Development Wednesday August 24, 2022

Native vs Cross-platform app development: 12 key differences

native vs cross platform app development

Business owners worldwide have seen a positive impact of mobile apps in expanding to new markets exponentially and targeting new customers easily.

As per Allied Market Research, the global mobile application market is projected to reach $407.31 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 18.4% from 2019 to 2026. A key aspect of being a part of this statistics lies in choosing between the two platforms – Android and iOS.

Statistica reports show that Android powers about 74.13% of smartphones, while the iOS market share is estimated at 24.79% worldwide. However, over time, a new mode of development has come up – Cross-platform, which brings us to the main question. What to choose and which is best – Native vs Cross-platform?

Having a clear understanding of a business’s end goal helps you to choose the right option for the project, i.e native app vs cross-platform.

Before we dive into the differences between the two, let us first understand what is native mobile app development.

What is Native App Development?

Native mobile app development is the process of developing a mobile app for a single platform by native app developers. Development is done on Native platforms such as Android and iOS by using a particular software development kit (SDK) and an integrated development environment (IDE). Typically, these apps use native mobile app development tools such as Java or Kotlin, while for iOS, Swift, and Objective-C.

Android Native app development and native ios app development can be used for building complicated, large-scale projects as they are well known for delivering exceptional user experience(UX), high performance, and speed by utilizing the hardware features such as a microphone, camera, GPS, etc.

Some native application examples include PokemonGo, Google Maps, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc.

What is Cross-Platform App Development?

Cross-platform app development is the process of creating an app that is compatible with multiple mobile devices/ operating systems using a universal language. The primary benefit of cross-platform app development is code reusability, which simplifies the entire development process.

The development is done using cross-platform development tools like Flutter, Xamarin, Adobe PhoneGap, Appcelerator, or React Native.

Some of the best cross-platform app examples include Instagram, Facebook, Walmart, Bloomerang, etc.

Let’s look at the differences between native apps vs cross-platform applications.

Native v/s cross-platform applications: What are the differences

CriteriaNativeCross-platform
ArchitectureDifferent apps for different platformsOne app for multiple platforms
Target audienceLimited to specific platformsReach a large number of users
Code reusabilityNone60% can be reused
Hardware accessibilityComplete hardware supportLimited
TestingCan be tested with tools in the framework or browserVary from frameworks available
Speed and app performanceRapid, responsive, and crash-free applicationsSlower than native applications
Team sizeBig team size(different team for a different platform)Small to mid-sized team
Authorization for the app store and google playSimple and EasyThe process of approving apps in respective stores can be lengthy
Rendering EngineNativeNative
Tools usedXCode, AppCode, Android StudioReact Native, Flutter, Xamarin
CostHigherCost-effective
Development timeTime-consuming as code is written for each platformTime-saving as code is reusable

Now that we have seen mobile app development platforms comparison, let’s move on to the pros and cons of native mobile app capabilities and cross-platform mobile app capabilities.

Pros and Cons of Native App Development

Pros and Cons of Native App Development

Pros of native app development.

1. Better Performance

Native apps provide exceptional performance in terms of speed, responsiveness, and operational efficiency as they are written in platform-specific programming languages. They fully utilize the device processing capability, resulting in a shorter load time.

2. Broad Functionality

A native mobile app gets access to all of the device capabilities and functionalities, and access to all native APIs. Thus, native app framework is better suited for developing complex mobile applications.

3. Store Support

Native apps are easier to publish in the app store since they follow the iOS and Android standards by default.

4. Better UX Design

Native application development is the best choice for creating apps with a rich and intuitive user experience with a consistent look and feel.

Cons of native app development

1. High-cost

Prices for building native apps can be more as they require at least two teams to develop the respective apps for platforms.

2. Long process

Native app development takes longer since the work done on one platform cannot be replicated on another. Hence, a different team is required to work on the other platform.

3. Maintenance and updates are challenging

Multiple builds for platforms that require ongoing maintenance and support are tough to maintain. Collaborating with several teams, and bringing out feature upgrades or new features may be challenging.

Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform App Development

Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform App Development

Pros of cross-platform app development first.

1. Lower Cost

Instead of having two teams develop the app, a single team can create a cross-platform app that runs on any operating system. Only a single development cycle is needed to create an app leading to lesser costs.

2. Time to market is reduced

With a cross-platform framework, you can launch a new app or roll out a new feature to iOS and Android users simultaneously.

3. Faster development, easy app support, and maintenance

Reusing code is far faster than writing it from scratch. Since the team uses a single codebase, they swiftly push out updates, new features, and changes to the platforms simultaneously, resulting in better maintenance and support.

Cons of cross-platform app development

1. Limited Functionality

Cross-platform apps fall short as they have difficulty accessing smartphone functionalities like the microphone, camera, etc., thus limiting the app’s overall user experience.

2. Difficult Integrations

It is a challenge for cross-platform mobile app developers to integrate these apps into local settings as HTML 5 code is complex due to callback-style programming.

3. User Experience Issues

Cross-platform apps cannot fully use native-only capabilities and deliver a good user experience.

Native vs Cross platform app development: What to choose for your project

You can choose native app development if:

  • Looking for the most responsive software
  • No financial limitations
  • Provide exceptional user experience
  • Your app must be able to operate without internet access
  • You are thinking of a long-term app that has to be maintained and enhanced with a lot of new features added to it over time
  • Your application requires complete access to phone resources

You can choose cross-platform app development if:

  • You need to develop your application rapidly and cost-effectively
  • Testing an idea or prototype across multiple platforms
  • Code reusability between iOS and Android and cross-platform compatibility
  • The app isn’t CPU and GPU-intensive such as sophisticated animation or complex logic to function.

Conclusion

Native and cross-platform app development has its pros and cons and the choice goes to businesses to choose the platform based on their project requirements and the developers’ skills.

Native apps, though costly, are the best choice for better user experience and performance when you compare native vs cross-platform app development.

iOS Android cross-platform development is easy and quick to build, but it takes more effort to deliver a great user experience on the respective platform.

If you are still confused about which application platform to choose, seek professional advice from a mobile app development company before you embark on your project and expand your business.

FAQ

What is the difference between native and cross-platform apps?

Native apps are built specifically for one platform, while cross-platform apps are compatible across multiple platforms like iOS and Android.

What to consider in native vs. cross-platform app development?

If you have a good budget, go for high-performance native apps. If you have a limited budget, a cross-platform app is a good choice for starters.

Why is native app development better?

Native apps are fast and perform better because native mobile app development technologies are fully supported by the platform’s ecosystems.

Why native application development is chosen over cross-platform development in mobile apps?

Native application development is chosen over cross-platform development because it targets respective operating systems, is more secure, intuitive, and performs better.

What is better native or cross-platform?

Native development produces high-performance apps but is costlier to build; if you have a limited budget, cross-platform development can be an ideal choice.

What is the advantage of cross-platform app development over native?

It enables businesses to create low-cost custom applications that are secure, stable, and effortless to maintain.

Why are native apps hard to maintain?

Native apps are quite complex because they have a different codebase for each platform which leads to higher maintenance.

Native apps vs web apps vs hybrid apps. Which one to choose?

There is no single right or wrong answer. Rather, the type of app you build depends on your business requirements. Consult a good mobile app development company with your requirements to get an answer and build an intuitive and engaging app.

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