We are officially in the digital era and to put this in a different perspective we are on the planet of the apps. Apps power a large number of tasks and technology-driven solutions. Customer-facing apps and business-facing apps have transformed the ecosystem, ushering convenience and efficiency. 

On the sidelines of the whole app development landscape, there have been discussions about the superiority and disadvantages of two types of apps. The native app vs. hybrid app comparison has generated a lot of interest. Let us look at the main differences that matter.

An Overview Of The Basic Difference

A native app is an app that has been specifically designed to work within a particular platform/for specific devices. There are two main platforms for devices – Android OS and iOS. 

A native app is one that is designed to work exclusively within either Android OS or iOS. To take a slightly deeper look, it effectively means that a native app is built using languages that are designed to work on particular devices. 

For instance, an apple device works on iOS, and the programming languages that work with iOS are Swift and Objective-C. Similarly, for an Android OS, the supporting languages are Java and Kotlin.

Here Is A Look At Each Application

Native App

  • The UI of a native app is original - 
  • The UX of the app is native to the device
  • The app leverages the special features of the device
  • It offers a software development kit, also known as SDK for developers
  • Extensive support with access to exclusive libraries
  • Mobile games built as native apps function better
  • Native apps are faster and efficient 

Hybrid App

  • Technically, this is a web app built to work in a native environment
  • Hybrid apps are cross-platform
  • Relatively cheaper to build
  • Built with web development technology stack
  • As hybrid apps are more like websites, there is a need for an internet connection
  • Hybrid apps are relatively slower 
  • Easier to develop hybrid apps

Key Differences

Native Apps
Hybrid Apps
The interface of native apps are functionally rich and appealing
Relatively sub-par interface, mainly as a result of the need to use web technology  
Performance is faster in native apps and on a comparative scale are more reliable
Hybrid apps, while being fast enough, score lesser when compared with native apps regarding performance and speed
High access to native APIs
Relatively lesser access to remote APIs
Updating requires the whole app to be updated and the codes are typically updated from the market.  
Updates do not involve the whole app, and are available from app stores, with app codes updated multiple sources
Native apps by being designed for the device are more compatible with other apps residing on the device
While many hybrid apps are now compatible with other apps that are on the device, it is still relatively lesser regarding compatibility with other apps on the device
Extensive libraries and plugins give it a feature rich support system for developers
This is limited to the developer's solutions and plugins that are developed by the community
The OS provides the frameworks
Frameworks typically include - PhoneGap Rubymotion and Sencha Touch (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby)
Time-consuming for developers to pick up skills in development for the platform.  
Takes lesser time for developers to pick up skills. The primary difference is that developers need not learn about development for specific platforms, they only need to master the frameworks, which will help them create cross-platform apps.
Time to market takes anywhere upwards of six months
Time to market is relatively lesser, and depending on the nature of the app, it can be finished in under six months.
Development costs are higher for native apps
Development costs are relatively lesser for hybrid apps
The need for internet connection for the apps to work depends on the app itself. It is mostly required during updates and in API client apps
This typically requires internet connection most of the time, when compared to native apps

Usage wise, the statistics are in favor of hybrids apps as this gives companies a better reach and helps them reach out to more customers. However, for applications that are niche, which require the apps to leverage the inbuilt features of devices like accelerometers, for instance, native apps are the better choice. 

Regarding usage between client facing and business facing apps, business-facing apps are generally native apps, as the companies will find it easier to integrate the actions. However, this is not the rule, as companies are also known to use hybrid apps for business facing applications. As far as client facing applications are concerned, then device agnostic apps are the choice. 

In other words, businesses will find it convenient to use hybrid apps to meet the expectations of clients who may not stick to a particular device. 

When it comes to games, it is necessary to take full advantage of the features and functions of the device. In other words, mobile game development is ideally native. However, there are advantages of mobile game development taking the hybrid route as the lesser time taken to develop and to upgrade, will permit the developers to focus more on other features and increase the user experience. 

User experience – the key to the success of apps

User experience is the key to the development of an app. The whole exercise of development is to make the applications more efficient, with high-speed performance. Regardless of the type of app that is being developed, i.e., native or hybrid, it is essential to ensure that the user experience is superior. 

If users can use an app without any complexities involved, then it really will not matter if the app is hybrid or native. The jury is out as far as the comparison between native and hybrid apps are concerned, and it may be difficult to conclude, because of the specific advantages and use cases.