The native vs. cross-platform debate has evolved over the years. Yet it sharply divides app developers and owners along the lines of performance and technology involved. Mobile app development technologies for both native and cross-platform are advancing rapidly. And the demands for both categories of apps have remained steady. However, they have their advantages and shortfalls. This blog will explore all those.
Mobile app developers usually prefer between native and cross-platform based on their technical expertise. While the app category is likely to be chosen per the app owner’s requirements, technology plays an undeniable role. Since the performance of your app has direct impacts on your business, considering all the pros and cons of native and cross-platform will help you make an informed decision.
How Native and Cross-Platform Apps are Different
Long story short: Native apps are built for one specific platform while cross-platform apps are designed to run on different platforms. Hence native apps are written in languages compatible with the platform it is designed for. For instance, native Android app development uses languages like Kotlin and Java. Whereas native iOS apps are written in Objective C and Swift, among other languages.
A native Android app will not run on the iOS operating system and vice versa. And that’s where the fundamental difference between native and cross-platform lies. The latter can run on both iOS and Android platforms. App developers leverage advanced cross-platform app development frameworks to create seamless performance across platforms. Flutter, React Native, Ionic, Xamarin are some of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks.
Native vs. Cross-platform App Comparison
When it comes to performance, native apps have the advantage of having more resources. Besides, they can also leverage the capabilities of the platform (think Android or iOS) to its optimal potential. That’s the main reason native apps usually have superior speed and responsiveness. They are also less likely to crash. Native app developers can optimize the app to highlight the best features offered by the platform.
Cross-platform apps, whereas has got a bad reputation for performance. These apps are built to run on multiple platforms. So, the one-size-fits-all approach somehow affects performance. Nonetheless, rapidly evolving platforms like Flutter and React Native significantly resolve the performance issues.
Native apps can best use the features of the device and the OS. For instance, iOS native apps can leverage features that are exclusive to Apple devices. Likewise, there are Android features that are only accessible to native app development for the platform.
Some native features are not available for cross-platform apps. These restrictions are usually due to the limited access to the API. Cross-platform app developers try to avoid making assumptions to avoid different platforms. These sometimes lead to limited features in cross-platform apps.
User experience is the most important element of an app. Whether your building native or cross-platform, focus on providing immersive user experience. User experience is a cumulative impact of elements like performance, speed, and design, and content of the app, among other things. App designers and developers have more liberty to enhance these elements in a native app. Besides, native apps can also seamlessly utilize the device’s in-built features. So, native apps are clearly the winner when it comes to overall user experience.
Using the right cross-platform app development framework, developers can create a frictionless experience. But many cross-platform app features often come at a cost of speed. Fulfilling the UX requirements of different platforms at the same time is a challenging task.
Development Cost & Time
The development time for native apps is much longer than cross-platform apps. More the development time, the higher the cost. Besides, you need to develop different apps for different platforms. This also significantly adds to the development cost. Maintenance, too, costs more for native apps. Developers need to separately identify and resolve bugs and issues for different platforms.
Both development time and costs are comparatively lower for cross-platform app development. Since you are investing just on one app for all platforms, it saves a lot of money. Nevertheless, the maintenance cost may overshadow these benefits if your app is not built right. The best way is to choose a reputed mobile app development company with vast experience in cross-platform apps.
It’s evident that native apps seem to be the winner in different aspects. However, we cannot ignore the benefits of having a cross-platform app as well. Besides, the way you develop the app ultimately determines its performance. Mobile apps with simpler functionalities are developed as cross-platform whereas more sophisticated features demand native capabilities. Cross-platform apps are more popular in B2B settings since deployment time more crucial. Besides, some small and medium businesses prefer cross-platform for lower costs.
At Android Developer, we build both native and cross-platform apps per the clients’ business needs. Over the years, we have earned expertise in both native and cross-platform app development. We rely on the most advanced development tools and technologies to deliver best-in-class solutions.
Q. What is native app development?
Native mobile apps are built in a specific programming language, for the specific device platform, either iOS or Android. Native Android apps are written in Java or Kotlin programming languages.
Q. What are cross-platform apps?
Q. Why native apps are better in performance?
Native apps are developed for a specific operating system. These apps take full advantage of the software and the operating systems’ features. These apps can directly access the hardware of the device such as the GPS, camera, microphone, etc. so provide a better user experience.
Q. How much does it cost to build a native Android app?
The costs of developing a native Android app depend on different factors. Design elements, development time, type of features, etc. play an important role in calculating the costs. We develop feature-rich native Android apps at a competitive price.