Today millions of apps are available on both Google Play and Appstore, targeting about 14 billion mobile phones globally. If you are involved in mobile app development, one of the most significant decisions that you be making is to choose between cross-platform mobile development or native mobile app development. Traditionally, mobile applications have been written in native languages.
Native apps are produced for specific platforms, such as Android, iOS, or any Windows Phone. Under native app development, applications follow various specific guidelines for every platform and have the access to all the services and features offered by the device and its operating system, such as geolocation, local DB, push notifications, or camera. You can create native apps for smart TVs, desktops, and all sorts of gadgets, but the most successful target devices are smartphones.
Several people today still choose the traditional native mobile app development as the most reliable way to go. The main reason for this is its robustness and performance advantages when compared to other options such as hybrid, etc.
Why should you focus more and put your efforts into developing a native app? The reason for this is that native mobile app development provides an unmatched user experience among all mobile apps and provides excellent performance. Under this article, we will discuss more, how can native mobile application development meet your specific business requirements, the pros and cons of native mobile application development, its business impact, and how it stands against hybrid and web app development. At last, providing you the details and facts worth understanding before reaching a decision one way or another.
What is Native Mobile App Development?
Native mobile app development is the traditional way of building applications for each mobile operating system, utilizing different languages, and considering each platform’s features. Native mobile apps are developed and tailored particularly for specific mobile operating systems i.e. iOS, Android, or Windows.
This type of development employs programming languages and tools that are set for the operating system and device. Specific APIs and tools are used to facilitate all kinds of functionalities in the app. Google, Microsoft, Apple, and other providers plan specific tools, SDK, and other interface components for their platforms.
- For Android apps, you can use languages like Kotlin, Java, or C++, environments such as Eclipse or Android Studio, including Android SDK, Mockplus, and other additional tools.
- For iOS solutions, you can use programming languages like Swift or Objective-C, environments such as AppCode, XCode, including Cocoa Touch, iOS SDK, along other tools.
- To create Windows Phone apps, you can use C++ or C#, environment – Microsoft Visual Studio, and Silverlight SDK, Windows Phone SDK, with other additional tools.
Native App Development Technology and Tools
Native development tools are software that enables developers to build applications for use in any particular system group, platform, or device, such as iOS, Android, or Windows. These tools are especially recommended when someone needs to create an app that is designed to run on only one platform.
This indicates the following native app development tools will serve only for the Android platform or iOS platform. Because they are made that way to work with that system while taking advantage of the software and features developed into that platform. Here are some native mobile app development tools:
Native App Development Tools for Android
1) Android Studio
Android Studio is described as the standard IDE for Android application development which is based on IntelliJ IDEA. Android Studio is essential for developing native Android apps. Not only it is fast, but it also allows tools to create apps for all kinds of Android mobile phones.
It utilizes an extremely integrated Gradle build system that enhances the experience of an Android app developer and helps develop a highly productive and effective app. It also provides a graphical user interface which makes it easy for Android app developers to accurately utilize drag-and-drop.
- Fast, secure, and feature-rich emulator
- Code and iterate quicker than ever
- Configure builds without limits
- Testing tools and frameworks
2) IntelliJ IDEA and Android SDK
IntelliJ IDEA is a native mobile app development tool designed to maximize developer productivity. Its intelligent coding assistance and ergonomic design make development not only rich and productive but also delightful and engaging.
It helps developers in static code analysis, code completion, refactoring, and self-managing several other tasks. This multi-platform IDE makes it easier for you to build apps on different platforms, such as macOS and Windows. Moreover, it further supports multiple languages, like Kotlin, Scala, and Java.
Android SDK is a software development kit for the Android platform, it is developed by Google. It assures you to build the most reliable Android apps utilizing IntelliJ IDEA. It is easy to configure Android SDK, which includes a set of tools and libraries to help provide a smooth process in developing Android applications, without any need to be an expert to practice it.
- Provides in-depth coding assistance
- Follows the strategy of developer ergonomics
- Built-in development tools
- Testing tools and frameworks
3) Native App Development Tools for iOS
To develop an iOS app, you need to use Mac OS X; other operating systems are not supported. The development tools that you will be requiring, XCode 5 and iOS 7 SDK. You can run the app that you have created in the iOS simulator, which is a component of the iOS SDK.
You can use Swift as a programming language for native iOS app development.
Swift is considered as one of the most advanced additions to the iOS app development tools, focused on improved programming of the apps. It includes several features such as generics, closures, and type inference that make it much more comfortable to use, simplifying traditional patterns practiced in Objective-C.
It combines features of both C and Objective-C, without having direct in-built C compatibility and all the other constraints that grow along with it. With the help of Cocoa Touch and Cocoa, Swift simply redefines your knowledge of mobile app development for Apple products.
The major advantages of Swift are:
- Speed (consistent and fast performance)
- Swift Supports Dynamic Libraries
- Less Code and Less Legacy
- Safer Platform
Pros and Cons of Native App Development
Native app development is an amazing option for offering users the most satisfying experience in terms of the feel and appearance of your app.
Advantages of Native Mobile App Development
Native apps provide a range of important advantages that can be crucial for picking a type of mobile solution.
1) Seamless Performance
Native apps are extremely fast and responsive because their target devices download and save all visual and content components, adding to the loading speed. These applications get complete OS and hardware support, providing a high level of performance.
Native apps are more responsive, faster, and provide a greater user experience. These apps can access unique APIs and components that are optimized for several devices, they run seamlessly and efficiently. These apps operate are quicker as they are written in languages specific to the ecosystem of the platform. Native is also the best choice when there is no connectivity. Planners, navigators, organizers, and even games can work offline as they have already downloaded content.
2) Advanced Customization
Native apps are compatible with a single platform, and this is the reason that they are easy to be configured. Native development means access to all features and tools available in the devices and the operating system. For consumers, this implies adaptability and the capability to build unique solutions as per their requirements and preferences.
Also, in the case of native mobile app development, you don’t need to worry about the compatibility of app reliance between variants for different platforms (Android, iOS) and you are free to use each new feature on each provided platform.
3) Ultimate User Experience
During the development of native applications, developers and designers find it simple to use the most reliable practices and standards. This is the reason why native apps provide a better user experience and user interface when compared with hybrid apps. Each mobile platform has unparalleled UI/UX standards. Native app developers follow these standards, making applications look and appear like an integral component of the operating system.
Data security is very important nowadays. Native apps provide more reliable security than cross-platform apps. These apps are safeguarded by several layers of an OS, which makes them difficult to misuse. Native apps are created for a single platform; therefore, the data is encrypted within one infrastructure, which decreases the possibilities of risks. If you ensure a greater level of data protection, consequently, you get the trust and support of your audience.
5) Instant Updating
Native app developers can instantly execute new features whenever iOS and Android updates are released. While cross-platform engineers have to wait for further tools to set updates to their solutions. Instant access to various new features makes the native development strategy look more useful to consumers and end-users.
As iOS and Android are flagship items of their respective organizations, they will constantly assist and enhance the entire platform for users and app builders. As these platforms fully support native applications, they will be considerably more stable in terms of usage, performance, maintenance, and app development.
Disadvantages of Native Mobile App Development
Developing native apps can be expensive when you want to launch for both Android and iOS. It implies you will require to deploy two different teams working on each platform. Also, a substantial amount is required to maintain the app.
2) Time Consuming
Native app development is time-consuming as these apps are developed for multiple platforms. And the work done for one platform cannot be repeated for another. Rather, a separate team is required to work on the other version. Developers of the native app need to take time to write codes for one particular OS.
3) Download Requirement
Before using a native app, it needs to be downloaded from either the Play store or the App store. There are many processes included in downloading a native app. They need to find the app, go through the terms & conditions, and then finally proceed with the download process. In some cases, the download process becomes so lengthy that the users are not able to wait or have that much patience.
4) Development Talent and Time
Creating a native app requires additional time and work than making a valuable hybrid app, as separate developers are required for each platform. You need to hire developers that possess the skills and capabilities required for creating apps for different operational systems. Furthermore, it is not a simple task to create native apps. The process involves difficult challenges.
A Quick Overview: Native vs. Mobile Web App
A native app is an app for a specific mobile device i.e. tablet, smartphone, etc. They are installed directly on the device. Users typically get these apps through an online store or marketplace such as Android Apps on Google Play or The App Store. If we speak about mobile web apps, they are Internet-based apps with specific functionality for mobile devices. They can be accessed through the mobile device’s web browser and are not required to download and install on the device.
Check the detailed article on Hybrid apps vs native apps- the checklist to figure out what’s right for you
Comparison: Native App Development vs. Web Apps vs. Hybrid
App performance is one of the important aspects of your app that help you keep your users engaged longer.
Native apps can ensure great performance as they can simply access device functionality and components to assure a quicker response rate. Furthermore, these apps are built utilizing an excellent set of features like complex networking, USB input, memory management, and more, that enable them to provide an unparalleled user interface.
Hybrid apps, on the other hand, work on a platform to download data from the server and have limited access to device features. That’s why the performance is a bit reduced when compared to native apps.
The performance of web apps depends on the browser’s performance and the internet connection; hence we can assume lower app performance for users when compared to native apps.
2) Distribution Channel
Hybrid and Native apps are hosted in an app store whereas web apps are instantly available on the web.
Native apps are designed for a particular platform, iOS and Android apps are hosted in the individual stores of the operating systems. This provides native apps to leverage device features and gain ranking within the app store.
Hybrid apps are intended to work on multiple platforms, so they are normally hosted on different app stores, leveraging available features and ranking in the store.
Web apps run on browsers; users can get them instantly from the web. They aren’t in the app stores.
3) User Experience and Target Audience
You can develop an app based on audience preference and interests, using the appropriate technologies to make it an ideal fit.
Native apps need constant updates to assure an exceptional user experience. Android native apps are free to download, while iOS native apps are paid apps.
If you need to target a large number of users via multiple platforms and with the least requirement for updates, then Hybrid apps are the best option.
Web apps are simpler to maintain as they need fewer updates compared to native apps. These apps are free to access on any browser and device and also help to target a wider range of audiences.
4) Development Cost
It’s very important to know your budget before developing any particular type of application.
For native apps, the development cost is measured from the number of hours the development team normally employs on the project. It can differ as per the complexity of the size, features, and UX/UI design of the app.
A software development firm can customize a hybrid app that operates on multiple platforms by leveraging a single code base.
Web apps usually have a little higher development cost if compared to hybrid apps as they are designed with complex functionality and interfaces.
Also, read: Flutter vs React Native – Navigate the Options
When to Choose a Native App Development?
- When high app performance is required to keep up with rivals in situations of similar app ideas or markets.
- Start with a unique first product version (MVP), when the app market niche is unoccupied.
- When you have enough time and can plan everything and wait 6 months before a native app launch.
- If you plan to scale and update the app constantly.
Conclusion: Web vs Hybrid vs Native apps
When analysing hybrid, native, and web app development, no one is better than the other. They all have benefits and drawbacks, and each of them serves better in specific business circumstances. Native apps, being the most expensive development, offer the most reliable quality, user interaction, and performance. But the main part to understand here is not to try to pick the most affordable app development, instead, choose the one that fits the market requirements and provides the most value to the target audience.
It is strongly recommended that you go for native app development, as they provide the most possibilities for facilitation, optimization, and customization. Native and hybrid apps lessen the risk of the app being outlawed from the app stores. Hence, you can go with the native app if you want a larger outcome. And web app development is best for beginner and start-ups businesses. Several businesses use these apps because of easy support and competent performance. However, aiming for wider functionality and better performance with a limited budget, go for a hybrid or cross-platform applications. Also, native app development requires more effort and expenses, but a consistent user interface and faultless performance can be worth every penny.
So, you need to understand that each type of app provides a different experience to the user. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the advantages and disadvantages of every concept before starting your development process.
Under native app development, apps are developed independently for each operating platform. Native app development takes complete benefit of its perfect unity with the device and its features, like – camera, GPS, contact list, etc.
The cost to build a native app is difficult to determine up front and the amount can differ from $15,000 to $240,000+ per platform. Such a large cost difference is because of the factors like app type, number and complexity of features, location, design uniqueness, and more.
Native apps provide flawless performance with a fast-operating speed, reliability, and better security. Native apps take complete advantage of the processing speed of the device, full integration with the hardware like camera, touch screen, GPS, etc.
Native app development offers an unbelievable user experience, best-in-class performance, and user interaction. It has the most possibilities for customization to offer users a more personalized experience.
Native app development has several advantages over hybrid app development like excellent user experience, greater security, less maintenance, reliable performance, scalability, and more. Native apps provide more benefits in the long run, despite the higher development cost.