Native App or Hybrid App Development: The Conundrum Demystified

hybrid or native app
Mobile App Development

Native App or Hybrid App Development: The Conundrum Demystified

A common question that our sales team keep getting from our leads is about which technology to use for developing a Mobile App.

Hence, it felt about right to write on this topic to demystify the conundrum surrounding the same.

What is a Native App?

Native App is a software which is developed to perform some specific task on a particular environment or platform.

They are built using a Software Development Kit (SDK) for a certain software framework, hardware platform or operating system.

For example, an Android App is built using Java Development Kit on Java platform whereas an iOS App is built using iOS SDK, and Swift/Objective C.

What is a Hybrid App?

Hybrid App is the one that combines elements of both the Native and Web Applications. It’s like a Native App as it can also be downloaded from platform’s App store.

It can also get access to all the native platform features & its performance is close to a Native App.

The Major Differences between Native Apps & Hybrid Apps are listed below:

Hybrid Apps are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, whereas Native Apps are built with specific technology and language for a specific platform like Java for Android, Objective C for iOS.

Hybrid Apps run in webView (a view that display web pages, uses the same engine of the browser but not the browser like widgets).

Native plugins are required to access the native features of the platform like camera, microphone, etc. (native plugins are like the wrapper on top of native libraries or components). Hybrid Apps can be built for any platform using a single code base.

Why Hybrid App?

The single code base for all platforms means that we need to write the code once and run anywhere but for Native App. We need to build and maintain separate code for each platform.

The same development team can deliver an App for any platform including website as well because all that’s required are Web Technologies.

Hybrid App is based on Web technologies, so the same App can be run on browser like any other website or can be run as Progressive Web App (PWA).

Hybrid Apps can achieve the same hardware-based performance acceleration as Native App. They can have a consistent user experience across platforms regardless of a user moving between different devices or browser.

Drawbacks of Hybrid App

For most applications, performance is the same as the Native App but 3D, HD games, high graphics-oriented Apps and other performance-centric Apps, the hybrid Approach might not go well.

Hybrid Apps can access all the native device features like TouchID, Media, etc., but it is dependent on Native plugins.

Sometimes an entirely new device feature might not be readily available as a Native plugin. We can write our own, but it adds complexity to the development.

Hybrid Apps have dependencies on different libraries and frameworks like Cordova or Ionic which have to be in sync with the latest platform version changes and releases.

Frameworks for Hybrid App development

Cordova is an open-source mobile development framework. Cordova Plugin helps developers to access the device features. It allows the use of standard Web Technologies for cross-platform development. Applications execute within wrappers targeted to each platform.

Ionic is the App platform for web developers. One can build amazing Mobile & Web Apps all with one shared code base and open web standards. It uses Cordova behind the scene.

Why Native App?

Graphical Applications, HD games, intensive animation related Applications work well when built as Native App because the Native code is still faster than HTML and JavaScript.

WebGL standards help browser and hybrid App for gaming Apps to match the performance, but still Native has the edge.

Native SDKs allow access to the device features without dealing with the complexity of Native Plugins and new device features will be readily available along with SDKs.

Not many dependencies on open source libraries and platforms like Cordova and Ionic.

Related: Top 4 Frameworks to Build Your Hybrid App Successfully

Drawbacks of Native Apps

Separate development effort for each platform which increases the development time.

Each platform code will have its own release cycle and updates which adds to the development time and cost.

Releasing the same feature on all platform at the same time is always challenging because of the different code bases.

Different skill sets are required to develop and maintain the same Application on each platform which adds to the cost.


The decision to choose hybrid or native is based on goals and priority of the organization. Use case, nature, and environment of the application can also influence the decision.

Development time and cost is another factor which influences the choice.

Comments (4)

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    January 25, 2019 at 8:50 pm
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    June 10, 2019 at 10:25 am
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