Any company that wants its application in place has to go through one underlying question, i.e., which is the right type of application to choose from. So the question arises, which one is better: a Web app, a hybrid app, or a native app? Honestly, there is no absolute answer to this question. It relies on what your company hopes to achieve by having a mobile application in the first place.

Before doubling down on one type, you should think about the following:

  • Do you need a mobile app right away?
  • How much do you want to spend on making the app?
  • What specific functionality do you need from the app?
  • How exactly will the app help you reach your business goals?

While these are all important questions to ask, they won’t assist you much until you know what the differences are between the different types of mobile apps and why they matter.

For this reason, we’ll go through what each type of mobile application functions, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and what these distinctions imply for your company’s mobile app development project.

What are Native Applications?

When you think of an app, you probably see a branded small icon on the screen of your smartphone. There is more than one type of mobile app, but the ones you can download from the app store are the most common. They’re also called native mobile apps.

Java is used to create native Android applications, whereas Swift is used for iOS (you may find older iOS apps written in Objective-C). Native mobile applications are quicker and more stable than hybrid or web apps, allowing them to provide a superior user experience (UX).

In addition, they provide interaction with a device’s API and internal hardware, providing your company’s application access to features such as:

  • Camera(s)
  • User contact lists
  • The device’s microphone
  • Device location tracking

Many businesses choose to create native mobile apps because of the seamless integration with the device’s operating system.

The higher initial development expenses associated with all these native features frequently prevent even medium-sized businesses from investing in them. Developing multiple platforms will inevitably cost more money since your company will need to produce separate mobile applications for the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Advantages of Native Apps:

  • Superior performance: These programs work smoothly, especially when loaded with heavy graphics.
  • Platform-specific features: Developing an app for iOS or Android gives your company access to platform-specific functionality.
  • Better user interface: Because native programs must fulfill platform-specific performance criteria, they outperform hybrid and online applications.
  • App store exposure: Unlike web applications and hybrid apps, native apps provide your company with more awareness since they are highlighted on app stores, making it simpler for prospective new customers to find your brand.

Disadvantages of native apps

  • Higher initial costs: Native applications may be more expensive to develop than hybrid or web apps, particularly if your company plans to distribute the app across several platforms. Your company may need to recruit two development teams as a result.
  • Requires experienced app developers: If you want to create an app for the Apple App Store, you should work with a Swift-savvy app developer. Your app developer has to be familiar with Java if you want to publish your app on the Android App Store. Although there is a steep learning curve for these programming languages, your team might try to construct the app themselves, the end product might not be as polished as one created by an expert.

What are Web Applications?

A web application is essentially a website that has the appearance and feel of a mobile application. Web applications, in contrast to native ones, are developed in Javascript and/or HTML5 and can be used in any web browser such as Chrome or Safari.

Due to their relative ease of development and reduced cost compared to native applications, web-based apps are becoming popular. However, online applications often lack the speed and user-friendly interface of native programs (UI).

In addition to these disadvantages, web applications cannot be included in Apple or Android app stores, thus your program will have less exposure and will be more difficult to find organically. Web applications, however, make up for their lack of discoverability through accessibility.

Even though web applications are not available in app stores, they may be accessed from any mobile device that has a web browser. And nowadays, practically every device, from wearables to smart TVs, has a web browser.

Advantages of Web Apps

  • Easy maintenance: Unlike native applications, web apps share a code base that runs on a variety of devices. If an issue arises, you simply need to patch one app rather than both the iOS and Android versions.
  • Simple accessibility: Your users may access your web application without having to download anything to their devices as long as they use the correct browser.
  • Less expensive: Compared to native applications, web apps are less expensive to produce. They are also simpler to produce.
  • Less user maintenance: With native applications, users sometimes have to actively update the app by visiting the app store. On the other hand, web applications enable your business to update the app without the user having to do anything.
  • No need for app marketplace approval: Since web applications aren’t available on the app marketplace, your company won’t need to go through any clearance steps in order to be seen by the general public. As a result, you may potentially deploy the app whenever you want and in whatever format you choose.

Disadvantages of web apps

  • Limited functionality: Web applications lack native capabilities while being easier to create. They are unable to use functions like location tracking or push notifications, for example.
  • Complex UX: Web applications are only accessible via browsers. This increases their accessibility, but it also makes it more difficult for users to use your application since there are more steps involved.
  • Less attention on your app: Since a native program takes up the full user’s screen, it is more difficult for them to become sidetracked and go to another app. This functionality is absent from web apps.
  • Slower speed: Compared to native applications, web apps are often slower, less responsive, and less engaging.

What Are Hybrid Mobile Apps?

Hybrid mobile applications, as the name suggests, incorporate characteristics of both web apps and native apps. Hybrid mobile applications can be loaded on the device and operated via a web browser, putting them in the middle of native apps and online apps.

These apps are built in two parts:

  1. The backend code.
  2. The native shell (which allows it to be downloadable on app stores).

Progressive web applications (PWA) are similar to hybrid apps. Both are a hybrid of native and online applications, but there are significant distinctions. For one thing, PWAs aren’t accessible in app stores, but users can still build a PWA app icon on their smartphone. They’re also less expensive to create, more readily configurable, and provide faster speeds than hybrid applications in places with sluggish internet.

Advantages of hybrid apps

  • Increased developer productivity: Hybrid applications may be developed more quickly by using backend and frontend web technologies that are similar.
  • Less expensive but more discoverable: Hybrid applications may be displayed in app stores and are easier to use and have lower upfront expenditures than native apps.
  • Internal API access: Unlike web applications, hybrid apps can make use of push notifications and location monitoring.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: Due to their same codebase, hybrid applications work on both iOS and Android devices.

Disadvantages of hybrid apps

  • Inconsistent user experience: Because a hybrid app’s performance is somewhat based on the user’s internet connection, it might have a variable UX.
  • Learning curve: Hybrid applications need more than just CSS and JavaScript to be created. They need integration with learning-curve hybrid app development frameworks like React Native, Ionic, or Cordova in order to function. One of the key resources for connecting to native SDKs, which enables hybrid applications to make use of certain native functionalities, is Cordova.

Which type of application should your business pay a developer team to create?

By this point, you are very familiar with hybrid apps, native apps, web apps, and the distinctions among them. A native app is arguably the greatest option for companies with a sizable budget since they guarantee good performance and a reliable user experience.

The most economical choice for you will be a web application if you are a startup or small firm with a limited budget. A hybrid app will also fulfill your demands if your company falls somewhere in the middle, and wants to be seen in the app store but doesn’t want to deal with the effort of developing two separate iOS and Android apps.

No matter the path you choose, it is essential that your company provides the greatest possible experience for its customers. Otherwise, your hard work and financial investment in developing the software would be for nothing since no one will want to use it.

Are you ready to make your own web, hybrid, or native app? Then, AppleTech is your answer. At AppleTech, we have the experience and the expertise to build Native, Web, and Hybrid apps. Reach out to us today with your concept and see it transform into reality.