When the first handheld mobile phone was introduced, nobody expected that the mobile development industry will be as competitive as it is now. Basic phone functions like calling and sending messages is no longer enough to satisfy the needs of mobile users – thus the development of smartphones. The release of first iPhone in 2007 marks a new revolution not just for mobile but for the development of applications for these devices. It didn’t take long before the new Operating Systems like Android and Windows divided the already competitive and fast evolving market.
The division of Operating Systems (OS) led to the development of different applications for each platform, which in turn requires a lot of time that most of the companies, whether big or small, does not have. Since smartphones have become so important, enterprises want to have their apps available for as many people as possible. This only means the development of, at least, one iOS and one Android app with the same content. As a solution, hybrid mobile applications that take advantage of the latest version of HTML 5 as a cross-platform app were created.
The mobile market of offers is expanding and becoming more competitive and expensive everyday. Mobile app sales statistics indicate that year after year gadget users switch default services to alternative ones. The built-in mobile task manager is replaced with a new To-Do-List app in town, the default mail client is substituted with the new and fresh Mailbox app and Evernote is now preferred to the standard note editor.
“What situations may call for a hybrid approach? Let’s say the customer requires a straightforward newsfeed that contains nothing but text and images. With this task in mind, the developer is right to choose the cross-platform approach. But if after a while the customer wants the app to store a large amount of data or process sound or graphics, the task becomes more complex. The developer now has to write native code for each specific platform, and the app that was once fully cross-platform goes hybrid.”Business of Apps
Mobile applications make people’s lives easier and more convenient. However, in the case when a mobile application takes a lot of time to give out responses, anyone would not feel like using it. This is one of the major challenges that native mobile app developers will have to face. For example, if a mobile application is associated with large images, it would obviously take some time for the network to load those images. Hybrid mobile apps are in a position to help users stay away from this hassle. It can deliver a seamless and fast mobile app experience to the users.
A consistent user application experience across multiple mobile platforms is one of the main reasons behind hybrid application’s popularity. Users can expect the applications to be instantly responsive on different devices and deliver a glitch-free experience. Hybrid apps core idea is the “information is just a tap away”. While it displays data faster and adjusts to different device screen configurations immediately, it also resolves the concerns of the fluctuating data streaming capabilities. Being lightweight, the hybrid application user interface (UI) can also load the large sizes of high-definition graphics and content quickly.
Like native apps, hybrid apps can also be installed on the device and can be launched just like any other mobile applications. These native attributes make hybrid apps virtually indistinguishable from a native app. It is a popular fallacy that behind every icon on the user’s desktop there is a native app. Many people even don’t realize that popular ―native mobile applications like LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Twitter are actually hybrid applications. It provides good look and seamless experience to its users.
Installing and downloading a new mobile app can be a challenge to users. However, a large percentage of these users still continue to use the mobile applications after downloading. As per 2013 statistics, smartphone users are downloading an average of 80 million mobile applications per month. However, this doesn’t mean that all the people who download apps keep on using them. Hybrid mobile application development is in a position to keep the app users away from frustration associated with this.
Hybrid applications offer full device access, including the ―native-only features in mobile apps, like the use of address book, microphone and camera. Like native apps, hybrid apps leverage the device’s internal programming system through an overlay which helps to enable seamless synchronization with other compatible apps. This reduces the integration issues for developers. In turn, the hybrid apps work well with the device’s native applications such as camera, messaging, GPS, etc. to ensure a smooth user experience. As a result, the hybrid mobile apps would work perfectly well with messaging, cameras, GPS, and other device information in order to provide the best possible user experience. This can contribute towards enhanced customer satisfaction at the end of the day.
While not usually a requirements for business applications, some companies needed the wide consumer distribution feature offered by the apps store both for Android, Windows and IOS. For these companies, hybrid applications are the best option. One mobile web application combined with a hybrid mobile framework lets businesses easily create the applications ―native apps and hybrid for distribution in every major mobile app store for new generation of users.
For businesses that prefer the native applications look and feel, without the high development costs, hybrid mobile application is the best choice. Hybrid development is cheaper as some solutions are quicker to create with HTML and JS than with Objective-C or Java. While it is not as simple as the mobile web application, building a cross-platform hybrid mobile app is considerably cheaper than building a cross-platform native app.
The resources and cost need to develop hybrid app are easily accessible by the organization. Hybrid application development is consists of building a mobile web application and then the wrapping these apps in platform-specific native wrappers. It also utilizes web technology in order to build applications which make resources easily available to develop an application. This process lets businesses develops cross-platform hybrid apps using their current web development skills in market.
Hybrid application also gets the task done sooner than any native or web mobile app. In the fiercely competitive digital era where ‘time to market’ has become critical than ever, cost efficiency plays a vital role in helping enterprises build and get their product to the market in no time. With set of libraries and various development frameworks such as PhoneGap and Xamarin, hybrid application developers can accelerate the development process and submit the app to various app stores to save both time and cost.
Unlike a web application, a hybrid application is designed to make use of all the features available or soon to be available in different mobile devices. Though native apps also utilize all the device features, maintaining the application alone is already quite a challenge both for users and developers alike. Developers have to roll out new updates in the form of new versions and users are required update the app every time a new version is launch. A hybrid application bypasses versioning and makes app maintenance as simple as updating a web page, that too in real time. This level of flexibility further simplifies the scalability needs of any business that plans to maximise the benefits of a hybrid mobile app.
Just like native mobile applications, hybrid mobile applications also use the API of the device in order to store some useful information offline. With the continuous increase in the cost of mobile data plans, this can be prominent benefit that could be delivered to customers who prefer to save money that is meant to be spent on data. Some mobile users have poor connectivity with their mobile devices, and the offline usage capabilities associated with hybrid mobile applications can impress them, as well. As a result, they will be able to use the mobile app without the frustrations the come with online only mobile applications.
There’s no clean winner between the two mobile application development approaches. Both native and hybrid mobile applications are ways to fulfil the different needs and preferences of different mobile users and developers. In reality, none of them can be thought as a perfect solution as they both have their advantages over the other. With the many benefits a hybrid mobile application can bring, it is no wonder why more businesses are leaning towards choosing to invest in this development project compared to the native mobile application development.
The only thing solid is that when you build mobile apps, it might take a little more investments (in time and money) but the end product is well worthwhile. With all the advantages of hybrid mobile application we mentioned above, all you need is a bright idea and good mobile application development company to bring your ideas to life.