Let’s do a quick check on how the mobile app development sector has grown.
- From 2017 till the end of 2021, mobile app downloads are expected to increase 45%
- The mobile app market is no more related to just software developers. Because enterprise software spending has reached the US $5.2 trillion
- The competition is not just limited to Android or iOS anymore. Enter cross-platform vs native app development.
From the above three points, we can conclude that the debate is no longer about how important mobile apps are. The challenge is when the businesses have to decide on which is the right technology for developing the app. Many tech titans like Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Skype have already started building apps on the cross-platform such as React Native and Xamarin.
But how to settle on one decision? It absolutely depends on your project. Because as far as any debate would go, both these approaches have their own pros and cons. We can however help you by giving an entire rundown on each of these technologies. So, here it goes.
Native app development
Native app development involves creating apps to work on a particular operating system like iOS, Android, or Windows. One of the biggest advantages of native apps is that they grant access to the device’s features such as camera, GPS, contact list, etc. On the contrary, its disadvantage is that they are capital intensive since it will require a separate development time for each platform. This means you have to spend a great amount of time and cost separately for Android native app development and iOS native app development.
Pros and Cons of Native app development
High performance– Native apps are highly efficient in terms of speed and responsiveness. Since they are developed using core programming languages and APIs, these apps can leverage the device’s processing speed with minimum load time.
Ultimate user experience– If you want to create apps with a robust and immersive user experience and give a good look and feel, then native technology wins the bet. Since it uses native SDKs, the native apps give a more natural feel to the users.
Great functionality– It has access to all the platform’s features it is made for. So, this is surely a score for native apps over cross-platform. Because of this, there is a faster execution and there is obviously a better user experience. Moreover, the apps functioning without an internet connection surely is a cherry on the top.
Cost– The development cost for the native apps is greater than the cross-platform apps. This is because of two primary reasons: a. Native app development is complex and the professional development and support will drain all the budget and b. If you want to cater to two different sets of audiences like Android and iOS, you need two distinct apps, which means two development teams and of course, two different budgets.
Slow development speed– These apps consume more time to be developed than cross-platform apps and there’s also no chance to reuse the code of one operating system to another.
Cross-platform app development
Cross-platform app development allows building mobile apps using a universal language and making them compatible with more than one mobile platform. The primary advantage is code reusability, which simplifies the development process. Here the developers use the same native elements but the difference will stand at providing a different UI and great user experience.
Trending cross-platform mobile app development frameworks
Cross-platform apps have become more popular now, thanks to the trending React Native app development and Flutter app development. Let’s take a glimpse at what causes React Native and Flutter to be the talk of the tech town.
React Native– This React-based framework, launched by Facebook in 2015, has got its ground on the app development market because of providing good accessibility to major native features and its attribute to share 80% of the codebase for mobile apps.
Flutter– The Google framework Flutter, on the other hand, based on Dart, allows fast rendering and better adaptability to platform-specific UX logic. Thus making it most suitable for natively compiled apps for mobile devices, web browsers, and PCs from the same codebase.
Pros and cons of cross-platform app development
Cost-effective– Since these apps follow basically the ‘shared codebase’ model, you can use a single codebase on multiple platforms, thus you can cut half the development time. You just need one development team to build one app, and you can distribute it onto multiple platforms.
Easy support– For an app to withstand the tough competition, it needs to be updated every now and then. Generally seeing this, we can conclude that it can take a lot of your resources. But again, cross-platform apps save you from them, as you can easily carry out regular updates and maintenance due to a single codebase.
Quick time to market– Whether you want to launch a new app or you want to introduce a new feature for both iOS and Android apps together, cross-platform allows you to do it quickly.
Maximum visibility– Mobile apps are in general, a medium to broaden the visibility of your brand. Cross-platform apps enable you to cater to a large user base at a single go and under a small budget. You have a codebase, and you can anticipate an audience from various platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux based on your requirements.
Limited functionality– There is a considerable performance gap between native and cross-platform apps as the latter ones have very limited access to the OS features, don’t have access to native APIs, and will require internet connectivity.
Integrations– Since it is built on a one-size-fits-all basis, integrating the application with the local settings is an issue. There are many instances where the apps do not integrate flawlessly when integrating it with local settings, leading to app failure.
What is the final call then?
From the above discussion, we can witness that both have their own set of upsides and drawbacks. Now I believe that it might not be that difficult for you to settle upon a choice. You can make an informed decision based on your time, budget, and your project.
If you want a reliable app with a fantastic user experience and you don’t have any budget or time constraint, with your target only on Android or iOS, then choosing native makes a sound choice.
On the flip side, if you want to develop an app for a broad user base in a cost and time-effective way, then cross-platform app development is the top pick.
If you are still confused about which one to choose for your project or you want to know more about these technologies to make a sound decision, then you can get the help of an experienced cross-platform app development company. When you are investing your idea with cost and time, there’s nothing better than getting experts’ say on it.