Did you know that global app revenue reached a whopping $50 billion in the first half of 2020?
Mobile app development and installs are thriving right now despite the global situation. Building a mobile app for your business can help you reach more customers, extend your offerings and increase your revenue.
Mobile app development for small businesses isn't filled with as many barriers as it used to be. New tools and technologies are removing many of the challenges of app creation.
If you've decided to develop an app, the next step is deciding between building a native app or a cross-platform app. But what's the difference and which one should you choose?
Keep reading to find out.
What Is Native App Development?
'Native app development' is the process of building a mobile app for a specific platform.
Developers create native apps using programming languages and tools that are specific to a single platform. For example, native apps for Android might use Java or Kotlin while native IOS apps are built with Swift or Objective-C.
Native apps are built for a single operating system (OS). So if app developers want to target multiple app stores with their app, they have to create and maintain two separate code bases.
Advantages of Native Apps
There are several benefits to native app development. Here are some of the most obvious advantages.
Native apps have access to a range of functionalities, specific to the OS it's designed for. When developing a native app, you'll have access to all the different tools and APIs offered by the host's platform.
Native app development allows for the creation of complex applications while ensuring stability, security and good performance.
Speed and Performance
Native apps tend to deliver superior performance than cross-platform apps. Why? because of the seamless integration between the app itself and the host's operating system.
Native apps deliver a great user experience as they are tailored towards a specific operating system. This means they can make use of functionalities specific to that system. App visuals are also tailored to a specific OS, so aesthetics are high-quality.
Ranks Highly on App Stores
Apps with better user experience rank higher on the app stores. This leads to greater visibility, more downloads and increased profits. Thanks to their high performance and ease-of-use, native apps often occupy higher positions on app stores than cross-platform apps.
Disadvantages of Native Apps
While there are many advantages to building a native app, there are also several downsides. Here's what you need to know.
Costly to Develop
Building a native app for both Android and IOS is costly and time-consuming. Instead of working on one code base, you'll need two development teams working on two different code bases.
That's right. You can't simply copy your code from one platform to another. It needs to be rewritten.
This raises the cost of development significantly and increases the time it takes to launch your app.
Needs More Support
Native app development involves building and maintaining multiple codebases. Updates have to be made and deployed on two separate platforms. This results in more support and maintenance needed to keep your app running smoothly.
What Is Cross-Platform App Development?
Cross-platform app development is the process of building a single app that runs on multiple platforms. In other words, developers build a single codebase which can then be deployed on both IOS and Android.
Cross-platform app development is an 'all-in-one' approach which saves time and money.
Developers build cross-platform apps using special frameworks.
React Native is a popular framework that utilizes the benefits of React.JS while allowing developers to write modules in Swift, Objective-C or Java. React Native is an open-source framework with a large community behind it.
Flutter is another cross-platform app framework released by Google in 2017. Flutter allows developers to build high performing apps that run on several platforms.
Advantages of Cross-Platform Apps
Are you still wondering what's so great about cross-platform development? Here are some of the main advantages of building a cross-platform app.
Cross-platform apps are built using the "write once, run anywhere" approach which means developers only need to work on a single code base. This reduces costs and shortens the development time.
Cross-platform app developers only need to work with a small set of tools and technologies during development. This results in faster build times and quicker deployment.
Future changes and updates to the app only need to be done once, without worrying about different operating systems.
Disadvantages of Cross-Platform Apps
Just like native apps, cross-platform apps also have several downsides. Here are two of the biggest disadvantages of building a cross-platform app.
Reduced Functionality and Performance
Cross-platform apps aren't built for one specific platform. This makes it harder for developers to make use of smartphone functionalities like the camera, microphone etc.
Furthermore, cross-platform apps require an additional layer of rendering which can impact speed and performance.
Lack of Flexibility
Cross-platform apps can't make use of native UX components, which means they are limited in terms of layout and aesthetics. Cross-platform apps can't deliver the same level of user-experience as native apps and this can also impact their app store rankings.
Mobile App Development For Small Businesses: Which Is Right For You?
When it comes to mobile app development for small businesses, there are advantages and disadvantages to both native and cross-platform apps.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your goals and your budget. If you want to build a high performing, secure app that delivers a killer user-experience, then develop a native app.
However, if you're limited in terms of budget, a cross-platform app can satisfy all your needs while reducing costs and development time.
We specialize in helping small businesses with marketing, branding, social media and more! If you're looking to grow your business, then contact us today.