One of the biggest confrontations in 2018: Going Native vs Cross-platform.

What app to choose and why?

A brief intro. Well, the global mobile downloads continue to break the records. Again. In the first quarter of 2018, the iOS and Android downloads grew to reach 27.5 billion — the highest figure so far, according to the App Annie research. This number is even more impressive, cause only new apps downloads were counted, so no re-installs or apps updates. More and more companies treat mobile apps as an additional channel for brand awareness. So if your business happens to live ‘appfree’, it’s time to change it now.

As far as we can see (or read on the Net), the cross-platform/native apps development argument is hotter than ever. Should you bother with a native mobile application or proceed with a cross-platform one; what are the benefits of both and how it really works for big players like Airbnb? Let’s see.

Definitions, Differences, and Pros

Definitions come first.

If you know what we are about, please just scroll a bit lower.

So what’s native application? It’s an app that meets the requirements of either the iOS or Android operating system by using their SDK.

Short hint: it’s written in Objective-C or Swift for iOS, and Java or Kotlin for Android.

A cross-platform application is compatible with many operating systems and runs on any device.

Short hint: it’s written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Why choose native app?

Check some advantages below:

  • Greater integration with Bluetooth, GPS sensor, Camera, microphone, and etc. It’s a huge plus if you are working on geolocation or gestures, let’s say, the access to these features is crucial.
  • Improved performance since it utilizes the processing power of the mobile device. Therefore, the response time is minimized.
  • High security. Since these apps go through the App Store/Google Play approval, the end user receives the brand security.
  • User-friendly UI. Pure logic: each platform has its guideline; the apps that follow those specific guidelines are easy-to-use and intuitive; that’s why having just one UI on iOS and Android will be inconvenient or confusing for your end users, cause they won’t be intuitive.
  • The Internet is not a must. Welcome the offline mode. Full stop.
  • Screen optimization. Agree, there’s a variety of devices with different screens now. So it’s crucial for businesses to display their applications correctly on any device. Well, native apps are ‘all-screens-friendly’.
  • Your app support. These apps get full support from the related marketplaces.
  • High user’s engagement. Push notification, as a key method of users’ engagement, is an alien to any cross-platform app. The native development, on the contrary, allows easily set up push notifications and alerts in the apps.
  • Better flexibility. When implementing a feature, that should work on all devices equally, there is a high chance that cross-platform won’t provide the same level of flexibility, that the native programming does.
  • The development time riddle:

Thanks for making till here, but it’s only one side of the coin. So to make a reasonable conclusion, you should also check what cross-platform can boast and help you with.

The cross-platform mobile development Pros:

  • Claimed shorter development time as long as you plan your project great and choose the right tech stack.
  • Simplicity. You don’t have to pass the long Google Play Market or App Store releases verification over and over again when adding new features to the current app.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Agree, building 2 native mobile applications for both markets sounds costly than just one app for all platforms? Again, the condition here, if you have a detailed product plan and a right tech stack, cross-platform saves your budget.
  • No limitations as per the number of users. The majority of such apps run smooth on both Android and iOS (as well as Windows, Linux and etc).

A story to share: in 2016 Airbnb took a big bet on React Native, a tool for cross-platform mobile development. And now, two years later, they are sharing their cross-platform experience with the world.

So read, count and decide carefully on the app type to choose.

Bottom line

Choose a cross-platform application in case you need:

  • A simple application;
  • One app for two platforms at a budget price;
  • An app to enter both the iOS and Android markets;
  • When you are not sure what platform your target audience prefers.

Choose a native application in case you require:

  • A complex application with many functions: geolocation, gallery or camera usage, push notifications, etc.
  • A professional and user-friendly app that meets all requirements of iOS or Android platform;
  • A high-performance application.

Keep in mind, your choice between these two depends on an app’s intended features and scope of application. Most importantly — always remember who is your audience and what is the purpose of your application in the first place. If you need advice, have a question or need a mobile team, just contact us.




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