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Hybrid versus native apps

The increased importance of mobile interaction is in the process of turning apps into important sales and business tools. As businesses develop mobile strategies, the desire for creating mobile apps that fulfill all the necessary interoperability, offline capability and security requirements needed to enable business to operate in a mobile friendly manner continues to climb. It then becomes a matter of deciding which is best, hybrid or native apps.
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A native app is an application that is written in the native programming language of the device.  For example, this would be Java for Android and Objective-C for Apple.  Native apps have certain advantages, they can easily access other elements of the device such as a camera.  Native apps also tend to be faster and more reliable.

The hybrid app is built around web tech like HTML-5 and then wrapped in a shell designed to fit a specific platform.  Normally, there are also APIs that enable access to device features and hardware.

Which is best, native or hybrid, depends on a number of factors including the purpose of the application as well as cost and time available for development.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Native apps generally offer better performance, such as better transitions and load times, which makes them a good option for slower devices.  They provide complete access to the device operating system and hardware and they can also store more data offline.  They have disadvantages as well.  Build cost is initially higher and cost continues to increase for each additional platform.  It also takes more time to build a native app, especially when you consider that it will need to be rebuilt for each new device.

Hybrid apps use web technology which can be accessed by any mobile device with a browser.  This means shorter development time and faster deployment.  Development costs are therefore lower.  The fact that hybrid apps use interpreted code means that they will be a bit slower.  It also means that they will not have full access to the operating system on the device.

As mobile applications become more sophisticated the pros tend to stay, while the cons diminish.  Native and hybrid apps are looking and operating more and more like each other all the time.  There may come a point in the near future when it really doesn't matter anymore.  However, that is still a few years away, and whether you choose to develop a native or hybrid app depends a great deal on what you want the application to do and what your business goals are.

Applications will continue to be developed as more and more companies use apps to bring their businesses into the lives of customers through mobile devices, and those customers increasingly appreciate the convenience that mobile applications provide.

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