Native vs Hybrid vs Web Mobile Apps: What’s the Best Fit?

Smartphones are like a need of life these days, and apps are like fuel to it. We all use apps daily, but how many of us have good know-how about what these applications are? Very few. So, here is little knowledge you must have about the types of mobile applications.

In this article, I’ll discuss Native vs Hybrid vs Web Mobile apps, cover their pros and cons and help you choose which one is better.

Types of Mobile Apps

Let’s dig in.

There are three major types of mobile apps – hybrid mobile apps, native mobile apps, and web apps. I’ll briefly discuss the difference, advantages, and disadvantages of each.

An image showing stats of native, hybrid, and web mobile apps
Native vs Hybrid vs Web Mobile Applications Stats

Native Mobile Apps

Native apps are developed for exclusively a single mobile OS (Operating System). That is why they are called “native” for particular devices and specific platforms.

This type of app development includes Android, iOS, and Windows Phones. Applications that are developed for Symbian, Android, and Windows Phones cannot work on any other platforms.

For Example, you cannot use Android apps on an iPhone.

Monetization

Monetization options for native mobile apps include

  • in-content advertisements
  • in-app purchases
  • app purchases themselves.

The app store takes around 30% of the fee for any purchases made with the app. The app developers also need to pay an initial fee to put the app on the app store.

Pros

Some of the exclusive advantages of native mobile apps are

  • high performance and a user-friendly experience
  • Access to a broad range of APIs
  • puts no limits on app usage

Native apps have a clear tendency to reach out to their targeted customers as they are available on the app store of their kind. It gives users a relatively more optimized experience.

Cons

Some of the drawbacks of native mobile apps are

  • higher costs compared to other apps because of the requirement of creating duplicate apps, maintenance, and separate support for other platforms
  • cost price increases.
  • struggle to maintain and update the codebase for each version.

Also, the user has to reinstall a new file every time there is a new update to the app rolled out. It is a drawback as it covers a good space for mobile storage, and is a pain.

Recommended for

This type of app is suitable for applications developed for a single platform; also, it is feasible for apps with greater requirements due to hybrid or web capabilities.

For apps that need the best graphics animation or native UI, native mobile apps will be a suitable option. 

Hybrid Mobile Apps

Hybrid mobile apps are built using multi-platform web technologies, for instance, CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and PHP.

Hybrid applications are website applications disguised in a native wrapper; this means that they use elements of both web applications and native applications. Because of this reason, they possess common pros and cons of both native mobile and web mobile applications.

Monetization

Just like native mobile apps, this type of app may contain

  • in-app purchases
  • advertisements
  • app purchases themselves

However, here also app stores take around a 30% fee from every purchase action. There is also an initial fee to deploy an app in the app store, just like native apps.

Pros

One of the clear advantages of hybrid mobile apps is that they are

  • comparatively easy to develop
  • faster too
  • low maintenance cost

Using one code for all available platforms ensures smooth updates. Highly used APIs like accelerometer, geolocation, and gyroscope are available.

Cons

The cons of hybrid applications are

  • lack of performance, speed, and overall optimization compared to native mobile apps
  • some design issues, due to the inability of the application to look exactly alike on various platforms

Recommended for

Applications that are developed for app stores and applications that need to be distributed among multi-platforms should be developed as hybrid mobile apps.

Web-based Mobile Apps

Web-based applications are very similar to native mobile apps in behavior. These types of apps use a certain browser to work or run. Web-based apps are most commonly written in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP for the backend.

Web apps offer installation options by creating a bookmark on their browser and redirecting users to the specified URL.

Monetization

The monetization of this type of application may be mostly provided via

  • advertisements
  • paid subscriptions.

Pros

The greatest advantages of web-based mobile apps are

  • that they use minimum device storage
  • can be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet by users.

Cons

When web applications are accessed using a poor internet connection, the result is an ill user experience, because all personal databases are saved on a specific server.

Moreover,

  • a lack of access to so many APIs, except for geolocation and several others
  • performance of web-based apps is highly dependent and inextricably linked to the network connection and browser

Therefore, among the total time that users spend on mobile apps, only around 14% is attributed to web-based apps; this is because only some device APIs can be used like geolocation.

Recommended for

It is good for applications that do not require app stores. Additionally, web-based apps may be suitable for applications with limited funds, terms, or resources.

So, the kind of app that you develop may determine the benefits you can reap and the consequences you will have to experience. Do proper research on the kind of platform that you will use before you deploy your app.

An infographic showing the comparison between Native vs Hybrid vs Web Mobile Apps
Native vs Hybrid vs Web Mobile Apps – Infographic

Conclusion

In this article, I’ve discussed Native vs Hybrid vs Web Mobile Apps and told you the differences, pros and cons, and monetization methods of all these apps.

What do you think which app is better in the case of Native vs Hybrid vs Web Mobile Apps? Let us know in the comments.

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Being a web developer, writer, and blogger for five years, Jade has a keen interest in writing about programming, coding, and web development.