Native vs. Cross Platform Mobile App Development: Which One is Better?

cross platform apps vs native apps

If you have an innovative app idea that you think could revolutionize the market, you’ve probably already started planning your development strategy. But with so many different approaches to choose from, it can be difficult to know which direction to take. One of the most important decisions you’ll have to do is select between cross platform vs native mobile development.

Currently, according to statista there are approximately 1.85 million apps available in the iOS App Store and 2.56 million in the Google Play Store. While a large portion of these apps are available, choosing the right approach could make or break your app’s success, as the market is highly competitive with millions of apps available for download on app stores.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of native and cross-platform app development to help you make an informed decision. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the differences between cross-platform  and native mobile app development, and be equipped with the knowledge to decide which approach is right for your unique business needs. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of app development!

What are Native Apps?

Native apps are applications developed for a specific platform or operating system, such as iOS and Android, They are built using the respective Software Development Kits (SDKs) and programming languages of the platform, such as Objective C, Swift, or Cocoa Touch for iOS apps, and Java or Kotlin for Android app development. Native apps are available for download through app stores, such as the Apple App Store for iOS apps and Google Play Store for Android apps.

Benefits of Native App Development

  • High performance and fast execution
  • Access to the full range of device hardware and software features
  • Better security and reliability
  • Higher app store visibility and better app store optimization (ASO)
  • Ability to work offline
  • Can leverage platform-specific features and functionalities
  • Easy to integrate with third-party tools and libraries

What are Cross-platform Apps?

Cross-platform apps are mobile applications that can run on multiple operating systems such as Android and iOS . Unlike native apps, they are not specifically built for one platform but are designed to function seamlessly across multiple platforms. Cross-platform apps are created using various tools and frameworks that allow developers to write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms. This means that businesses can save time and money by developing a single app that can reach a larger audience, rather than creating separate apps for each platform.

Benefits of Cross-Platform App Development

  • Code reusability across multiple platforms
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Reduced development costs
  • Consistent user experience across platforms
  • Access to a wider audience
  • Easier maintenance and updates
  • Simplified testing and debugging process
  • Integration with existing systems and technologies

Custom Native vs Cross-platform Mobile Development

When it comes to mobile app development, both cross platform and native mobile development approaches have different aspects of working.

Native Cross-platform
Definition Develop apps for a specific platform using native tools and programming languages Develop apps that can run on multiple platforms using cross-platform development tools and frameworks
Development Time Longer development time due to coding and testing for each platform separately Faster development time due to code-sharing and development frameworks
User Experience Offers a better user experience as it is optimized for the specific platform and utilizes platform-specific features May not offer the same level of optimization for each platform and may have limitations in utilizing platform-specific features
Maintenance Requires separate maintenance for each platform and updating the app may require multiple releases Easier maintenance as changes can be made across all platforms with a single release
Cost Higher cost due to the need for separate development and maintenance for each platform Lower cost due to code-sharing and development frameworks
App Store Approval Easier approval process as the app is optimized for a specific platform and adheres to platform-specific guidelines May face challenges in approval due to limitations in utilizing platform-specific features and adherence to guidelines for multiple platforms

Let’s compare native vs cross platform app development from several criteria:

  • User Interface

The user interface (UI) of a mobile app is like the face of the app – it’s what users first see and interact with. And when it comes to UI, native apps have an upper hand over cross-platform app.

Native apps are developed specifically for a single platform, allowing developers to take full advantage of the platform’s design and features. This results in a distinctive UI that is optimized for the platform, making it easier for users to navigate and use the app. For example, Android apps have a productive and functional look, while Apple apps have a simple yet usable UI.

On the other hand, cross-platform apps are designed to work on multiple platforms, which can make it difficult to create a UI that is optimized for each platform. As a result, cross-platform apps may have a more generic UI that is not as visually appealing or optimized for each platform.

  • Reliability

When it comes to mobile app reliability, in native apps vs cross-platform apps, native apps have a clear advantage over cross-platform apps. This is because native apps are specifically developed for a particular platform using the platform’s own software development kit (SDK).

Developers of native apps have direct access to all the hardware resources of the device, allowing them to fully optimize the app’s performance. This results in faster and smoother performance, and fewer chances of crashes or errors whereas cross-platform apps need to work on multiple platforms, which can cause compatibility issues with the device’s hardware and operating system. This can result in slower performance, glitches, and crashes, as the app tries to work with different devices and operating systems.

  • Reusability

One of the advantages of cross-platform app development is the reusability of code. Unlike native app development where developers need to write separate code for each platform, cross-platform apps can be developed using a single codebase that can be used across multiple platforms.

This means that once the code is written for one platform, it can be easily reused for other platforms, saving time and effort for developers. This also ensures consistency across different platforms, as the same code is used for all of them.

  • OS Updates

Native apps are developed using the specific software development kit (SDK) of a particular platform, they can easily incorporate new features and updates as soon as they are released. In contrast, cross-platform apps need to be updated through the framework they were developed on, causing delays in utilizing new features. This makes it easier for native apps to stay up to date with the latest features and improvements.

  • Cost

Cross-platform app development is a more cost-effective option for small businesses as it doesn’t require separate platform-specific teams, unlike native app development. With cross-platform development, developers can write the code once and deploy it across multiple platforms, which saves time and money. This allows small businesses with limited resources to expand their reach without investing heavily in app development. On the other hand, top-rated native mobile app development services can be expensive as it requires a team of developers for each platform, which may not be feasible for SMBs with limited budgets.

  • Marketplace

Native apps have their own marketplace in the form of app stores from where users can install the applications for free or may buy a paid subscription. Cross-platform apps are available for download from web browsers as well as from app stores (in case of hybrid apps). Hence, compared to native apps, they get extended coverage, more users, and hence an edge over their native counterparts.

The Final Verdict

To summarize, both native as well as cross-platform mobile apps hold their own advantages and disadvantages. While native apps lead in terms of interface, speed, performance and reliability, cross-platform apps hold an edge in terms of the marketplace, mobile app development cost, and reusability.

However, it all depends on the concerned business and the budget they have set, whether they would like to invest in the costlier or the cheaper option. Most times, whether building internally or hiring a leading offshore app development company to build the app, the primary criterion will always be cost, usability, scale, and objective.

Both native and hybrid mobile app development companies have their specific audiences and the delivery generally depends upon the requirements of the projects and the choice of the clients.

At Finoit, a proven software company, we know the aspects that should be considered for successful mobile application development and have a proven credibility of delivering on-time and in-budget. Feel free to reach out using the form below to discuss your project ideas or requirements.

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