Native vs Hybrid vs PWA: Making the Right Choice for your Mobile App
By Ambab Infotech
As the smartphone industry continues to grow and evolve in India, so does the app industry in India, as well as customer usage habits. A new report by Consumer Education and Research Centre and Chase India outlines some of the evolving app trends among Indian users, as well as identifying key high potential areas in the market. According to the data, 50% of users used more than one web browser, 42% used more than one online shopping app, 48% used more than one messaging platform, and 28% used more than one cab service app. This means that multiple apps compete for customer attention in an increasingly competing & dynamic market environment.
Due to advance technology, year by year people are spending more time on mobile devices to access the internet. In fact, people consume 2x the amount of content on mobile than they do on the desktop. Website owners should be excited about this prospect in 2019 as the opportunity to reach these mobile users is still getting bigger each year.
All of this means one thing, businesses need to be where their users are and the users are definitely on their smartphones. This trend is not dying any soon and adopting a mobile-first strategy has become indispensable for every business across industries.
The few questions you need to answer when you start with any mobile application is technology. We at Ambab have a wide experience with different types of mobile applications and we help our clients to implement the best strategy for them, within the budget and the timelines.
Let’s compare Native, Hybrid and PWA to find which one is best suited for your next mobile app and to help you understand how to make the right choice.
Native apps: Native apps are built in a specific programming language, for the specific device platform, either iOS or Android.
- These apps are developed in either Swift/Objective — C for iOS Apps OR Java/Kotlin when developing an app for Android
- A Native app is responsive to an operating system and hence interacts with the in-built device features like Camera, GPS, etc
- These apps are available on the google play store or iOS app store
- Native apps offer a fast, responsive and robust experience to the user and they are reliable.
- These apps can make use of push notification feature which helps to alert the user about the updates, offers, discounts, etc and an opportunity to bring your audience back on app for more
- They use the least amount of hardware because of efficient coding
- Some examples of native apps are Pokémon Go, TechCrunch, Netflix, etc.
Ambab Recommendation: Native applications undoubtedly give the best user experience and are resilient when it comes to performance. So we recommend building native applications when the application is expected to have a lot of graphical interactions, use of different sensors like Bluetooth, gyroscope, accelerometer, etc.
It must be noted that native development needs efforts and expertise of both, iOS and Android. Hence, overall it would be more expensive to develop and maintain the application.
Hybrid apps: Hybrid apps are those that are developed using a single code language for multiple platforms.
- Hybrid mobile apps’ architecture, rely on plugins to access the built-in features of a device. The disadvantage of such a method is that those plugins can be out of date or unreliable
- Some frameworks support hot deployments which makes it easier to roll out updates
- They are available on both platforms and the majority of the codebase can be used for both the platforms
- Deployment, distribution, and updates are easier as they don’t require an update in an app store – the updates can be visible immediately.
- There is no app store approval process to slow down or prevent the launch. Development is much quicker and with significantly lower costs
- Some examples of hybrid apps are Instagram, Uber, Evernote
Ambab Recommendation: Applications that require rapid prototyping for both platforms and is not very rich in graphics are best suited to be built with a hybrid stack like React Native, Ionic, or PhoneGap.
Applications built with this stack may not be suitable when there is high performance expected. But these applications are comparatively more cost-effective and also easier to maintain as the same tech is used to develop the application for both the platforms.
PWA (Progressive Web App): Progressive Web Apps are essentially still websites. PWAs are not downloaded and installed, though they can be pinned, and operate within browsers. PWAs are a Google initiative and there is currently no support for Apple devices.
- It is highly responsive, reliable and provides best user experiences
- PWA’s can be cost-saving because developing a single codebase only requires one team and takes less time because most development is done using standard web technologies
- PWAs are not the best when it comes to performance as it runs in the browser. PWAs also cannot access a device’s Bluetooth, proximity sensors, ambient light, advanced camera controls, wake lock, contacts, and more, which could make the app less personal for users
- Basically, PWAs are offline web applications
- PWA helps in web search SEO as it works more like any other websites
- Some examples of PWA are MakeMyTrip, Forbes, BookMyShow, Twitter Lite and many more
Ambab Recommendation: A PWA is best fitted for small applications that do not require any high graphics and sensors, typically an e-commerce application, or a news application.
PWA can be an excellent choice where content discovery plays an important role. It reduces the development and maintenance cost and delivers an application for mobile as well as the web with one single code base.