Building a mobile app has become a top priority for many companies. However, it’s often difficult to choose a development approach as the lines between the various options are becoming increasingly blurred. In our recent post, A Guide to Mobile
App Development: Web vs Native vs Hybrid, we broke down the three options and outlined the pros and cons for each. This article will dive deeper into Native Mobile App Development and the benefits of choosing this particular development approach.
Native mobile app development involves building apps for specific mobile operating systems. Users can then access them from dedicated app stores (such as the App Store or Google Play). If you intend to build an application for iOS, app developers will use programming languages Objective-C or Swift. In contrast, developing for Android calls for the programming languages Java or Kotlin.
Both Apple and Google provide app developers with their own development tools, interface elements, and software development kits (SDKs). Most companies will invest in native mobile app development because of the benefits offered in comparison to other types of apps such as hybrid or web. As mobile software is becoming a necessity, it’s important for companies to be well-informed about the pros and cons of each app development approach. Here are the key benefits of native mobile app development:
With native mobile app development, the app is created and optimized for a specific platform. As a result, the app demonstrates an extremely high level of performance. Native apps are very fast and responsive because they are built for a specific operating system and are compiled using the platform’s core programming language and APIs. As a result, the app is much more efficient. The device stores the app which allows the software to leverage the device’s processing speed. As users navigate through a native mobile app, the contents and visual elements are already stored on their phone. This results in quick load times.
Native mobile apps run more smoothly, especially when it comes to user input and output. These types of apps inherit their devices’ OS interfaces, which makes them look and feel like an integrated part of the device.
The biggest benefit to native mobile apps is the superior user experience. Because native apps are created for a specific operating system, they can stick to guidelines that enhance and align the user experience with the operating system. As a result, the flow of the app is more natural. Adhering to specific guidelines eliminates the learning curve and allows users to interact with apps using actions and gestures they’re already familiar with.
Since native apps are developed for their particular platform, they take full advantage of the software and the operating systems’ features. These apps can directly access the hardware of the device, such as the GPS, camera, microphone, etc. That means they offer faster execution, which ultimately results in better user experience.
Push notifications are another huge advantage to choosing native app development. Push notifications go through the iOS server (APNS) which means you need your app bundle ID. The same goes for Google’s Cloud Messaging (GCM).
It’s much more difficult to maintain two different applications in one codebase than it is two applications in two codebases. With native app development, you have fewer dependencies for bugs to occur. This is because you’re not relying on a cross-platform tool such as Xamarin or Cordova. Hybrid apps access hardware through a bridge which often slows development down and can amount to a frustrating user experience.
This problem is prominent when new versions of Android and iOS are released. Native app developers have access to new SDKs. This means they can start building their applications with the most recent features. Because of this lead time, users of native applications have access to new platform features the moment they update the operating system.
With hybrid app development, developers are dependent on a cross-platform development tool such as Xamarin or Cordova. Every time new features are released in the UI kit, you 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. Bugs are a huge concern for hybrid app development when working with the latest features that have been released for a particular operating system. This is an essential and often overlooked part of generating loyalty among users.
Although the initial cost may be higher with native mobile app development, you’ll save time and money in the long run by doing it well the first time. With a great user experience, better performance, and the ability to leverage device features, you’re able to offer your users a more personalized and rewarding experience in the long-term. The combination of native mobile app advantages will result in higher conversion rates and will ultimately boost customer loyalty.
Related: The Definitive Guide to Mobile App Development Costs [Infographic]
Technical and functionality shortcomings aside, non-native apps cannot compete with the responsiveness and user experience of the native approach. If a business intends their app to be a central tool for interacting with customers and stakeholders, it must deliver an excellent user experience that supports mobile app retention. Dissatisfaction, even in the slightest, can lead to poor retention rates and high uninstallation.
Native app development gives developers considerably more control over the user experience. What’s more, it allows them to design their apps for easy support. We believe it’s best to stick with native and not sacrifice the design elements that are unique to each platform.
While the discussion to differentiate the three mobile app development approaches will continue, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t choose an approach for the technology, but rather, choose based on your app’s functionality. If you choose an approach that doesn’t allow your app to utilize device features, for example, then you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and money when you decide to add these features later. To decide which development approach to take, ask yourself these key questions: