Types of Mobile Apps: Which is Better for Your Business?

Vladyslav Pobyva

August 31, 2022

Nowadays, a mobile application is an obligatory thing for almost every business because it allows companies to promote their products and, as a result, increase their income. In this article, we would like to consider mobile apps by business channels and technologies. This information will definitely be helpful for entrepreneurs who are planning to launch their own solutions.

Types of Mobile Apps by Business Channel

We can distinguish two types:

  • B2B solutions, which are targeted at other enterprises to either run their business or perform their work-related tasks better. Such apps are about workflow. Slack, Trello, MailChimp, and Flipboard are good instances;
B2B app examples
  • B2C apps for the end customers. For numerous businesses, such solutions are often the main way to attract and retain clients. Bright mobile app examples are BlaBlaCar, Uber, Airbnb, and so on.
B2C app examples

Types of Mobile Applications by Technology

Choosing a specific technology is a challenging task because there are at least four options that we have listed below. And each of them has certain pros&cons.

Native mobile apps

This approach refers to app development for iOS or Android. Specialists use only programming languages recommended by the creators of the chosen platform. 

Pros:

  • Advanced features. Developers can avail of all OS features, so you will receive a secured, user-friendly, and powerful solution;
  • Simplified moderation. It is much easier to publish your new app to the App Store or Play Market. In addition, native apps are usually ranked higher;
  • Remarkable performance and excellent UX. Native UI features a perfect User Experience that is achieved through effective interaction between software and hardware.

Cons:

  • High costs. Developing both a Native Android app and an iOS one at the same time is extremely expensive because you must have two teams of developers. Moreover, further support for two apps will also be a problem;
  • Time-consuming process. Two teams of specialists work independently of each other, so you need twice as much money and time. Code reuse is impossible in this case.

Concerning technologies, iOS solutions are written in Swift/Objective-C while Android ones in Java/Kotlin.

Native apps examples range from navigation solutions (Waze) to social ones (Twitter) or games (Pokémon Go). Pokémon Go uses GPS, cameras for AR, and an accelerometer. Moreover, it resorts to pushes to return gamers to the app.Hybrid app meaning

Pokemon Go


Hybrid app meaning

This option is about creating an application for two systems simultaneously. The codebase is written in different languages (HTML5, JavaScript, etc.). Then, it’s wrapped into WebView or Crosswalk (a native container), which provides the interaction with hardware (cameras, Bluetooth, GPS, and so on) of a certain OS.   

Such an approach has certain limitations and restrictions to the functionality because the browser is a rendering engine. That slows down the whole system a bit.

Hybrid solutions look like Native ones and can even work offline but in fact, they are web apps.

Pros:

  • Lower costs;
  • Code reuse (the same code is used for all OS);
  • Sufficient capabilities to customize the app;
  • Faster development;
  • Easier support thanks to the only code.

Cons:

  • Lower performance;
  • Inability to use some OS’s features;
  • Insufficient integration level with native apps.

A perfect example of Hybrid apps is Instagram. In the very beginning, this social network was a Native app. But when it joint the Facebook ecosystem, its code was rewritten in a Hybrid programming language namely React Native to provide users with the web version.

Istagram

Cross-platform solutions

First of all, we should note that Hybrid and Cross-Platform solutions are absolutely different. And the difference lies in the key indicators: performance, UX, scalability of solutions, and so on. The only common thing between these two options is code compatibility.

So, developers write a single code in JavaScript for all operating systems and then connect it to native components namely frameworks. The speed and convenience of such apps highly depend on them: there are numerous frameworks, which vary greatly.

Cross-Platform solutions can provide you with a close-to-native user experience. However, don’t expect the UX to be precisely the same as Native applications.

Pros:

  • One code for diverse platforms;
  • High security and stability of apps;
  • Ease of maintenance and scalability;
  • Fast user interface;
  • Cost-effective creation process;
  • Seamless functionality.

Cons:

  • Work speed, which is lower than Native apps but higher than other types;
  • Unavailability of some features due to certain constraints in frameworks;
  • Insufficient interaction with Native applications.

The best instances of Cross-Platform apps are Firefox, TeamViewer, Chrome, Adobe Reader, and others. 

Web applications

These are popular solutions, which require only an installed browser. Web applications are similar to usual websites but they are more interactive.

Mobile web apps are often used by online retailers: their clients place orders, add goods to the wish list, and perform other actions through web pages. It allows companies to update only their website.

Pros:

  • Low development and maintenance expenses;
  • Easy updates (every web application directly receives the latest software version from the website it’s linked to);
  • Adequate customization (developers are able to launch a mobile web app that would meet most of your requirements);
  • Support for any OS (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and so on).

Cons:

  • Performance. Web apps rely entirely on online technologies, so they are considerably slower than Native ones;
  • Security. There are various developments such as SSL to prevent data leakage. Despite that, the safety level isn’t enough.
  • Website dependency. If your site crashes, it means the application becomes unavailable too.
  • Limited capabilities because of the browser used.

Good examples of mobile web apps are Aliexpress, Google Docs, OLX, Pinterest, Spotify, and others. Web solutions are usually based on HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, and other languages.  

Which One is For You?

We have considered the most popular development methods. So, it's time to figure out which one suits you according to your desires and goals.

Budget

Developing a web application is the cheapest option while creating a Native solution is the most expensive. A Hybrid app doesn’t cost an arm and a leg but it can be costly too.

Functionality and performance

The Native approach is perfect for all app categories while the Hybrid one may have insufficient performance and some restrictions. Web apps are used by certain businesses, which don’t require high speed, special features, and responsiveness.

Thus, if you are planning to launch a heavy application with specific functionality, your choice is the Native option.

Time to market

As we have already mentioned above, the Native development method is lengthy, especially if you need to launch an app for several platforms. The Hybrid approach takes less time. However, the absolute champions are web applications.   

Ease of development

The time to market is closely related to the simplicity of development. In order to adopt the Native approach, you need high-experienced specialists. The Hybrid option also requires developers with great hard skills. But thanks to the possibility of code reuse, you’ll get your mobile app more quickly.  

Only web solutions can be launched without great effort.

UI/UX

Native apps use the Native UI of the specific operating system that provides users with an excellent User Experience. The responsiveness and interface quality of Hybrid solutions are worse. However, their level is enough to use the app comfortably.

Some usability issues may be in relation to web applications, as the browser used slows them down and doesn’t allow creating a perfect user interface.

comparison of Native, Hybrid, Cross-Platform, and Web development approaches

Conclusion

A Native application is a good choice if you have enough finances and time, and your priority is to create a wonderful solution for Android or iOS.

A Hybrid app is perfect for startups, which need a budget program for both mobile operating systems.

Web solutions are simple and quick to develop. They will allow you to test your ideas before investing big money in a Native or Hybrid application. Moreover, there are some businesses, which don’t require a well-developed solution (retailers, mobile carriers, and so on).

We hope that the Web, Hybrid, and Native app meaning is clear to you. Before choosing a certain option, determine your true purposes, budget, and deadline.

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