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Native Mobile Application Development vs Cross Platform

There are three development approaches: native, cross-platform, and hybrid. Each of them has its own special features, and brings about different results. Not trying to influence your decision as your outsourcing partner and get the ideal for your business product, let’s compare all the technologies.

Every day the number of smartphone users keeps growing and world market of mobile apps keeps developing. Every skilled businessman should have already noticed that tendency and then do everything to side with it. Besides, a mobile application is a perfect variant of a startup. The first questions you may ask are What development technology  should the app be designed on? And why native app or why cross platform app?

There are three development approaches: native, cross-platform, and hybrid. Each of them has its own special features, and brings about  different results. Not trying to influence your decision as your outsourcing partner and get the ideal for your business product, let’s compare all the technologies.

Native mobile app development approach

The application is developed on the native platform language: Java, if it is Android, and Objective-C/C++ if it is iOS. The standard smartphone apps, such as alarm clock, browser, gallery and music player are developed with the native approach by default. The development environment in native app development is a special set of tools designed for the most convenient code writing, interface design, debugging, monitoring and assembly of the application.

Cross platform mobile development approach

If the native approach means the development of  application separately for iOS and Android, then an app designed with the cross-platform approach, would work on both platforms. Programming languages are HTML and CSS –  the same, just like when you are  developing a website.

Cross platform app development uses special tools (Unity, PhoneGap, Xamarin), which allow you to create applications for several mobile operating systems. The framework and logic of such applications are first programmed in a cross-platform tool, then the code is interpreted in an XCode or Android Studio project.

Hybrid approach

Hybrid applications join the features of cross-platform and native application development approaches. In reality, it is a cross-platform solution inside the “native cover”. As a cross-platform app, the app has usual  smartphone browser interface, but elements developed on native languages.

We have gotten to the end of the features of every approach, so it’s time to analyze them and choose the appropriate for your startup development method.


Native or Cross-Platform

The list of mobile app development platform comparison

Moving on to the actual native vs cross platform comparison, we are going to talk about pros and cons of each method of app development.

Advantages of native app development:

1 Productivity and speed

An application is developed for a certain platform, so its work will be maximally productive. The service effectively uses battery charge and smartphone memory. Code works faster, and new features are integrated easier.

2 User experience

If the client is used to Android interface, he will be uncomfortable with using iOS. Building a native app with  intuitive design and functionality makes users confident in their actions.

3 No limitation

The app has full access to a smartphone functions (database, location, camera)

4 Testing convenience

Productivity of the app can easily be controlled. If the application demands more memory or processor resources than was expected, developers could quickly fix   the bug.

5 Availability

Users can download the app from the “native” stores – App Store and Google Play.

6 Responsiveness

There is a huge number of Android gadgets on the market, and it is more efficient to create responsive markups through the native development.

In these lists we also need to mention cons of native app vs cross platform, so here are disadvantages of Native development:

1 Development speed

If you want to develop both iOS and Android versions, it will take much more time, because the process includes the development of two separate applications.

2 Development expense

The separate application needs a team of developers, designers and QA specialists to bring it to perfection. Double-check this fact and find out the real cost of the application.

3 Maintenance and support

Working on the app, you can’t avoid code mistakes and bugs,so be prepared that the release of the app on both platforms might be pricey . 

Pros of cross platform app development:

1 Development speed and cost improvement

In cross platform  it is enough to design one cross-platform application for both platforms. It keeps costs down and shortens the development time, so the app comes cheap.

2 Maintenance and support

The development cycle of a cross-platform app is considered to be simpler. If you need something to change or update, you can do it in one time for both platforms.

Cross Platform vs native mobile development

Disadvantages of cross-platform development:

1 Development speed and cost improvement, again

Despite the distinct advantages of  low development cost, the reality is that the app implementation on two OS comes with many bugs. This fact could extend the application launch until all mistakes are  fixed. Besides, UI could also display in a different way, so the time required for adaptation would also be extended.

2 Inefficient production

The most noticeable problems is animation, clicking, and scrolling – the app could just get stuck. User interface is developed on HTML, but you have to take much time to achieve the same productivity as  the native platform has.

3 User experience

You have to develop such interface that will be user-friendly for both iOS and Android users. Otherwise, an application built with iOS Human Interface instruction will be unhandy for Android users. After all, you’ll spend a lot of time to perfect user experience with the app.

4 Involvement of a “native” developer

In any case, standard app solutions can’t be solved with just a cross-platform development. That is why it is necessary to involve “native” developers to get a quality functionality.

So, to sum up everything, that we have said, here are point on where you should better choose native development:

  • your application requires free access to all resources and services of the phone;

  • you want to get the most responsive application;

  • the application must have offline mode;

  • your application should make maximum use of the hardware parts of the device.

Your option is cross platform mobile app development, if:

  • you are ready to come to terms with low responsiveness;
  • the application does not involve complex animation and does not deal with calculations;

  • the application needs constant access to the Internet to download content;

  • you need to quickly enter the market for testing ideas;

  • you have a website and you want to wrap it in the app for a minimum price.

Individual circumstances always lead to the choice of this or that strategy, no article gives a universal answer in choosing native vs cross platform development. In this article we tried to explain the differences between native and cross-platform development, though the final decision is worth taking after consulting with the developers. The more arguments you give about this or that approach, the better.

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