Trying to compare the native app against a cross-platform app is not an easy task.
As the underlying technologies of both the cross-platform as well as the native mobile app are constantly evolving, giving a final word on which is the best is not easy.
If you carefully look at the pros and cons of native and cross-platform app development frameworks, you will find that both have their pros and cons.
To give you a broad idea as to how these two types of apps stack up against each other, we have pitched the most important features of these two frameworks so that you get the right information before selecting the best app for your business.
Broadly speaking, there are three important mobile platforms that most of the smartphone users use, which includes iOS, Android, and Windows.
If you are trying to address the North American market, then you should choose an iOS-based app.
On the other hand, if you are looking at the Asian market, then the Android platform would be the right choice to reach out to a larger audience.
If you want to create an app for multiple platforms, then either you can develop a native app for each platform or you can create a single cross-platform app that is supported by different platforms.
Which One is Better – The Native App or a Cross-Platform App?
1. Which One Offers Better Performance
Among the two, the native apps offer optimal performance as they can use the resources of the platform to the maximum extent.
This means that native apps are much faster and more stable compared to the cross-platform app.
The developer of the native app can design it in such a way that the app can fully utilise the features of the platform to offer enhanced capabilities.
The cross-platform app, on the other hand, faces certain performance issues as these apps are made with an underlying theory of one-size-fits-all.
2. Which App Offers More Features
Just like the performance issue, the native apps trump the cross-platform apps when their features are compared.
As the native apps are made for a single platform, it is in a much better position to use the native features of the device.
Furthermore, if you invest in native apps, then you can offer the app users a few offline features, which may not be possible in a cross-platform app.
As the cross-platform app has only partial access to the API, they are not able to fully utilise the native features of the device.
3. Economical And Technical Feasibility
When we talk about the economic and technical feasibility of the native and cross-platform apps, then there is no clear winner.
To break it down in simple language, if you want to invest in a native app, then it is a costly affair and it takes a longer time.
Furthermore, if you want to target multiple platforms like Android, Windows, iOS, and others, you have to build apps for each one of them. On the other hand, cross-platform apps are highly economical as they are relatively cheaper to make than the native apps and easy to maintain.
However, not everything is rosy for the cross-platform apps when we talk about their feasibility. As these apps are made for multiple platforms, you may find several bugs that can affect the performance of the app and affect the user experience adversely.
4. App That Offers The Best User Experience
When you build an app, the most important point you have to consider is the user experience.
If we compare the user experience of a native and a cross-platform app, we will find that the native app wins hands down.
The native apps offer higher performance, blazing speed, as well as greater stability. These apps also offer better user experience than the cross-platform apps.
Additionally, native apps are very responsive and highly intuitive. On the other hand, the developer of a cross-platform app has to choose between offering a more responsive/intuitive app or an app that offers better performance and speed.
5. Target a Larger Number of Users
If you want to reach out to a larger number of users, then you should look at the cross-platform app that runs on Android, Windows, and iOS.
If your target audience uses both Android as well as Apple smartphones, then you should invest in a cross-platform app so that you can reach the maximum number of your audience.
6. Third Party Support
If you build a native app, then you will find many third-party libraries and SDKs.
This is not always the case if you want to invest in a cross-Platform app and the developer has to look at various ways to include the desired functionalities in the app that can take a long time.
7. Highly Scalable
As native apps can use the native tools, these apps are more flexible and scalable and also offer less restriction in the architecture and various functionalities.
Additionally, the interface of a native app is developed in full compliance with the platform for which it is made.
8. Faster Deployment
Cross-platform apps are easy to develop and can be deployed much faster compared to native apps as the developer does not need to learn different technologies to create the app.
As the developer of cross-platform apps does not need different codebases, it is much easier to create and faster to deploy.
Additionally, in case you need to make any future changes, you have to make a single change and not multiple changes for each platform (which is the case for native apps).
When you are deciding whether to choose a native app or a cross-platform app, you must look at your requirements.
If you want to build applications for simple tasks like content distribution or games, then the cross-platform app is more viable than the native app.
Additionally, if you want to build a B2B app, where time is of the essence, then you must invest in a cross-platform app that is easy to build and maintain.
Small businesses with limited budgets also opt for cross-platform app development frameworks as these take less time to build and are cheaper compared to native apps.
However, if you are fixated in offering the best performance and a greater number of features, then you should try to develop a native app for your business.
Therefore, you must look carefully at your target audience, evaluate your needs, and look at your budget to choose whether to invest in a native or a cross-platform app.