You’ve made the decision to develop an app for your business, but you’re unsure whether a native app or a hybrid app is the best fit for your needs. With over 65% of consumers reporting that their expectations for apps have increased over time, the decision you make next is an important one.

So, which is better…native or hybrid? It’s all about finding the right tool for the right job.

App Platforms: What’s the Difference?

Native apps are programmed specifically for the platform they’ll be operated on, like Android or iOS. They are self-contained and are generally known to provide the best user experience. Because they are designed specifically for the mobile device that uses them, native apps tend to have fewer operating errors than other applications.

Hybrid apps are essentially web applications wrapped inside the skeleton of a native app. They’re easier to produce and update, but heavily dependent on the quality of the user’s internet connection. Hybrid apps can be updated by customers using plugins pushed out through the web.

The platform landscape is always evolving. In recent years, additional options have emerged that hope to bridge the gap between performance and efficiency. React Native, for example, is Facebook’s framework solution that allows developers to build cross-platform native apps using a single codebase, creating a seamless UI experience. Microsoft’s platform, Xamarin, reuses about 95% of its code from platform-to-platform, allowing developers to design native apps with only a fraction of the resources.

Do Customers Care?

That’s a great question! It means you’re already thinking about the user experience of your business app, not just the internal functionality. Do customers care whether your app is native or hybrid? Probably not…as long as it works.

There’s the kicker.

Hybrid apps have a lot going for them, but they’re not known for their reliability. Native apps have long been the gold-standard when smooth, clean operation is of paramount importance. They may require more time and resources to develop, but they’re built to perform. And an app that doesn’t work is really just a useless button on a phone, right?

On the flip side, hybrid apps my make sense when you’re up against a tight schedule and a tight budget. For some businesses, an app that exists now is a much better option than an eventual app that provides a better user experience. Hybrid apps use one specific code base, so they only have to be written once, but there will still be platform specific code needed.

Which App is Better for Your Business?

It may be a frustrating answer, but the right app platform for you is all about what your business needs. The end-goal of your app should really dictate how it’s built.

If creating a simple, nimble app-based user experience is what your business needs right now, hybrid development that is flexible and scalable may be the best way to engage your customers. Sometimes it’s about the quick-wins, and hybrid apps can give you the ability to meet market demand efficiently.

All operating systems are not created equal. Each system requires different source coding for the “pinching” motion, for example, or for opening up your device’s camera. Telling your app what you want it to do in the language it speaks is the best way to ensure a seamless user experience from end-to-end, which is where native apps excel.

At Skookum, we believe in finding the balance between innovation and functionality.

The shiniest gadget, website, or app in the world means nothing if it’s not creating value for your customers. What do your customers value, and how can your app support that?

Reach out to Skookum’s mobile development team today to talk about what you want in an app, and to brainstorm what you need.