Native vs Hybrid vs Web App: Understanding the Distinctions

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In this article, we will delve into the differences, advantages, and drawbacks of native apps, hybrid apps, and web apps.

The Importance of Mobile Apps

According to a recent survey, mobile web usage has grown a whopping 504% in daily media consumption since 2011. Additionally, US consumers spend 90% of their mobile time using apps. Ignoring this lucrative market segment can be a significant disadvantage for any business.

Exploring App Development Options

When it comes to app development, there are three primary categories to consider: native, hybrid, and web-based. Each option offers unique benefits and drawbacks that can significantly impact the success of your app.

The Available Platforms

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s first consider the available ecosystems. In the current mobile market, Android by Google and iOS by Apple are the two main contenders. However, it’s important to note that Android has captured a staggering 87% of the global mobile market share. If you’re aiming for international recognition, prioritizing app development for Google’s mobile ecosystem is crucial.

Now that we’ve addressed this crucial aspect, let’s explore the key differences between native and hybrid mobile apps.

Hybrid Mobile Apps

As the name suggests, hybrid mobile apps occupy a middle ground between native and web apps, incorporating the best features of both. This hybrid model has contributed to the increasing popularity of hybrid app development services. These apps can be installed on the device and run through any web browser.

Benefits of Hybrid Apps

  • Platform-agnostic availability: Since hybrid apps use a shared web codebase, they can be used on both iOS and Android devices.
  • Affordable development process: Hybrid apps are cost-effective and easy to develop while still being featured on native app stores.
  • Seamless device access: Unlike web apps, hybrid apps have access to essential internal features like push notifications and GPS tracking.
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Drawbacks of Hybrid Apps

  • Steep learning curve: Developing hybrid apps involves integrating various frameworks like Cordova, making the process more complex.
  • Inconsistent user experience: Hybrid apps may experience performance issues due to reliance on external resources and internet speed.

Native Mobile Apps

Native apps are what most people envision when discussing mobile applications. These apps are downloaded from the native app store and have prominent icons on the device’s home screen. They are developed using the coding language specific to the native OS (e.g., Objective-C for iOS devices) and offer the most consistent performance.

Benefits of Native Apps

  • Speed and reliability: Native apps are loaded and run by the native OS, resulting in fast and reliable performance.
  • Full access to device resources: Native apps integrate seamlessly with the native OS, allowing interaction with all system features.
  • Superior user interface: Native apps are optimized and designed to meet the standards of the native OS, providing a user-friendly interface.
  • App store visibility: Native apps have better visibility in app stores, increasing the chances of organic discovery by new users.

Drawbacks of Native Apps

  • Substantial upfront costs: Native apps require more investment compared to other alternatives, especially when targeting both iOS and Android ecosystems.
  • Requires OS expertise: Native apps need to be compatible with previous OS versions and utilize unique resources, requiring developers with specialized knowledge and experience.

Web Mobile Apps

Web apps can be described as websites that look and behave like mobile apps. Although this concept may seem limiting, recent examples of progressive web apps have demonstrated the significant advancements in this area. Unlike native and hybrid apps, web apps are built entirely using web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript).

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Benefits of Web Apps

  • Comparative simplicity: Web apps, being app-like websites, are straightforward, cost-effective, and quick to develop with excellent cross-platform appeal.
  • Ease of maintenance: With a shared codebase, developers can easily maintain web apps regardless of the native OS. Users receive updates automatically without manual intervention through app stores.
  • No market approval process: Web apps are not featured in native app stores, eliminating the demanding and often tiresome approval process.

Drawbacks of Web Apps

  • Compromised performance: Web apps operate within a browser environment, limiting access to device functions and intuitive navigation options present in native apps. They also rely on external resources like internet speed.


This overview provides insights into the current state of the mobile app market. It’s important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in app development. Consider the unique needs of your business and choose the type of app that will provide the most significant benefits. Making the right choice from the beginning will set your app up for success.

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