When it comes to app development, there are lots of different choices. Once you have spent all that time building up your innovative product or service, the time will come when you need to get it to market and in the hands of your customers. Choosing the right mobile app is not only important to ensure your customers have the best user experience, but it is an investment to help grow your business.
If you have carried out your research you will probably already be aware that some brands build native apps from scratch, whilst others may have a web or hybrid app. What does all of this technical jargon mean though, and what is the difference between all of these types of apps? Let’s have a look in further detail, and run through some of the pros and cons.
Native apps are created specifically for one platform or operating system (OS), so the main ones are native iOS apps and native Android mobile apps. As they are built specifically for one platform you can’t mix and match. So a native app that works on an iPhone will not work on an Android phone.
Native apps are often a lot faster and reliable in terms of performance as they are designed for a specific platform. They also take the User Interface of the native device, which gives a more seamless user experience. As they connect directly to the device’s hardware, native apps can be built to take advantage of these features – for example Bluetooth and integration of phone contacts.
The main disadvantage of native apps is that if you want to make it available on other devices further on down the line, you will have to duplicate your efforts. The code used for one platform cannot be used for another, so it can start to become an expensive project.
One final thing to be aware of is that each time there is an app update, the user has to download the new file and reinstall it. This can take up a lot of memory on the mobile device.
Web apps are responsive versions of a website and can work on any mobile device (as they are built on a mobile browser). They are not standalone apps that you have to download and install on your device. To the user it may seem like they have ‘installed’ the web app, but what has actually happened is that the browser bookmarks the URL on their device.
Development costs are often a lot lower with web apps as they are not built for a specific platform or software. Updating the app is a lot easier too as the changes are just pushed live – no need for the user to download an updated version on the app store.
You do need to remember that there are lots of different types of browser – Chrome, Safari and Edge are the main ones. This means that when developing a web app, some functionalities may be available on one browser but not on another. They also rely on an internet connection. Even if they have an offline function, the app will still need to be backed up once online again.
Hybrid apps are exactly as they sound, a combination of both native and web apps. The idea is to develop the core modules using the technology of a native app, whilst delivering it on a web interface. So in essence, they are web apps that have the look and feel of native apps. They may have a home screen app icon, and can function offline, but in reality they are web apps designed to look native.
Building a hybrid app is much quicker than building a native app. They provide the user with a consistent experience as they load rapidly and don’t solely rely on an internet connection. There is also less code to maintain as they are developed using web technologies.
The only real disadvantage of a hybrid app is that they may not be as powerful or as fast as native apps due to them being web-based as opposed to built for one specific operating system.
Choosing the right mobile app
So now we have explained the different types of apps available, you may still not be sure on which app is right for your business. There are lots of different factors to consider – the level of performance you require, speed, and the resources you have to build the app. The team at Lyke Ltd have been developing custom apps for years now, and we can help guide you in the right direction. Get in touch with the team today to help you choose the right mobile app – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01472 897335.