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Native vs. Cross-Platform Development: Pros & Cons Revealed

Native vs. Cross-Platform Development: Pros & Cons Revealed

Design Process
5 min

Today, over 6.5 billion people use smartphones. Even more interesting is that they spend four to five hours on mobile apps daily. And in 2021, the number of such application downloads amounted to 230 billion.

Judging only by these stats, mobile app development can become quite a profitable venture for you. But where do you start?

The modern mobile app market is flourishing with native and cross-platform applications. For example, in 2022, Android users could choose between 3.5 million apps and iOS users — between 2.2 million mobile solutions.

You also can enter this thriving market by launching your own mobile app. The first thing to consider is the difference between native and cross platform development. In this post, we’ll elaborate on this matter and explain which app type might best suit your business needs.

Arounda can share valuable insights, pros, and cons of native and cross-platform app development, as we have sufficient expertise in this area delivering mobile solutions for over five years.

What Is Native App Development?

Let’s first discuss what is meant by native apps. Those are applications functioning on particular devices and operating systems. For example, a native app for iPhone won’t work on any Android smartphone.

Now we’ll dive into what is native software development. It involves the creation of mobile apps solely for one platform. In this case, different programming languages, development environments, frameworks, and other tools specific to Android or iOS are used.

For instance, to create a mobile app for Android, you’ll require Kotlin or Java programming language, an Android Studio development platform, and Android UI for application design.

As for iOS applications, you may need the following tools: Swift or Objective-C programming language, XCode development platform, and UIKit or SwiftUI for app design.

Native applications provide an exceptional user experience and show high performance, as they are built with tools specific to each platform.

What Is Cross-Platform App Development?

Cross-platform apps are often confused with hybrid ones. So, to avoid misunderstandings, let’s first clarify the difference.

Cross-platform applications are mobile apps adapted for use on several platforms and various devices at once. It becomes possible thanks to specific cross-platform technologies.

Hybrid applications are web apps wrapped in a native app shell. To create such products, developers use web technologies in combination with platform-specific tools.

But let’s get back to the point. What is cross platform development? It’s the creation of universal mobile applications for different platforms. To develop one, you’ll need such technologies as React Native, Xamarin, or Flutter.

Compared to native development, cross-platform involves writing single code, which can then be used for Android and iOS. It saves development time and resources, but such applications are not as productive as native ones.

Native vs. Cross-Platform Apps Development: Pros and Cons

We suggest you compare the two approaches to creating applications by looking at their main advantages and disadvantages. As a result, you can determine the ideal strategy for your mobile app development project.

Let’s start with native apps.

Pros of Native App Development

We have gathered the main advantages of native app development for you.

Exceptional Performance

Native apps use technologies that are specific to a particular platform. In this case, the code is much simpler compared to cross-platform development. As a result, native applications work more productively, for example, display mobile UI elements faster.

Broader Functionality

Native development allows you to work with various tools and APIs of the chosen platform. As a result, there are no limitations on how many different functionalities you can include in your application.

Decent User Experience

When creating native applications, developers must follow the general guidelines of each platform. The same applies to mobile app design.

As a rule, native applications show a better user experience, providing more flexibility and opportunities for app screen design. In addition, such digital products are more intuitive since they aim at users who are well acquainted with this or that platform.

Top-Notch Security

Native development makes it possible to provide more reliable and platform-specific security standards than cross-platform apps. What’s more, it’s easier for developers to implement security features in native applications.

Stable Support and Updates

Android and iOS are industry giants when it comes to operating systems. Accordingly, developers can expect regular updates and proper support for these platforms.

Cons of Native App Development

Now let’s look at some of the disadvantages of this approach.

More Expensive and Time-Consuming

Want to reach as many people as you can? If so, it can be expensive for you to develop native apps for Android and iOS individually. Additionally, you should know that coming up with two solutions could take quite a lot of time.

No Code Reusability

When developing separate native apps, your teams must write new code for each platform. That is, iOS code cannot be used for Android and vice versa.

Having learned the advantages and disadvantages of creating native applications, let’s move on to cross-platform ones.

Pros of Cross-Platform App Development

Here are some of the benefits you will get from cross-platform development.

Cost-Effective

Compared to native applications that require two separate teams to create iOS and Android solutions, you can save a lot by choosing cross platforms development. In this case, you need one team to write code and design a universal mobile interface for all devices and operating systems.

Code Reusability

In contrast to native, cross-platform development allows the reuse of code for all operating systems. That is, your developers will employ a single codebase.

Faster Development

The logical advantage of cross-platform applications is that their development is much faster. Your team writes one front-end and one back-end code and creates adaptable mobile app screens.

Cons of Cross-Platform App Development

Let’s now look at the disadvantages of cross-platform development.

Poorer Performance

Although cross-platform applications can be quickly created and much cheaper, such solutions do not compare in performance with native applications. Cross-platform apps require an additional abstraction layer and rendering process and, thus, work more slowly.

Limited Functionality

Of course, with one code base, you can create a universal solution for iOS and Android at once. However, adapting the code for each platform loses the application’s functionality.

Worse User Experience

By developing a cross-platform application, you will not be able to provide the same exceptional user experience as in the case of a native one. You will create a consistent Android and iOS app design but will lack customization.

What to Consider When Choosing an Approach to Build a Mobile App

Now that you know about the main approaches to mobile app development and the advantages and disadvantages of each, you can move on to the main thing — the choice. Let’s find out what you should pay attention to choose a suitable development approach for your business.

Here are some suggestions:

Consider Your Budget

It is probably the first thing you must start from when choosing between native and cross-platform development. The latter is a definite winner, requiring less cost and time.

Consider Your Hiring Capabilities

Of course, this factor directly affects your financial capabilities, but think about the following. To create native applications, you’ll need two separate teams, which may take a long time to find suitable specialists. Moreover, native development requires specific knowledge and experience.

With a cross-platform approach, you can quickly assemble an expert team that will work with accessible technologies.

Think About Your Time to Market

Does your business strategy require an immediate launch of a mobile application on the market? Then a cross-platform solution is right for you. However, it’s good to keep native applications in mind too. For example, you might build one product for Android first and expand to iOS later.

Pay Attention to Your App’s Performance

Be sure to consider how fast and productive your mobile app will be. Will it be a heavy-duty solution or something simpler? Undoubtedly, it is best to create a native application in terms of performance.

Consider Your App’s Security

Application security is a critical factor in choosing a development approach. As we’ve said, native apps offer an advanced level of security, but there are also examples of how to provide the same in cross-platform solutions.

Think About Your App’s Customization and UX

Modern users highly value a top-notch user experience. It is what you can achieve in iOS and Android app design. Native applications offer much more tools and opportunities for various customizations, so we advise you to pay attention to them.

Final Thoughts

Mobile app development can be profitable if you choose the right approach for your business. We hope our definitive guide helped you decide between native and cross-platform apps.

Arounda has profound experience creating native iOS and Android applications and cross-platform mobile solutions. If you need a similar digital product, our experts are ready to help. So don’t hesitate and contact us right now.

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