When transforming a great concept into a compelling mobile app, companies face a critical decision before the project begins. Building an app native to its specific platform is one option worthy of consideration. An alternate choice involves using a cross-platform tool able to target multiple platforms with the same codebase. Not surprisingly, both approaches boast their own significant advantages and disadvantages.
This decision between native or cross-platform development directly contributes to the success of any project. Making the wrong choice might cause significant delays to the final delivery date. It also could result in an underpowered app, unable to provide the enthralling user experience promised in the design.
So let’s look more closely at this important native vs. cross-platform development question. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches, with a goal of helping your organization make the right choice. In the end, understanding what your app hopes to accomplish, along with its audience, helps steer you towards the correct decision.
There Are Actually Three Approaches For Mobile Development?
Deciding between native and cross-platform development for mobile app development assumes a goal of reaching as many users as possible by targeting both iOS and Android. However, there are really three distinct development approaches, including targeting only one mobile platform. For example, choosing only iOS makes sense when building a mobile music synthesizer or digital audio workstation.
Apple’s mobile platform holds many advantages over Android when it comes to accessing the necessary horsepower to perform complex real-time audio processing. Additionally, Android’s relative poor latency just won’t work for professional music applications. It’s the major reason there are practically no pro-level Android music apps. The wide variety in hardware specifications for Android devices is another. In this niche scenario, targeting only iOS with a native app makes sense.
For most other apps, the second option, building native apps separately for Android and iOS is a valid choice, albeit more costly. In this scenario, expect the project to require nearly twice as many programmers or a proportionately longer project timeline. Finding development talent experienced with both mobile platforms might streamline things.
The third option uses a cross-platform approach able to target multiple platforms – mobile, browser, desktop, or even wearables. This approach provides companies with the means to quickly reach billions of smartphone users, although the app’s performance typically suffers compared to native. As noted earlier, determining the design of the app as well as its target audience informs this critical decision.
The Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development
The major advantage of leveraging a cross-platform development approach lies in its cost-effectiveness. Being able to target multiple platforms with a single codebase offers the chance to easily reach billions of users with a mobile app, as noted earlier. While this is also possible by building separate native apps, expect to spend more time and resources.
Simply stated, cross-platform development saves both time and money. However, any app requiring significant computing power due to a graphics-intensive presentation typically isn’t suitable for a cross-platform approach. In the end, text-based apps, possibly interacting with databases, remain the sweet spot for the myriad of cross-platform mobile development frameworks.
The Pros and Cons of Native Mobile App Development
Native mobile app development offers a host of significant benefits for companies crafting state of the art digital experiences. In addition to the high-performance considerations mentioned earlier, including seamless scalability, it’s also easier to embed cybersecurity routines. Since software engineers enjoy wider access to the hardware of a mobile device, it’s possible to write code to conserve battery power.
Taking advantage of the latest advancements in the iOS and Android platforms also becomes easier when building a native app. Cross-platform mobile development frameworks often lack support for newer mobile technology. Also don’t overlook the fact that native development provides software engineers with the most flexibility in app design: both internally and from a graphical standpoint.
Building a native app also streamlines the process of getting it approved on the iOS App Store and Google Play. Designers find that crafting mobile user interfaces meeting specific mobile platform standards becomes easier when using the native approach. Ultimately, users of native mobile apps enjoy a more compelling and immersive experience.
The most relevant disadvantage to native app development simply involves its cost and a potentially longer project timeline. As highlighted earlier, expect to require twice as many mobile developers when building native apps for both iOS and Android. If there isn’t the budget for all that development talent, the project’s time to market can nearly double.
Making the Right Choice in Mobile App Development
In the end, when your company wants a secure and flexible mobile app able to enthrall users, investing in the native development approach makes perfect sense. Ultimately, the higher costs and longer project timelines are worth it. Consider cross-platform development for simple apps requiring a lower-cost, faster-to-market approach.
If your company needs help transforming its great idea into a state of the art mobile app, connect with the team at NineTwoThree. As experts in native mobile app development, our skills and experience help ensure a successful project and an engaging digital venture. Schedule some time with us as soon as possible.