Native vs. Cross-Platform App Development

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When it comes to mobile app development, there are a lot of considerations based on which the developers decide whether they should go with native development or with cross platform for their mobile apps. Both of these platforms are prominent and impressively used at present by small to mid-sized and big enterprises. However, the selection of a mobile platform totally depends on one’s specific business needs including budget considerations, time constraints, etc. This post will help you understand these two approaches in depth and you’ll know how similar they are in technology or any one of them overshadows the other.

What are Native apps?

Native mobile applications are built for specific mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc. for native app development, app developers uses well-known Software Development Kits (SDKs) of respective mobile OS (Android SDK, iOS SDK, etc.) and the computer languages such as Objective C, Cocoa Touch are used for iOS and Java is for Android apps and so on.

Native mobile apps can be downloaded through their specific app store for example if you want to download an iOS app, you need to go to Apple App Store; similarly for Android apps you need to go for Google Play Store. In short, their mobile apps are exclusively built to run on a specific platform and software professionals also uses the hardware facilities of the concerned device, whether it is camera, GPS, Bluetooth, notification system, etc.

What are Cross-platform apps?

Cross platform mobile applications are built for multiple operating systems. These apps are built using a single code that can be customized to make the code applicable for multiple mobile OS. Cross platform apps are further categorized into two different types which are Hybrid Apps and Mobile Optimized Web Apps.

Hybrid Apps
Hybrid apps consist of native code surrounded by HTML. These apps utilize JavaScript and HTML5 for native code and web view.

Mobile optimized web apps
Mobile optimized web apps are built using several frameworks such as PhoneGap development, Appcelerator Titanium development, Rhodes, etc.
Each of these cross platform app development approaches are meant to help the company get smart, economical and realistic replacement to native apps.

Game Engines
Mobile games can also be designed on different platform such as GameSalad is used to develop games on iOS, Mac and Windows; Corona SDK for Android, iOS, Kindle and Nook; Unity 3D is for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Linux, Mac, PS3, PS4, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Adobe Air is for Windows, Mac OS desktops, iOS and Android mobiles; CocoStudio is for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Android.

Native vs. Cross-platform Mobile App Development
Comparing both the development platforms on different conditions of mobile app development provide us the following results:

User Interface
When it comes to app user interface, each operating system (iOS, Android, Windows etc.) exhibits its unique look that’s the reason the native apps hold an advantage over cross platform counterparts. Android focuses more on productive and functional look, and Apples emphasizes on usable yet simple UI. For Cross platform apps, their UI completely depends on the platform for which they have been developed. So as compared with natives, they need to modify the code to give your apps a functional and decent appearance.

Reliability
Talking about Native apps, they are built for specific operating system using respective SDK, so it is easier for the professionals to exploit all the hardware resources to the app code. Hence, Native apps are reliable, faster and have less prone to crashes.

Reusability
Nothing can be reusable in native app development. For natives, app developers have to write the code from the scratch for each platform and for each project but for cross-platform apps, the app code once written, can be smartly used for future projects or for those apps that needs to be built on other operating systems.

OS Updates
OS updates is the phase where native apps overpower cross-platform apps because these apps promptly support the new features updated by their operating systems. However for cross platform apps, the framework such as Phone gap, Xamrin, Titanium, and Cordova need to be updated first.

Cost
For small companies and startups, building app on cross platform is a better and cost-effective option because maintaining a separate platform and specific teams will be difficult for SMBs and cross platform does not require much investment in terms of team and cost. While big enterprises can afford to have sizable teams and high cost to maintain separate platform for their native apps.

Marketplace
Comparing with native apps, cross platform apps have got extended coverage, more users and an edge over Native counterparts. Cross platform app are available for the users to download from both web browsers and app stores. However Native apps have their own market place in the form of app stores from where uses can install them for free or paid.

If we conclude native as well as cross platform apps features, both the platforms have their own pros and cons. For native apps, they have been leading in terms of user interface, speed, performance and reliability. On the other hands, cross-platform apps is leading in terms of marketplace, mobile app development cost, and reusability. However, it all depends on the business and its needs. If they have budget it is good to go with native otherwise cross platform is a cheaper option for SMBs.

App Maisters Inc. specializes in providing turnkey 360 Mobility Solution to Startups and Enterprises which include not only services like mobile app development on iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, cross platform development(Xamrin development, Phone gap development, Titanium development, Cordova development) but also provide services like business consulting, marketing and maintenance. Contact App Maisters Inc. to build your next mobile app. Contact us now to know more about our services.

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