developers need to build and maintain multiple versions of an app for each mobile platform (the iOS and Android versions of Instagram is a great example). This increases development costs as well as technical complexity – meaning hybrid apps can be harder to scale.
2) Hybrid Apps Are Less Secure
When it comes to mobile security, hybrid apps are generally less secure than their native counterparts. A 2015 report from Skycure revealed that nearly 60% of all mobile app vulnerabilities involve attacks against hybrid applications. If you’re dealing with sensitive data, you should go with a native solution to reduce your risk of data theft and other security breaches.
3) Hybrid Apps Are Harder to Update
Hybrid apps, since they’re essentially a mashup of web and native technologies, can take more time to update than native applications. This is because you need to wait for an update to be approved by both Apple’s and Google’s app stores. Then you must wait again while your users update their respective copies of your hybrid app. If you want to avoid these delays and headaches entirely, stick with native apps.
4) Hybrid Apps Are Harder to Test
Developing hybrid apps involves creating multiple versions of your code and functionality—both for development and testing purposes. This makes it harder to implement and test fixes, as it requires you to be on multiple platforms at once. And if your app goes live on one platform first, like iOS, then you’ll need to recreate that functionality again for Android. It’s just another thing that can go wrong with a hybrid app.
5) Hybrids Are Harder to Design
When developing hybrid apps, developers must create two separate app components: a native app and a web app. This means twice as much work designing both portions, which can make hybrids more expensive to produce. Hybrid apps also put much more strain on your device’s hardware, which makes them drain your battery faster than a traditional mobile application.
>> Progressive Web Apps
A progressive web app, or PWA, is an application that uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience to users. PWA’s are useful because they give users access to your app when they might not otherwise have it—without requiring them to install an app in the traditional sense, if at all possible.
Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
Below are 5 proven benefits of progressive web apps, including better user engagement and retention, no-hassle access across platforms and browsers, and more.
1) Progressive Web Apps are easier to use
On mobile, PWAs provide a much better browsing experience than native apps. With their ability to load quickly and easily from any browser on your phone, they’re far more convenient than having to dig up an app and install it each time you want to use it.
For example, you could be surfing Instagram and come across a really great photo that you want to keep. Rather than heading over to Google Images and trying to find a lower-resolution version of that image for your desktop wallpaper, just tap on it with your phone’s browser.
2) Progressive Web Apps load fast
One big benefit of PWA’s is that they load quickly. Unlike native mobile apps, they don’t have to wait for an app store to download and install them on your device. Instead, they can just appear almost instantly from a link. This benefit alone makes them a great alternative to apps that users have to consciously add in order to their devices or browsers.
3) Progressive Web Apps can be installed on your phone
Progressive Web Apps have a lot going for them. For starters, they can be installed on your phone, just like a normal app—unlike other mobile-optimized sites that can only live in a browser. Second, they work offline: After you’ve visited Progressive Web App content once (if you’re connected to Wi-Fi), it will save cached versions of that content.
4) Progressive Web Apps have been proven to generate more leads
According to a recent Google study, Progressive Web Apps generate 12% more conversions than regular mobile websites. They also get seven times more page views and load three times faster than native apps. And according to Jeff Bailey, Head of PWA at Uber, The average time spent by users on PWAs is 1:15 mins, vs 11 secs for native iOS and Android apps.
5) Mobile Optimized websites have been proven to generate more leads
If your company has a mobile-optimized website, you’re likely to see more sales than if your website isn’t optimized for mobile. According to BIA/Kelsey, websites that are optimized for mobile generate 67% more leads than their counterparts. This is because consumers prefer to interact with businesses via their phones rather than their computers.
Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are becoming more and more popular these days, despite their several disadvantages to conventional web development. Here are the most important five reasons you should avoid them if at all possible.
1) Progressive Web Apps are not installed on your phone
The first major disadvantage of Progressive Web Apps is that they are not installed on your phone. There are, of course, benefits to them not being installed on your phone. For example, you can easily install it on multiple devices or reinstall it if something happens to your device.
But if you’re someone who likes having everything stored in one place—your home screen—then installing a Progressive Web App may seem like an inconvenience. With more and more developers hopping on board with these web apps, they could easily take over as one of our primary app stores—after all, why would you need to download several different apps when one will do?
2) Smaller User Base
Google is trying to convince developers that building Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) is a good idea, but it’s an uphill battle. Right now, only 0.3% of users are on ChromeOS or Android browsers capable of using PWAs. On desktop, 2% of users are on Windows 10 capable of using PWAs, and another 5% are on MacOS Sierra capable of using PWAs.
3) No Offline Functionality
While many PWA advocates might see a lack of offline functionality as an advantage, it can still be a major drawback for people who depend on internet access to do their job. There’s a reason that Google Drive will never be a Progressive Web App: Some workers just need to be able to work when there is no internet connection. If you plan on using progressive web apps in place of native apps, it’s important to remember that there are some users who will not benefit from them.
4) Limited Functionality
Progressive web apps don’t work like native apps and they can’t do everything that a typical app can. They also lack common features, such as in-app purchases, push notifications, and offline capabilities.
For example, your Progressive Web App will not be able to access device features such as geolocation or camera without user permission; if you want to add any of these capabilities to your Progressive Web App, you’ll need to add them manually.
If you decide to use Progressive Web Apps for your business or organization, make sure that your users will be able to accomplish whatever tasks they need using only its limited functionality.
5) Low Adoption Rate
Progressive web apps aren’t really a thing yet. In fact, most people probably don’t even know what they are. Low adoption means there isn’t much demand for them right now, so it might be difficult to get users to download one of your PWA apps instead of their favorite native app.
Choosing between a native, hybrid, or PWA is not always an easy decision. Your choice will be based on your business needs. Each one has its own set of pros and cons that you need to decide on for your own project or app. An app development company can help you find the best option for your business by analysing your business and budget carefully. Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!