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There are 4.4 million apps available on both Appstore and Google Play, targeting 14 billion mobile phones worldwide. If you’re keen on launching a mobile app, one of the most important decisions to make is choosing between native and cross-platform mobile app development.
Choosing between native and cross-platform development has long-term implications in terms of cost, time, and functionality for your business. In this article, we’ll explore both native and cross-platform development and weigh the pros and cons of each.
What Is Native App Development
So what is native mobile app development? The term native mobile app development refers to building a mobile app exclusively for a single platform. The app is built with programming languages and tools that are specific to a single native platform – iOS or Android.
What is a native platform?
Well, there are two main mobile OS platforms – Apple's iOS and Google's Android. For example, you can use Java or Kotlin for native application development in Android and choose Swift and Objective-C for iOS apps. That, respectively, gives an answer to the question “what's a native app?”
Native application development delivers exceptional user experience as they are generally high performance. User experience is also enhanced as the visuals are tailored to the platform UX. However, startups are concerned about the high cost of native mobile app development as they need to run concurrent development for both platforms.
Pros Of Native Mobile App Development
So here are some pros that native mobile application development, can bring to your business:
You’ll have access to every API and tool provided by the platform that you’re working on. Technically, there are no limits on how the programmers could work with the new app.
Better Store Support
A native mobile app is easier to publish and usually ranked higher on the platform’s app store because it delivers better performance and speed.
Apps built for the native environment also tend to be more scalable, thanks to the flexibility in resources management and the array of tools available.
High Performance And Great UX
The direct interaction between the code and the underlying resources results in high performance. Also, native mobile apps generally have a better UX that is synonymous with the platform.
Cons Of Native App Development
So like anything that you try to analyze, native application development has its drawbacks. Not a lot of them, but still something to keep in minds:
Building native mobile app development can be costly when you need to launch for both iOS and Android. It means you’ll need to deploy two teams working on different platforms.
But the effort is rewarding, in the end you have two apps to engage more users!
Native mobile app development is time-consuming as the work done for a platform cannot be duplicated for another. Instead, a separate team is needed to work on the other version.
Yet, with the right time and product management, you will not spend more than you can afford.
At Uptech we always adapt to the client’s budget, helping to provide maximum benefits within the given budget.
Looking for mobile app development services to create user-friendly and profitable mobile application? Contact us.
What Is Cross-Platform App Development?
So what’s cross-platform development? Cross-platform mobile app development is the process of creating an app that works on several platforms. This is done by using tools like React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter, where the apps created can be deployed on both Android and iOS.
While cross-platform app development saves time and cost, you risk sacrificing quality in the process. It is difficult to tailor an app that runs optimally on various platforms, and the app will need an additional abstraction layer when running, thus resulting in lower performance.
Startups will favor the reduction in time and cost with cross-platform development. However, you’ll need to bear in mind that it might be more difficult to customize the app beyond what’s allowed in the framework.
We work with such companies as GOAT – the global retail platform for products from the past, present and future. Check more of our cases in the portfolio!
Pros Of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development
Let’s now look at the main benefits of cross platform mobile app development as compared to native mobile app development.
Instead of having two teams of developers, you’ll need only one to create a cross-platform mobile app. Therefore, you’ll save on the development cost.
Only a single cycle of cross-platform development is needed to create an app that runs on multiple platforms.
Single Code Base
As the app is created with a single cross-platform development tool, only one code base is created.
Cons Of Cross-Platform App Development
Now let’s look at some cons of cross-platform app development, again, comparing them against native mobile app development.
The need for an additional abstraction layer and rendering process makes the cross-platform app slower than its native counterpart.
Developers may have difficulty accessing smartphone functionalities like the microphone, camera, and geolocation in ways possible for a native app.
Limited UX design
Cross-platform apps are unable to take advantage of native UX components. Therefore, it can’t deliver the same UX experience that is accustomed to the platform.
What To Consider When Choosing Between Native and Cross-Platform Development
So let’s look at some factors that can help in choosing between native and cross-platform development:
If you’re building an app that’s just displaying information fetched from the network, cross-platform development will be a good choice. However, if it involves heavy processing or requires access to low-level APIs like Bluetooth, you’ll want to go with native mobile app development.
Native mobile application development produces apps with high performance, but it can be costly to build. If you have a limited budget to work on, cross-platform app development is the ideal choice. You’ll save around 30%-40% as only a single codebase is created for an app that works on both Android and iOS.
In some projects, you’ll want to get an MVP app up as soon as possible. This is where you’ll want to consider cross-platform mobile app development. You don’t have to work on two versions of the app. Instead, only a single cycle of development is needed for an app to be released for Android and iOS.
If you’re looking for stunning visuals and experience, the answer lies in native mobile app development. Developers have access to UI/UX components when developing in a native environment. Opting for cross-platform will greatly limit the UI/UX element of the app.
Native or Cross-Platform App?
Your decision has a huge implication on the cost, time, and how the users will respond to the app. Take all the above-mentioned into consideration before making a decision. If you’re still stuck, here are some additional tips.
You should choose native development if:
- Your application requires full access to all of the phone resources and services;
- You want to build the most responsive application;
- You’re looking to take full advantage of the mobile phone’s hardware;
- You want an app that can be easily updated and enhanced with new features in the future.
You should choose cross-platform mobile app development if:
- You are ready to accept a less responsive app;
- The application does not involve complex animation nor deal with complicated logic;
- You have a short window to test an idea and hypothesis in the app market.
Whether choose native or cross-platform mobile app development has different pros and cons. Ultimately, the choice of going with either depends on project requirements and the skills of the developers involved.
Native mobile apps are still the best choice when it comes to user experience and performance. While they are more costly, you’ll be at ease with lower defect rates and better visuals.
Cross-platform app development is easy and quick to build, but it’ll take more effort to deliver an equivalent user experience on the respective platform.
Still doubtful about choosing between native vs cross-platform mobile app development? Contact us and get professional advice from our team.