Markets worldwide have evolved through mobile. Emergence in mobile usage brings a strong wave of app downloads and app usage in densely populated and developing markets like India and Indonesia. This brings about a positive change for both, the consumers as well as the producers.
Talking about app development, we know the two most popular markets today are Android Play Store and Apple App store. Let’s focus on Android market for now. The two most popular languages in use currently for native Android app development are Kotlin and Java.
Google encourages the use of kotlin and wants developers to write their apps using Kotlin programming language. Whether you are someone who’s involved in Kotlin application development services or a freelance Kotlin developer, the buzz around Google’s new programming language keeps on rising steadily.
For someone who is looking to get an Android app developed, the most confusing part is the research phase. With multiple options available, the problem of choice paralysis is sure to arise. The very first roadblock one hits is, whether to get a native app developed or a cross-platform app?
What is native application?
In very simple terms native mobile apps are developed for a specified mobile platform with programming languages and technologies that are native to the technology. iOS apps are written in Objective-C and Swift and Android apps in Java or Kotlin. Whereas C++ is used for native Windows and Blackberry apps.
Talking in layman terms, Native apps mark their place on the devices and are mostly accessed with the help of the icons on the device home screen. They are installed through an application store like Google Play or Apple’s App Store. Native apps are developed in a way where they can take full advantages of all the device features like cameras, the GPS, the accelerometers, the compass, the list of contacts, battery icon and so on, along with incorporate gestures.
In a nutshell, Native apps are the ones hand-tailored for a particular type of device or Operating System.
Advantages of Native Apps:
- Gives complete access to all the built-in features
- Developers have access to SDKs
- Has native UI/UX
- Perfect for solving complicated tasks
- Google Maps and Facebook for iOS and Android are the best examples of native apps
What is a cross-platform application?
As the name suggests, a cross-platform app is developed where it can be used across multiple operating systems. Cross-platform development is the perfect solution for someone who wants to release a mobile app on different platforms at one go but not having to spend much time or money like in native app development. Developers just have to write a single code base, and re-use that same code base for release on different platforms. Most companies opt for Xamarin app development when it comes to building a cross-platform app.
Hybrid apps can be defined as applications that are a part of the native apps as well as a part the web apps. They bridge the gap between different mobile apps. Exactly like the native apps, they live in an app store and can take advantages of all the device features available. And, like web apps, they rely on the HTML being rendered in a browser, considering the fact that the browser is embedded within the apps.
Hybrid apps are built as wrappers for an existing web page. This gives the companies an opportunity to have their own presence in the app store, without spending significant efforts for developing a different app. Hybrid apps are popular because they allow the cross platform development of mobile apps, thereby reducing the development costs further.
Advantages of a cross-platform app?
- Provides re-usable, robust code
- Highly cost-effective
- Uniformity of code is not lost
- Apps like Untappd, Bit Timer etc are cross-platform apps that have same working mechanism across iOS, Android, and Windows.
The more you will dig for answers on the internet, the deeper the burrow will go but you will never reach the bottom. There tons and tons of articles stating why a particular choice is better than the other. But these articles do not change the fact that in the end, it all boils down to what is your aim as an entrepreneur? If you have money to spend and want to build an in-depth, comprehensive app which has tailored functionalities across different platforms, go for native app development.
If you are looking to build an MVP, and want to make a cost-effective app cross-platform app development will fit your needs.