Smartphone on phone holder in car.

Web Apps vs. Hybrid Apps vs. Native Apps – What is Best For Your Business

Why choose a mobile app?

Data over the past few years has proven that the mobile market has overtaken the desktop market, and app usage has surpassed desktop usage. Now, even the App Store model has taken over the desktop PC model. As a result of this movement, organizations are forced to rethink what is better for their growth.

When it comes to developing mobile apps, things can get confusing because there are 3 kinds: hybrid, web-based and native.

Choosing the Right Kind of App

First and foremost, when a user arrives at a website via a mobile device and the experience isn’t good, chances are the user won’t visit again. So here comes the web app, which is the next step after making your website responsive.

Web Apps

This is an app accessible from a mobile browser. Web apps have dual benefits because they are accessible from both a smartphone or desktop computer and work well with Windows, Mac, Android or iPhone.

Another advantage is that web apps do not require the user to download them, which removes the need for device memory. Distribution is easy and development costs are lower.

However, these lightweight web apps come with some disadvantages as well. Since they run over the browser, they can’t use phone hardware or a phone’s graphical ability.

Another web app called Progressive Web Apps (PWA) can send push notifications and use phone’s camera, mic or haptic feedback. Here comes the clause, PWA can only be used for Chrome.

Native Apps

Native apps are applications end users install on their phones. These applications are built differently for different platforms.

These apps can be fully integrated with mobile devices and use device hardware like a camera, microphone, GPS and proximity sensors that enhance the user’s experience.

Native apps can utilize the full ability of the device’s processor and provide elegant, advanced animations and native UI that cannot be replicated by web apps. These apps also have support from Google and Apple for their corresponding devices.

Drawbacks of Native Apps:

  • More skill and knowledge are required for the underlying architecture.
  • The cost of development is high because different teams are required for Android and iOS development.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps provide the best of both worlds. They have the look and feel of a native app with cross-platform accessibility. The backend of a hybrid app is built the same way as a web app with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, but it is wrapped inside the shell of a native app and allows access to the phone’s hardware through the shell.

Hybrid apps maintain a lower development cost but include the functionalities of a native app and are downloadable via App Stores. UI of these apps remains consistent over Android phones and iPhones.

Hybrid apps are developed on a common platform like Ionic, Cordova but the code is compiled differently for Android, iPhone, and windows.

Drawbacks of Hybrid Apps:

  • Advanced functionality is still limited.
  • Performance is not as good as a native application.
  • The UI is non-native.

Which one is the best choice?

Hybrid apps should be used for prototyping or building demo apps when your team consists only of front-end developers and there is a small budget.

If you require high end and full-scale apps then you should go for Native apps.

Web apps should only be used when you want to move your business from a website to mobile devices.


Mohit Bhagat