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Types of mobile applications – Native Apps Vs Hybrid Apps Vs Web Apps

Mobile application is not a new thing. We all have been using several apps on our smart devices but did you ever wonder how these apps are built or which technologies they are developed on?

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In this blog post, I’ve shared different types of mobile application platforms and their respective benefits & disadvantages. So, if you are planning to hire an app developer to build your mobile application, this information will help you to talk to your developer and discuss your project in details. 

Let’s get started. 

Broadly speaking, there are 3 types of mobile apps development:

  • Native apps
  • Hybrid apps
  • Web apps

#1 Native Apps

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The literal meaning of native is “something indigenous to a particular locality” and same applies in case of native apps too. 

Native apps are built particularly for one kind of device’s operating system (iOS, Android etc.). It simply means that if your app developer has created an application for you specifically for Android devices, it can’t be run on iOS devices. 

Here are some of the advantages of native mobile apps:

  • As mentioned already, these apps run on specifically those devices for which they have been developed. This means that native applications can easily access the device hardware like Camera,  Buttons, Touch, speakers etc. which result in better performance. 
  • The native apps facilitates page rendering which means the user-experience is enhanced and the users can access the app without any hanging issues.
  • The quality of graphics and touch are generally better in case of native apps. 

Below are the major disadvantages of native apps development:

  • If you need your app for both iOS & Android platforms, you will have to hire two different types of developers i.e. Android developer & iOS developer
  • Since you need to hire 2 different kinds of developers, the cost of your mobile app development can go higher. 
  • If you need to make any changes or updates on your apps, you will have to do them for both the operating systems which means more time-consuming and expensive too. 
  • The timeframe to develop native mobile apps can be huge. So, if you need a mobile app urgently, you shouldn’t go with native apps. 

#2 Hybrid Apps

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Unlike native apps, hybrid apps are developed not for any particular operating systems. In other words, a hybrid mobile app can run on all kinds of operating systems such as iOS & Android. 

Just like everything, hybrid has several advantages and disadvantages too. 

Below are but some of the major advantages of hybrid apps:

  • You don’t need to hire separate team of app developers for iOS & Android.
  • In future, if you want to make any changes or updates in your application, it becomes easier & affordable because of a single set of codes to work on. 
  • Hybrid apps can be customized for different types of device sizes to enhance the user-experience. For eg. if you want to hide some of the buttons or texts for just small screen devices,  you can achieve that with the help of hybrid apps. 
  • If you need a mobile application in short amount of time, hybrid app development is for you. Since your app developer is required to work on a single code base, the app can be completed quicker than that of native apps.

Here are some of the drawbacks of hybrid app development:

  • Due to the nature of their development architecture, hybrid apps require several plugins to run. If any of the plugins used for your app development becomes obsolete or unreliable, it can dramatically affect the performance of your app. 
  • Hybrid apps add an extra layer between the source code and the mobile platform which may sometimes result in low performance.
  • Again, because of the extra layer between the source codes and mobile platform, the debugging during native app development can become nightmare.

#3 Web Apps

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The app that utilizes web technology and web browsers to render the view is known as a web app. These apps are built using HTML, Javascript, jQuery, CSS, etc. 

A web application uses a combination of server-side scripts such as PHP in order to handle the storage & retrieval of information using client-side scripts (JavaScript and HTML) to display the information. 

What are the advantages of web apps:

  • The development cost of web apps are generally lower than native apps and hybrid apps. 
  • Maintaining a web app is as easy as maintaining a website. 
  • The availability of web developers to build web apps is abundant. 
  • A web app can be developed in few weeks or sometimes even in few days. 

Here are some of the drawbacks of web apps:

  • These apps don’t run without internet connection. 
  • Since a web app depends on the device’s browser to run & execute the view, some devices with different browsers may show a different view than other devices. 
  • The quality of graphics, sounds, camera etc. in a web app may not be as good as in native app or hybrid app. 
  • Some of the web apps may also experience lagging problem due to the fluctuating internet connection.

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