The mobile app development market keeps growing and it seems quite implausible that anything will substantially change in the subsequent years. As 98% of all the smartphones in the world work on either iOS or Android, developers need to choose between one of the two options- native or cross-platform development. Both means differ in a number of features and so we need to dive in both these options for better clarity.
A native app is one that is built specifically to function on a single platform/operating system. It is built to fulfill the requirements of the operating system using its SDK, hardware, memory and pre-installed applications. The simplest example for native apps is the calculator, clock, browser and other basic apps.
Pros of Native Development
- The user is familiar with the user interface elements of the respective platform which gives users more confidence and an intuitive understanding of both look and functionality, thus providing a high-quality user experience.
- As the app is built for a specific platform, there is a high level of integration with the platform and thus it effectively uses the battery and memory of the smartphone.
- The app benefits from full access to the smartphone’s services and functions (camera, geolocation, microphone, etc.)
Cons of Native Development
- If app presence needs to be on both Android and iOS, the process involves the creation of two separate applications which significantly slows down development and testing.
- App development for separate platforms requires more specialists which increases the budget.
- There is a constant need for fixing bugs and two applications double the time taken and resources.
Cross-Platform apps are developed using special tools such as Unity3D, Xamarin, PhoneGap etc. to be compatible with more than one operating system and function on any smartphone that run these operating systems.
Pros of Cross-Platform development
- Unlike native development, the app is developed only once for all platforms and the designer only does one set of graphics; high economic efficiency makes development affordable even for small businesses.
- Bugs are fixed on all platforms as the app can be updated from the server side instead of the store.
- Unified logic and architecture significantly reduce development time.
Cons of Cross-Platform Development
- Cross-platform apps aren’t integrated as well with the operating system as native apps, which affects the performance and increases user appeal to native apps.
- Implementation on more than one operating system results in a lot of bugs which increases fix time as well as the user adaptation time.
- More time & money is spent to improve user experience by developing intuitive interfaces for both iOS and Android users.
In conclusion, each one of these options has its pros and cons and the choice should be made according to the required raison d’être and the implementation area of the app. However, if you prioritize user experience, native apps have more advantage. In that case, one of the most important tools for app analytics which will help you understand aspects like user engagement, user behavior, etc. is UserExperior mobile app analytics. UserExperior provides video session replays for every user interaction in your app to recognize user experience issues as well as heatmap analytics to discern convenience issues in your app.