Hybrid vs Native Mobile Apps Who wins

Hybrid vs. Native Mobile Apps: Who wins?

HTML5, along with CSS3 and JavaScript, enables developers to build cross-platform mobile apps rapidly. The developers can further write the web-based app once, and use the same code base to deploy the app across multiple mobile apps. But the HTML5 mobile apps cannot take advantage of camera, calendar, geolocation, and other native features of the mobile apps. Also, these apps are not effective protecting user data from emerging security threats.

That is why; many developers embed HTML5 mobile apps into a native container to overcome these shortcomings and make the apps compete with native mobile apps. Despite being developed with commonly used web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, the hybrid apps are distributed through platform-specific app stores. Also, these apps need to be hosted inside native mobile apps to access the native functionality of individual mobile devices.

But a gradual increase is being noted in the number of companies switching from hybrid mobile apps to platform-specific mobile apps. In 2012, Facebook switched from hybrid mobile app to native mobile app citing a number of reasons including performance and speed. According to VentureBeat.com, “Facebook’s Zuckerberg: ‘The biggest mistake we’ve made as a company is betting on HTML5 over native.’” There are also a number of reasons why more and more enterprises are opting for native mobile apps.

Why Many Companies are switching from Hybrid Apps to Native Mobile Apps?

Enhanced Performance
As highlighted by many surveys, a large percentage of users nowadays uninstall app if it is slow. Most businesses switched from hybrid apps to native apps to avail enhanced performance. Likewise, a large number of mobile games also adopt native approach to avail extremely low latency levels. Hence, an enterprise can always opt for native mobile apps to keep the users interested and engaged in the longer run. That is why; a large percentage of modern users prefer native apps to hybrid apps.

Access to Native Features and Functionality
Each native app runs on the operating system of the mobile device. Hence, it can access and take advantage of the native functionality and hardware of the mobile device fully. The feature makes it easier for developers to create robust mobile apps that access address book, GPS, camera and other native features of each device. The accessibility further enables programmers to add SMS messaging, push notifications, background data downloading and similar functionalities to the mobile app. The access to native features of the mobile device further enhances the app’s overall functionality, performance and user experience.

Integrated Look and Feel
Most users nowadays love mobile apps that seem like an integral part of the mobile device and platform. In addition to accessing native functionality of the mobile device, native apps further inherit the user interface of the mobile operating system. Hence, it becomes easier for developers to make the native apps appear like an integral part of the mobile operating system. The integrated look and feel of native apps further keeps the users engaged and generates more revenue.

Option to Avail Native SDK and APIs
While developing native mobile apps, the developers can take advantage of various software development kit (SDK), application programming interface (API) and other development tools provided by Apple, Google or Microsoft. For instance, the developers can avail native APIs to deliver faster graphics and create fluid animations without putting extra time and effort. But they have to rely in third-party frameworks and development tools to embed HTML5 apps into native containers.

Take Advantage of Push Notifications
Unlike hybrid apps, native apps enable enterprises to take advantage of push notifications. The publishers can use push notifications to get the attention of users, and convey the updated content, promotional offers, and other information efficiently. They can further use push notifications as a tools to interact with users and seduce them to return to the app at frequent intervals.

Deliver Richer User Experience
Nowadays, the user experience delivered by each mobile app affects its popularity and profitability directly. A number of studies have highlighted that native mobile apps deliver better user experience that hybrid mobile apps. Also, the native apps are effective in keeping the users engaged. The enhanced user experience enables businesses to get higher returns by developing native apps for major mobile platforms.

Simplified Distribution
The developers have to comply with several guidelines and restrictions to get the native apps included in the platform-specific app store. Some enterprises even perform app store testing additionally to get their app included in specific app stores. But many users trust the native apps available at specific app stores due to these guidelines and restrictions. Also, the app stores make it easier for enterprises to distribute and promote their mobile apps by targeting the most relevant users.

Effective Monetization Option
Most users nowadays love mobile apps that are free. Hence, the enterprises have to avail a variety of monetization options to make the app profitable. As the native apps are distributed through platform-specific app stores, it becomes easier for developers to receive a percentage of the overall sale and in-app purchases. Also, the richer user experience delivered by native apps makes it easier for enterprises to implement additional monetization options.

Additional Development Cost
An enterprise has to invest more funds to develop native apps for multiple mobile platforms. But the richer user experience delivered by native apps will make it easier for businesses to get higher returns. The enterprises have to incur additional expenses to make the hybrid apps deliver native user experience. The additional cost will make the development cost of native apps and hybrid apps almost equal. Hence, a business may not always avail cost benefits by developing hybrid mobile apps.

However, native mobile apps, like hybrid mobile apps, have their own pros and cons. Each business has to address a number of issues to launch native mobile apps for multiple platforms successfully. It has to spend more money to build and maintain multiple versions of the app for different platforms. Also, the native mobile apps must be tested thoroughly to overcome device fragmentation and deliver richer user experience. But many enterprises still invest in native mobile apps to get higher returns over a longer period of time.

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