Native vs. Cross-platform App Development- Pros and Cons You Need to Know
Comparison between native and cross-platform apps has remained a corporate hot potato. This age-old debate has kept the developer’s community and entrepreneurs divided for many years. As technology advances, cross-platform and native app development domains evolve to come up with more robust and feature-rich app solutions for modern businesses.
As per the Statista prediction, mobile apps will generate more than 935 billion USD in the year 2023. Globally, enterprises tend to build dedicated apps for improving customer services, simplifying complexities, increasing productivity, and bringing automation into processes. However, as an entrepreneur, you may find it challenging to opt for cross-platform or native app development. Therefore, we are going to dig deep into the pros and cons of both these types. But before moving ahead, let’s go through some interesting facts.
Mobile App Development- Key Facts and Stats
By 2025, revenue from mobile apps is expected to increase across most segments and reach a total of around $613 billion.
In 2023, mobile apps are expected to generate revenue exceeding $935 billion.
The combined number of mobile apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store exceeds 5.7 million.
The Apple App Store alone has a library of more than 2.2 million mobile applications.
After going through these amazing stats, if you want to give your business a mobile app advantage, then this blog is for you! Let’s start with a basic difference between native and cross-platform apps.
Native vs. Cross-platform Apps- What is the Basic Difference?
Cross-platform development is the process of building an application, typically a mobile app, that can be deployed across several platforms based on a single source code.
1) Code Reusability between iOS and Android App
2) Faster Development process and time-to-market
3) Value for money and reduced development cost
4) UI/UX consistency across platforms
5) Prospects for talent and the future
Native app development is the process of building an application exclusive to a particular platform.
1) Application Speed and Performance
2) Stability in Maitenance and Updates
3) Customization on features and UI/UX
4) Maximizing the use of hardware fuctionalities.
5) Application Security
As the name suggests, cross-platform apps can run across multiple platforms seamlessly. Mostly, all cross-platform apps are designed to run on Android OS and iOS. Developed in HTML and CSS technologies, cross-platform apps can be easily customized or modified as per the client’s business needs. Several advanced cross-platform app development tools or frameworks like Ionic, React Native, and Flutter, are available for developing such apps.
Native apps, on the other hand, are developed for a specific platform, i.e. Android or iOS. These apps are built in a language accepted and compatible with the respective platform. For example, iOS apps are developed using Objective C and Swift, while Android apps are mostly based on Java. An Android app does not function on iOS and vice versa. It is possible for native app developers to use the built-in features of particular platforms.
Let’s understand the pros and cons of cross-platform and native apps.
Pros of Cross-platform App Development
Cross-platform app development does not require two separate teams of developers. It assists entrepreneurs to save big on the hourly rate of developers. As a result, the entire app development process remains cost-effective.
Only a single code and a single development cycle are necessary to create a cross-platform app. You can have an advantage of TTM (Time to Market) by deploying your app soon in the market and stay ahead of the curve.
One Code for All Platforms
A cross-platform app requires a single code base for both Android OS and iOS. Developers can easily build an app with desired features using a robust cross-platform app development tool.
To develop a cross-platform mobile app, you will only require one team of developers as opposed to two. Consequently, you will reduce the cost of development.
An app that works across platforms can be made in just one cross-platform development cycle.
Single Code Base
There is only one code base built for the app because it was developed using a single cross-platform development tool.
Pros of Native App Development
Native app development is based on the platform’s SDK and compatible with all necessary aspects. Native app developers have access to every API and tool of the respective platform, and therefore, these apps offer excellent functionality.
Rich UX with Excellent Performance
As the code and the platform’s innate resources can directly interact in native apps, these apps always offer high performance with a rich user experience (UX). Native apps have a similar UX as that of the respective platform.
Native app development provides flexibility in using tools and resources to developers. Therefore, native apps are highly scalable, and you can meet your diverse business needs using these apps effectively.
Cons of Cross-platform App Development
Mobile app developers have no or minimal access to various smartphone functionalities while developing cross-platform apps. Therefore, these apps have limited functionality as compared to their native counterparts.
Cross-platform app development cannot take any advantage of native UX components, and therefore, the user experience of cross-platform apps remains poor.
Additional abstraction layer and rendering process keep the cross-platform apps slower than native apps. Many times, slow speed and frequent crashes can lead the cross-platform app to failure.
UX And UI Design Quality
All of the UX/UI features specific to a platform are present in native apps. They can utilise all of the built-in capabilities of iOS and Android because they employ different code for those operating systems.
Integration problems might also arise while developing a mobile app for many platforms. It is difficult to integrate your app with local settings, notifications, and preferences due to the cross-platform approach.
When an OS introduces new features, your cross-platform framework might not instantly support them.
In some cases, update lag is caused by your development framework's inability to handle specific functionality.
Cons of Native App Development
High Development Cost
You need to hire app developers for separate platforms, and therefore, the app development cost for building native apps is way higher than the same for developing cross-platform applications.
Higher Development Time
As compared to cross-platform apps, native apps take more time in development and testing. What’s more, you need a separate tea of developers to work on the other version of your native app.
Top Points to Consider While Selecting the Right Option for Mobile App Development
Choosing between native apps and cross-platform apps is quite a task for entrepreneurs and company management alike. However, it is better to keep some points in mind while selecting the right option from native and cross-platform app development. These points are-
Complexity of Apps
Usually, business apps or customized enterprise software can be highly complex with interrelated features. Native app development is better to develop such apps.
App Development Cost
As native app development takes more time, its development cost is also significantly higher than cross-platform apps with the same features.
Duration of Mobile App Development
Do you want to come up with a dedicated business app quickly? If yes then cross-platform app development will remain handy for you as native apps take more time to develop.
Appealing UI and excellent UX are possible with native app development. If you opt for cross-platform app development, you may compromise on the app’s UI and UX.
Both native and cross-platform app development domains have different pros and cons. It is quite challenging to select the right option for your app project because it depends on project requirements, budget, and various other factors. In a nutshell, if your focus is on user experience and performance, and you are fine with a longer development duration then native apps should be your choice. On the other hand, if you want to come up with an app that can seamlessly run across Android and iOS and take less development time with a reduced development cost, then the cross-platform app is a better option.
Semaphore Software is a renowned mobile app development company. As a 360-degree services provider, we build enterprise-grade native and cross-platform apps using cutting-edge tools and technologies. Are you looking for a reliable mobile app development partner for ensuring business growth? Simply email us at email@example.com with your requirements, and we will contact you with the right app strategy for your company.