Understanding The Fundamental Differences Between A Native App, Web App, And Hybrid App

The development of mobile apps and the establishment of other digital platforms around the world are two factors that are increasingly securing access to customers. Consequently, apps have become so popular today that they are challenging web development in the digital domain. This applies, above all, to the two sub-disciplines of digital excellence: Customer & Partner Engagement and Digital Platform Management.

Before we understand the differences among a web, hybrid, and native app, let us first discuss how mobile platforms operate and what app development solutions are currently available today. In the end, we are going to discuss which type of the three solutions is better suited in the current scenario and what factors must be taken into consideration before getting an app developed.

So, without any further delays, let’s begin!

Mobile platforms& Their Market Share

If you want to build an ideal app for your business, various things have to be taken into consideration. One of the most crucial aspects is the users’ preferred operating system (OS). There are currently four relevant mobile operating systems (OS) that are suitable for developing mobile apps. Their market shares, as of 2019, are broken down as follows: Android (86.1%) and iOS (13.9%).

However, this scenario of market share has not always been this way. In 2009, BlackBerry was the leader with a 19.9% ​​market share, ahead of iOS (14.4%), Windows Mobile (8.7%) and Android (3.9%). This means that the BlackBerry OS and the corresponding devices have lost in importance within a few years, similar to the former device prime Nokia, which still had a market share of 36.4% in 2009 and is now only listed under “Windows Phone and others” in statistics.

This shows that, before choosing an OS for the development of mobile apps, it is very important to reflect the current market developments in the world of smartphones and their manufacturers. This avoids hasty decisions that may no longer be acceptable tomorrow.

The Three Solutions for App Development

Currently, there are three basic approaches to developing mobile apps: the native application, web application, and hybrid application. Each solution scenario has its advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, the individual use case and the associated customer requirements must be evaluated before each implementation of a mobile app to ensure sustainable success.

Now, let us discuss the fundamental differences among these two approaches to app development.

Mobile App Variants

Native App

In native app development, a separate app is developed in the platform-specific languages ​​for each platform that is to be supported and made available to users via the relevant sales channels. A big advantage of the native app is access to all system libraries and the efficient use of system resources. These advantages can only be exploited if you employ the right experts for the individual platforms (e.g. Java or .NET). 

Therefore, when developing a native app, superior hardware and the latest operating system are useless without a clever development specialist who can forge added value for the user. In other words, a native app requires an expert app developer with the right set of tools and resources to bring your app to life.

Web App

The web app approach is at the other extreme of the app development domain. A web app is basically a website that can be placed on the home screen. Web apps look like native apps and behave like native apps. However, they run in the browser and have limited access to system libraries and resources. The big advantage of a web app, however, is the relatively fast implementation (time-to-market). A web app only needs to be developed once and runs on all platforms in the browser. The provision can be made via its own web server.

Hybrid App

The last variant, the hybrid app, is a middle ground between native and web apps. In the best-case scenario, many advantages and only a few disadvantages of the native and web app are adopted during hybrid app development

In principle, a hybrid app is a web app that acts in the context of the native container of the individual platforms, with access to its system libraries. With this approach, you can develop an app that runs on all platforms very quickly. Here, too, you need the right experts for the individual platforms and programming languages. Every platform requires a profound knowledge of a specialist, for example, to ensure interactions with the hardware such as access to the camera.

A Winner Among the Three Solutions?

So, which among the three app development processes is best for everyone?

The easiest way to answer this is that none of the three can replace the other two.

All three solution scenarios are suitable for a new project, and the selection should be made depending on the goal, the requirements, and the know-how of the developer. The golden way to happiness with always the same variant does not exist.

The long-held debate of “Native vs. Hybrid” is very polarized. In the meantime, however, with the HTML5 standard, which is constantly being developed and supported by more and more browsers, the hybrid app has gained increasing popularity.

What is more relevant to consider is the careful selection of the platforms, the OS, and thus the end devices. Looking back, it turns out that even current market leaders can easily gamble away their lead in a fast-moving business.

With this in mind, a hybrid app would certainly be a more flexible option in today’s scenario. With it, you can react better to technological changes than, for example, when choosing a native app. Here, you must deal very carefully with the platform and the requirements as well as changes by the manufacturers – unless you choose iOS, for which the corresponding manufacturer has brought exactly twelve smartphones onto the market since 2007. The situation is different with Android: With more than 1,200 manufacturers and over 24,000 smartphones, the fragmentation is very high.

Notwithstanding, all three apps have their individual sets of advantages. RKA Infotech offers you the right solution for your business by understanding your short and long terms objectives from your app. Learn more by contacting today!

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