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A guide to choosing between native and hybrid apps

native vs hybrid apps

Nowadays, mobile apps have become a dynamic instrument for companies, offering unmatched efficiency in building contacts with clients. With the market growth of smartphones, many companies choose various modes to incorporate mobile apps into their work processes and expand their reach on the market. A common challenge for companies when it comes to creating an app is choosing between a hybrid or native app and deciding which one is best according to their functionalities.

This blog post wants to confront the most important aspects of native and hybrid apps, offering at the same time a first-step decisional guide.


Native applications

Native apps are applications for smartphones or tablets developed for only one platform, using the specific technology of the platform producer. In the case of Apple smartphones, it's iOS; in the case of Android smartphones, it's Android. The main advantage of a native app is its speed; thanks to its proximity to its respective operating system, it's possible to obtain maximum performance.

However, the main disadvantage is similarly evident: if one wants to make their application available for both platforms, the development effort doubles. Let's say that native app development guarantees that all interfaces function evenly with hardware and without errors. This results in high-performing and intuitive applications specifically developed for their respective operating systems.

If you're doubtful about which operating system to choose for your application, we suggest you read our article, "App development: Android or iOS?"


Hybrid applications

Hybrid applications, also called cross-platform applications, are applications that are developed only once in one programming language (usually Javascript) and are then published on both Android and iOS platforms. Theoretically, programming the app once is sufficient; the app is then executed on both operating systems without the need for big adaptations. Frameworks like Xamarin, Cordova, Ionic, or Phonegap facilitate app development for their respective operating systems. These frameworks also help submit the source code to the respective operating system's interfaces, creating a sort of bridge towards interfaces.

To this scope, the app is usually developed more abstractly in a third technology, for example Javascript, so that there's no need to compromise in the device functions, but the single functions are then newly and explicitly programmed for their respective platform; an enormous advantage is that with one hybrid app an only code basis is created, greatly reducing initial development costs as well as further extensions and maintenance. However, some compromises are usually required in terms of performance. 

If a couple of years ago this aspect was still quite visible, today the differences are almost imperceptible for most applications, as a lot has been optimised and specific technologies are being used for each platform. Examples of hybrid applications today are Instagram and Facebook. 


Native app advantages 

  • Native apps are specifically developed for the respective operating systems and use the device's resources optimally. 
  • Native apps' usability has greatly improved, as the apps use special elements in the user's interface that are familiar.
  • A native app seems to be of higher quality because native apps' performances are better. 
  • High-quality native apps are usually better valued and position themselves higher on the store compared to hybrid apps.
  • An Android or iOS developer has experience in the corresponding operating system and can contribute to increasing the app's quality. 


Hybrid app advantages 

  • The development costs of a hybrid app are lower because the app is developed only once.
  • The development time of hybrid apps is lower than that of native apps, as they are developed once. 
  • The maintenance costs of a hybrid app are inferior to those of native apps.
  • There are many libraries of native apps that developers can use and integrate into their apps.


Which is better, native apps or hybrid apps? What if there was a third way?

The advantages and descriptions of both approaches show that there is no better or worse when it comes to 'native vs. hybrid apps'. One must always consider the use case and the requirements of the application. If the customer attaches great importance to quality and performance, a native app is preferable. If you want to target a large number of users with the smallest possible budget and the performance requirements of the application are low, a hybrid app is preferable.

What if there was a third way? So far we have talked about two ways, but there is a third way, which can be accessed by using frameworks such as Flutter or React Native. These frameworks combine certain advantages of native app development and hybrid apps, while at the same time trying to overcome their limitations. Flutter is a framework developed by Google that compiles its code into native code for various platforms. React, developed by Facebook, gives the possibility to reuse much of the code between different platforms, while still maintaining a native look and feel.

Flutter and React Native thus enable developers to write a single code base that can be distributed across multiple platforms and thus also allow native compilation. This reduces both development costs, as the code is only created once, and long-term maintenance costs.



You should use native apps if you give a lot of importance to high quality. For example, if you offer in-app products or a paid app, the user expects high quality. The user could be rapidly disappointed by a poor-performing app or its scarce usability. Another reason to rely on native apps occurs when the application requires a lot of performance, e.g., for the visualisation of complex graph content, 3D animations, or similar. Of course, for native apps, one must always predict a higher budget to cover both operating systems. Higher maintenance costs must also be considered in the calculation.

Hybrid apps can always be used if the application doesn't have high performance requirements. For instance, a simple app to showcase your portfolio or range of services Take into account that the app does not dispose of specific user interface elements of the operating system, and the user can stumble rapidly with poor usability.


For companies searching for an affable partner in the development of mobile apps, DevInterface presents itself as an excellent choice. Thanks to our experience in the tech sector and a highly qualified team of developers, we create both native and hybrid apps, ensuring that every project receives the best approach to reaching the set objectives.

We are committed to delivering a high quality user experience, optimised performance and advanced functionality, for both iOS and Android platform users, with a collaborative approach and meticulous attention to detail. For more information and to start your journey towards extraordinary apps, please do not hesitate to contact us, you can schedule an initial no-obligation call to tell us about your idea or project, we will guide you towards choosing the best technologies and implementation strategies.