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Web vs. Hybrid vs. Native Apps; which one is the best for your business

There is little doubt that most businesses need to have a mobile Internet presence or risk losing potential business. However, many company decision makers assume that all mobile applications need to be native apps that are specifically written for each platform, i.e. Android apps, iPhone apps, etc. The truth is that there are other choices, and it is important to select the right one for each business.

Definitions of Mobile Application Types

A short definition of the different kinds of mobile applications may help clear up confusion:

  • Native apps: These are specifically written to run on a specific platform. For example, an application may be written to run under Apple’s IOS or Google’s Android operating system.
  • Web apps: These apps are really like web pages, and they run on many different platforms inside of common browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome just like web pages do.
  • Hybrid apps: These run inside web browsers, like web apps, but they also get written to use the specific device’s browser engine, if not the browser.

Native vs. Web vs. Hybrid Applications

Mobile native apps: Native applications can provide the most features and fastest speeds. However, native apps require the highest level of expertise to develop, and they are restricted to the platform that they were coded for. They also take advantage of the device’s features like the camera or messaging system. Native apps can get uploaded to proprietary app stores.

Web apps: These are developed with common web scripts, like HTML and JavaScript, and indeed, they are basically web pages that have been designed to look and function well on the smaller screens of tablet computers and smart phones. They are independent of devices and do not require the same level of technical expertise to develop as mobile apps.

Hybrid apps: These are web apps that get wrapped in a container that allows them to access the device’s features. Depending upon the developer’s point of view, hybrid applications may bring the best or the worst of both worlds. While they are considered easier to develop than truly mobile apps, they are still dependent upon particular devices. In some cases, it may be possible to upload hybrid apps to proprietary app stores.

Which Type of Application is Right for Your Business?

Given a decent budget and more development time, a business might develop native apps for each major device type. They offer more features and access to all of the features of the mobile device. Even though native applications usually take more time and skill to develop, they generally perform the quickest when run.

At the other end of the spectrum, web applications do not provide access to the device’s native functionality and may run slower. However, they are usually cheaper and faster to develop, and they run on any device with an Internet browser.

Hybrid applications provide a middle road between native and web applications. It could take some time for device containers to get updates, so access to all of the features of a native application may not be immediate, but updates are usually rolled out fairly quickly. Some performance speed may get sacrificed in return for quicker development than native apps.

At Tag Team Design, we are eager to discuss mobile app development with you.

Contact us today to discuss your own mobile business requirements with our development team, so we can help you select the right solution for your unique business.

Have questions about which type of app is right for you? Click here for an hour of free consultation.