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Native vs Cross-platform: Which one to choose in 2021

We are used to our smartphones as much as we are addicted to eating or sleeping. We can’t just do without it. Imagine eating and the food is not right or there is something missing. Or you are sleeping and someone plays loud music in the next room?

How would you feel about it?

Not good, right? You may even want to not eat the food or even go and give the person playing the music a bad eye. In any case, your response won’t be happy or great. So, when it comes to building an application and asking the users to engage with it, you should not give them an inconvenient app to use. 

With over 3.5 billion smartphone users across the globe, you have a big market to cover. But in the light of app abandonment after one-year rates climbing every year, 21% (2018) and 25% (2019), you cannot take risks even with such a large customer base. 

That is why it is imperative to choose between the app development frameworks. Because these aspects matter to a great extent as an inefficient application can drive away not only new users but also potential users. 

So your motive must be to choose between cross platform mobile app development and native mobile app development. But, that is the key, which is better and why. That is what we will understand in this excerpt. Along with this, we will also talk in brief about which development technique is appropriate for which type of application. 

Let’s get started. 

What is Cross Platform and Native Mobile App Development?

Both of these development technologies are different. With cross platform, you write the code once and deploy it on every platform. There are specific frameworks like Flutter, Xamarin, Ionic that are built to effectuate this type of process. 

Patrons following cross platform application development share an opinion that cross platform is cost-effective and time-efficient. Not only this, but cross platform is also faster and can be delivered with higher efficiency. 

However, on the other side of the coin, the same process can lead to a lower quality of the application. The applications have limited functionality and not-so-good UX. 

Coming to native application development. This is the development technique whereby the developers build applications for the specific operating system. Either the developers build applications specifically for iOS devices or for Android devices. 

For Android, there are tools like Java or Kotlin and the same for iOS is Objective-C. The strongest point about native mobile app development services is the high-end performance. Not only do they offer exemplary user experience, but with enhanced visuals specific to the underlying device, native applications take the lead in terms of building a performant interface. 

Applications built with native frameworks not only have better visuals but also have higher levels of functionality and get better store-based support. It is easy to scale the native applications. 

The reason why native mobile application developers switch to cross-platform is the high cost of development and maintenance. Because the cross platform has a lower development cost and it can cover a higher proportion of the market, it is more popular with startups and small businesses. 

Also, native applications take more time to build, which only delays the time to market. The final impact of these delays is more prominent in a competitive market. Because the more you delay the product lower will be the impact of your product. 

Now that we have understood the core differences between native and cross platform development, let’s take the discussion forward to know about the pros and cons of each technology in detail. 

Pros and Cons of Native Mobile App Development

Native mobile applications have been in existence for a long time and they are still relevant says a lot about their importance and ability to give cross platform development practices a run for their money. 

Pros

  • Extended Functionality: Native mobile application offers a broader functionality due to the wide extent of tools available that can help build these applications. In other words, you will be able to utilize a huge library of a la carte services that are made to help developers with native application development. This makes a developer’s work much more extensive and diverse, and that is good because it allows creating applications with a great amount of features and functions. 
  • Support from the Development Community and Stores: Developing native applications for Android or iOS users gets you to support from the development community. Along with this, the respective application stores are also more supportive. A native application receives a warmer welcome and it is also ranked higher within the respective application store. 
  • Higher Scope of Scalability: Due to the presence of additional resources and community support native applications are easy to scale. This is because the community provides additional tools, services, and functions that can prove useful in future development. 
  • More and Better Experts: Because native mobile app development is making circles in the community for a longer time than cross-platform it has more and better development experts. Native application development frameworks like Objective-C or Kotlin have more subject matter experts which also means that there are better innovations to further help with the development. 

Cons

  • Cost is High: The cost of developing native applications is high. This is because you have to build two applications that have the same function or purpose. Due to this, two different teams are needed to build two different applications. 
  • It takes more time: Native applications take more time to build. This is mainly because the developers cannot duplicate the work. They have to write the code for every function twice. 

Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform Application Development

Cross-platform may be new to the market, but it has taken the application development exercise to a whole new level. Let’s see what are the major benefits of cross platform mobile app development. 

Pros

  • Cost-Effective: With cross-platform development, you need to employ two teams of developers. One team which knows how to work with cross platform application development frameworks is only required. So, you only have to make the application once and the same code can be used for all the platforms. 
  • Quick Development and Deployment: With cross-platform, only a single cycle of development is required. So, if you would choose to work with the best cross platform app development company, everything is set and you will get your hands on the final product quicker. A product that is built speedily also reaches the market first and has a higher scope to onboard customers. 
  • Covers More Audience: More than 90% of the global smartphone users are working with Android and iOS combined. This means depending on the percentage of customers who need your application can be covered in one go. 

Cons

  • Performance Issues: Relative to a similar native application, an app built with cross-platform technology is riddled with performance issues. These issues arise mostly due to the inability to completely integrate with the operating systems. This leads to a sub-optimal performance which comes at a cost of losing customers due to bad user experience. 
  • Inconsistent UX: Customers are ready to pay for services that provide them with a better user experience. In contrast, they will immediately abandon the application if they do not get the right user experience. This is one of the issues that is observed with cross platform applications and bad UX ultimately leads to lower adoption rates. 

After understanding a great deal about both these development technologies, one thing is certain;

  • Both of them are not perfect. There are issues with native as well as cross platform development. 
  • There is no fixed set of instructions that you can read and choose which platform is better for you. 
  • You have to weigh the pros and cons of utilizing either of the development technologies before starting the development work. 

In lieu of these points, we have created a few parameters that can help you make a decision on which development technology is best for your task. 

Go For Cross Platform Development If;

  • You can make do with an application that is not highly responsive and has an above-average but not an excellent user interface. 
  • Your application does not have a complex feature or function, especially relating to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, or Augmented Learning, and so on.
  • Your purpose is to test the market with your idea and want to get as much feedback as possible in a short time span. 

Choose Native Application Development If;

  • You need the application to harness the complete and core functionalities of the underlying platform to function smoothly. 
  • It is essential to build a fully responsive and adaptive application fitted with innovative technologies. 
  • Your application needs the full support of the device’s hardware and software to its fullest. 
  • You want your application ready to be updated, scaled, and improved at any time without causing any delay.  

So, that’s it. Choosing between cross platform and native applications should not be a tough choice when you know the ins and out of both technologies. More importantly, it is about providing your users with a better product. 

Always keep your end-users in mind while choosing between them and hiring a native or a cross platform app development company.

Himanshu Patelhttps://www.mobmaxime.com/
Himanshu is not only the CEO of Mobmaxime but he is also the Innovation Guy around here. With his experience and global market understanding, he steers the organizational culture towards proficiency and productivity. His dedication and strong will to create the best solutions for this clients comes from the superlative technical acumen and a deep-set understanding of the client's needs.

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