Native Vs Cross-Platform Development: Which one is better?
There are roughly 4.4 million apps available on Appstore and Google Play, targeting around 14 billion mobile phones across the globe. And by entering the app market, you will need to know the correct answer to one of the critical decisions. Whether you should go with a native app or cross-platform app development. Since choosing one over the other has a long-term cost, time, and functionality ramifications.
- Cross-platform development saves around 30% – 40% compared to Native Apps.
- It cuts the time required to build an app almost in half, unlike native app development.
- Cross-platform allows mobile app developers to reuse almost 50-80% of the code to develop apps.
- According to Statista, Flutter is the most popular cross-platform mobile framework used by global developers, according to a 2021 developer survey. Based on the survey, 42 percent of software developers used Flutter. On the whole, roughly one third of mobile developers use cross-platform technologies or frameworks; the rest of mobile developers use native tools.
In this article, we’ll look at both possibilities and analyze the benefits as well as drawbacks of Native App vs Cross-Platform App Development.
1. What is Native App Development
The term “native app development” refers to creating a mobile app designed specifically for a single platform. The application was developed using platform-specific programming languages and tools. For example, you can create native Android apps using Java or Kotlin and iOS apps using Swift or Objective-C.
Native apps are regarded for providing a superior user experience due to their fast performance. The aesthetics also match the platform’s UX, which improves the user experience. However, because they must develop native apps for two platforms simultaneously, startups are concerned about the high cost of native app development.
1.1. Pros of Native App Development
a/ Increased Scalability
Because of the freedom in resource management and the variety of tools available, apps created for the native environment are also more scalable.
b/ Broad Functionality
You’ll have access to all of the APIs and tools available on the platform you’re working on. There are no technical constraints on how programmers can use the new app.
c/ Better Store Support
Because it provides outstanding performance and speed, a native app is easier to distribute and usually ranks higher in the platform’s app store.
d/ High Performance And Great UX
High performance is achieved through direct contact between the code and the underlying resources. Furthermore, native apps offer a superior user experience consistent with the platform.
1.2. Cons of Native App Development
When you need to launch for both iOS and Android, building native apps might be expensive. It will necessitate the deployment of two teams, each working on a distinct platform.
b/ Time Consuming
The work done for one platform cannot be duplicated to another; hence native app development takes time. In order to finish both versions in time, you would need a separate team.
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2. What is Cross-Platform App Development
Developing an app that runs across many platforms is referred to as cross-platform development. This is accomplished using React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter, and the resulting apps can be used on both Android and iOS.
While cross-platform development saves time and money, it comes at the expense of quality. It’s tough to create an app that works well on multiple platforms, and the program will require an additional abstraction layer to execute, resulting in inferior performance.
Cross-platform programming will appeal to startups since it saves time and money. However, you should keep in mind that customizing the program outside the framework’s limitations may be more difficult.
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2.1. Pros of Cross-Platform App Development
a/ Less Costly
To construct a cross-platform program, you’ll need one team of developers instead of two. As a result, you’ll save money on development.
b/ Faster Development
Only one development cycle is required to design an app that operates on various platforms.
c/ Single Code Base
Only one code base is built because the program is developed with a single cross-platform development tool.
2.2. Cons of Cross-Platform App Development
a/ Slower App
The cross-platform app is slower than its native counterpart due to the necessity for an additional abstraction layer and rendering process.
b/ Limited Functionality
Developers may find it challenging to access smartphone features such as the microphone, camera, and geolocation in the same way a native app can.
Native user interface components are not available in cross-platform apps. As a result, it won’t be able to provide the same UX that users have come to expect from the platform.
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3. What to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Approach To Build Mobile App
Choosing one development approach over the other is not a straightforward decision as each project has different priorities and a unique set of requirements. With over a decade of providing the best Mobile App Development Services, we are confident that Savvycom’s specialists can give you the best advice in making top-shelf Mobile apps. Here’s a recap of key considerations to help you guide your decision.
When comparing cross-platform vs. native app performance, choosing native mobile app development strategy is the wise decision. Native Android App development allows you to be in sync with next-generation smartphone capabilities such as memory management, network and wireless access points, and so on in a hassle-free manner. You can optimize service delivery and ultimately improve overall app performance.
Airbnb, an early adopter of the React Native App framework, is one real-life example of a tech behemoth complementing native app development. When weighing the benefits of a hybrid mobile app vs. a native app vs. a cross-platform app, Airbnb decided for cross-platform since it would allow them to move faster and write product code only once.
However, as time went on, their objectives and needs slowly shifted to improve their app performance and user experience. So the ideal choice was to switch to native app development, which resulted in better overall financial results.
3.2. Application Complexity
Cross-platform development is a fantastic choice if you’re designing an app that just displays information retrieved from the internet. You should choose native development if your application requires a lot of processing or access to low-level APIs like Bluetooth.
Native programming produces high-performance programs, but it might be expensive to develop. Cross-platform development is the best option if you have a restricted budget to work with. You’ll save 30% to 40% because you’ll just have to write one codebase for an app that runs on both Android and iOS.
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3.4. Development Time
In some cases, you’ll want to get an MVP app up and running as quickly as possible. This is where cross-platform development comes into play. You do not need to work on two different versions of the software. Instead, for an app to be deployed for Android and iOS, only one development cycle is required.
Native development is the way to go if you want amazing visuals and an immersive experience. When working in a native environment, developers have access to UI/UX components. The UI/UX portion of the software will be severely limited if you choose cross-platform.
3.6. App Security
In 2020, the number of data breaches in the United States came in at 1001 cases. Meanwhile, over the course of the same year, over 155.8 million individuals were affected by data exposures due to less-than-adequate information security.
App security has become a prime concern of business owners today to safeguard their business and customers’ data and sensitive information at all costs.
Regarding native apps vs cross-platform apps in terms of security, native apps come equipped with multiple in-built security features. These features make it easy for developers to implement file encryption and intelligent fraud detection throughout core OS libraries and ensure utmost security in the apps.
However, in the case of startups, whose primary focus is on development cost and time to market, hybrid and cross-platform app development frameworks gain a higher preference. And once their apps are stabilized and famous in the market, they can eventually move forward to native apps to ensure security throughout their app.
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4. So, Native Or Cross-Platform App?
Your choice significantly impacts the app’s cost, timeliness, and user response. Before making a decision, think about everything that has been said. Here are some more suggestions if you’re still puzzled.
4.1. Cross-platform app development has an edge when it comes to:
- Improved time-to-market
- Keeping development costs to a minimum or saving them
- Maintaining an app requires less time and money.
- Reusability of code between iOS and Android
- Apps that aren’t as CPU and GPU intensive, such as those with a lot of animation or complicated logic, are lighter.
- Across platforms, there is consistency in the interface and navigation (whenever the UI is similar for both platforms)
- Using numerous platforms to test an idea, hypothesis, or prototype
4.2. Native app development has an edge when it comes to:
- Performance and speed of the application
- Application security is essential.
- Features and UI/UX customization and configuration
- Apps with cutting-edge, platform-specific user interfaces and user experiences
- Updates and new features may be deployed more quickly and easily.
- Making a more responsive application
- Taking advantage of the hardware of a mobile phone, such as the camera
- Apps that use a lot of resources, such as mobile games and those with a lot of animations
- Apps that are part of a more extensive collection of apps (which may share some code)
4.3. The Verdict Between Native App vs Cross-Platform App Development
Whether you should go with Native or Cross-platform depends on the app’s targeted feature set and scope/timeline. Going native, on the other hand, is a clear choice if your mobile app is the core of your business (such as making Fitness App or Healthcare App).
Choosing native application frameworks over cross-platform makes even more sense when your app is expected to create complicated and rich-in-class features such as AR/VR, Animations, built-in games, and so on.
Companies that want to construct a purely informative or content delivery application should choose Cross-platform over Native. And if your project’s time to market is short, cross-platform frameworks are the way to go.
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React Native is one of the best app frameworks for developing native apps.
Cross-platform mobile app development allows apps to operate on different platforms with a single code system.
Native apps are built specifically for one platform. In contrast, cross-platform apps tend to be compatible across multiple platforms like iOS and Android.
Both native and hybrid apps have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. It all relies on your business needs and expectations for a mobile app. Native apps are more intuitive and interactive, have fewer bugs, provide the best performance, and have increased security. In contrast, hybrid apps provide a faster time to market, lower development costs, and offline support.
The same codebase is used to develop cross-platform and hybrid apps for all platforms (iOS and Android). In contrast, native apps require a distinct codebase for iOS and Android. As a result, native app development costs more than cross-platform and hybrid app development.