Native or Cross-Platform Mobile App Development - Which One Is Best for You?

Native or Cross-Platform Mobile App Development - Which One Is Best for You?

Authored by Ameex Technologies on 01 Aug 2019

Which type of mobile app development will best suit your needs - native or cross-platform? It's important to remember that with an increase in artificial intelligence (AI) adoption such as chatbots and messengers, many companies are starting to look at their apps as brand awareness channels, not as a business on their own. This trend has raised several questions in the app development world, particularly in terms of whether it's best to invest in a native app or cross-platform.    

Below, we'll be providing a short rundown into each of these two options. Hopefully, this information will help you in deciding which option will be the best for you.  

The Differences Between Native and Cross-Platform Mobile Apps 

Native Apps - In broad terms, native apps are smartphone applications that are coded specifically for a particular operating system (iOS or Android) by using their own, individual software development kits (SDKs). As such, they provide great performance and reliability, also having access to the phone's camera, address book, and other apps or devices on the phone. It helps to increase user experience. 

Cross-Platform Apps - These apps are designed to be compatible with multiple operating systems, thus running on different types of smartphones or tablets, be it on Android or iOS. There are also several common types of cross-platform apps:  

  • Native Cross-Platform Apps - Experienced mobile app developers can create a unified API running on top of the native SDK of an app, using the same codebase for both Android and iOS. These types of applications are usually built with Xamarin
  • Hybrid HTML5 Apps - Developers, will write the core of the app in an HTML5 mobile app and place a native device cover around it. Apache Cordova is the favored hybrid app development tool.  
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) - These are websites made to look and behave like mobile apps. They use native mobile device features without the user having to download the app, itself.  

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development 

  • Faster Development - With the right tech stack and careful planning, you can reuse up to 80% of the original codebase, shortening the time of development.  
  • Cost-Effectiveness - By cutting the workload by a significant margin, cross-platform mobile apps are far less expensive to create. Maintenance costs, such as regular updates, will also be lower.  
  • Increased Reach - By running on multiple operating systems, your audience will be much higher.  

In terms of drawbacks, however, cross-platform apps generally have: 

  • Lower Performance - HTML5 and CSS UI components take up a lot of computing power and can increase the app's response time.  
  • Impaired UX - Meeting both App Store and Google Play requirements in terms of UX can prove to be a challenge without the proper know-how.  

Cross-Platform or Native Mobile App Development? 

Choosing between native and cross-platform apps depends on the app's own intended feature set and use. So, if the intended purpose of your app is to become a business like, say a fitness or healthcare app, native development is advised. Adversely, if your app is intended purely for informative purposes, cross-platform development is a better alternative.  

Facebook, for instance, replaced its HTML5 application native iOS and Android apps because of major performance issues such as launch speed, News Feed scrolling, and image tapping. HTML5 technology is still used by Facebook for its mobile website, however.  

If you want to learn more about which mobile app strategy will best fit your needs, talk to us today!