Deciding to develop an app for your business can be an important decision which carries significant rewards. But should your app be a native or hybrid app? And which is best for your business?

Ever since Apple first announced the App Store for iOS in 2008, the use of apps in our daily lives has grown rapidly. Mobile apps now consist of online stores, office suites, photo editors and even comprehensive video editors. This has made our mobile phones the most versatile piece of technology we carry with us.

With such versatility it can make a lot of sense to add a presence for your business to user devices in the form of an app. After deciding to create an app for your business, one of the first questions you meet will be “should the app be native or hybrid”?

Both approaches to app development have important differences. Native and Hybrid apps have unique advantages and disadvantages which are key to understand when answering this question.

Native apps

A woman drawing wireframes of a mobile app

Native apps are built using tools directly from the vendor of the mobile platform (usually Apple or Google).

This means that native apps usually offer the best performance and the best compatibility with devices. It also means you can take advantage of features as soon as they are made available to developers.

The disadvantage of native apps is that if you are releasing your app on more than one platform, you will need to code and support two versions of your app.

For example, if your app was being released for iPhone and Android devices you will need one for iPhone and one for Android. As a result, native apps are usually more expensive to develop and keep supporting in the future.

Hybrid apps

An android powered mobile phone displaying the application launcher

Hybrid apps are usually developed using tools from other companies and organisations. Some examples of these tools are React Native from Facebook and Cordova from Apache.

These tools have the advantage of being able to build upon the existing framework to develop apps faster. They also allow you to release apps on multiple platforms from a single codebase. These benefits help speed up the development process and keep the costs of developing apps down.

However, with hybrid apps you often rely on the provider of the framework to make new features available. This can lead to delays in being able to take advantage of new features. You also rely upon the framework provider to support each platform you would like to release your app onto.

Which is best for you?

A wide range of features and capabilities are shared across native and hybrid apps. As a result, a large variety of apps can be developed using either approach.

To select the right approach for your app, you will need to consider factors such as cost, whether your app will need to use the latest device features, and the timescale you have for the app development.

If you are unsure if a native or hybrid app is right for your app development project, contact us to find out how we can help.