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A Breakdown of Hybrid vs. Native Mobile App Development Costs


There are several factors that impact the cost of mobile app development, such as:


  • The project scope, platforms and devices, back-end services, and technologies
  • The type of app development firm
  • Marketing costs and costs beyond development


How Much Does It Cost To Build An App Infographic


For many companies, both large and small, cost is top-of-mind when searching for a mobile app development services and determining the development approach plays a significant role in the decision-making process. Should you go with a hybrid development approach, or choose native app development? Depending on your business objectives and overall goals, this decision could make or break the success of your mobile strategy.


This article will compare the cost of hybrid vs. native mobile app development. Does hybrid app development really cost less? What are the drawbacks? By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of which approach is best for your business.


There is no fixed price for app development; however, there is a common misconception that hybrid app development is consistently less expensive than native app development. This isn’t always the case. In reality, there are many drawbacks to hybrid app development that impact the price of your project.


Here’s a breakdown the of the two app development approaches and their unique factors that impact cost.

Native Mobile App Development

Source: Statistica


Native mobile apps are built for specific platforms and are written in languages that the platform accepts, for example, Swift and Objective-C for iOS apps and Java for native Android apps. Native apps have the best performance and are the most used in the app market as users prefer them to web apps or hybrid apps for their speed and responsiveness. These types of apps are more interactive, intuitive, and offer a better overall user experience.


Native app development is the more expensive option as you’re programming your app for each respective platform (iOS and Android) instead of using the same codebase for two platforms. 


It is easier to maintain two codebases for two applications than it is one codebase for two applications. With native app development, you have fewer dependencies for bugs to occur because you’re not relying on a cross-platform tool such as Xamarin or Cordova. 

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid app development can essentially do everything HTML5 does, except it also incorporates native app features. A wrapper acts as a bridge between platforms to access the native features. A hybrid app consists of two parts. The first is the back-end code built using languages such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The second is a native shell that is downloadable and loads the code using Webview.


Developing only one app for all platforms is an advantage of hybrid app development as it is typically faster, allowing quicker time-to-market. But while hybrid app development is faster than native development, it also has a significant disadvantage, which is that you can’t customize your app the way you would be able to do with a native app. The more customization you want within your hybrid app, the more expensive, and therefore a native solution will end up being more cost-effective. 


A Guide to Web vs. Hybrid. vs. Native App Development


Hybrid apps also access hardware through a bridge which can slow development down and can also amount to a frustrating user experience as the app isn’t built for the specific operating system.

Does Hybrid App Development Really Cost Less?

Hybrid and native app development arguably require the same amount of effort and here’s why. With hybrid app development, you have to contend with issues that stem from both native systems and hybrid systems, which makes fixing bugs more difficult. 


Mobile Developer, Ronak Shastri, argues the disadvantage of having to wait for the third-party developer of the hybrid tool to implement the bridge to new operating system features when he says “with hybrid app development, we are dependent on a cross-platform development tool such as Xamarin or Cordova. Every time new features are released in the UI kit, we need to wait for the tool to support it. When you develop a hybrid app, there’s an added layer that you don’t have control over which can increase the chances of bugs occurring.”


He explains that bugs are a huge concern for hybrid app development when working with the latest features that have been released for a particular operating system, which negatively impacts the cost of development as it may extend the development timeline.

Can You Support Hybrid With In-House Web Developers?

Many people think they can support their hybrid app in-house with their on-site web developers. However, the reality is that these web developers need to understand Native iOS and Android functionality in addition to web development. This means you’ve built a more complex application that will need two different skill sets to support it. Developers with this expertise are difficult to find and a lot more expensive retain. This goes for REACT Native as well. You simply cannot support REACT Native with web developers alone.


Bringing Hybrid development in-house is not always the cheaper option. We recommend that you find a native app development partner to help you build out a team of developers who have the expertise for your mobile app.

It Comes Down To The User Experience

The majority of users will retry a mobile application only once or twice after they’ve had a poor user experience with the first try using the app. For this reason, it’s important to ensure your app will work consistently to avoid abandonment after the first use.


How Much Does it Cost To Build An App: Other Costs To Consider


Native apps win the performance battle by a landslide. A native app is faster and more reliable by nature. It has all the structure, content and visual elements ready to be displayed at any time, providing a more seamless experience.

What’s more is that with hybrid app development, the appearance of your app can vary from user to user, depending on the version of the software they are using and the type of device running your app. As a result, your app may not always look the way you intend and can amount to poor user experience. 


When it comes to the cost of mobile app development, you ultimately get what you pay for.


Although the initial cost may be higher with a native app, you’ll end up saving a lot of time and money in the long run. By offering a great user experience, better performance, and leveraging the device features, you’re able to provide your users with a more personalized experience. The combination of the native mobile app advantages will result in higher conversion rates and will ultimately boost customer loyalty. If you’re looking for a more in-depth breakdown, we’ve outlined the benefits of native mobile app development in this article.


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As a full service custom mobile app development company, Clearbridge Mobile handles the entire lifecycle of your product from Planning and Strategy, UX/UI Design, App Development, QA/User Acceptance Testing, to Technical Delivery. We use a unique agile development process that gives you control over scope, reduces your risk, and provides you predictable velocity. Start a conversation today to get started on your mobile project.

Britt Armour
Britt Armour

Digital Marketing Specialist