Native vs Cross-Platform Mobile App Development: Which is best in 2023?

Avantika Shergil By Avantika Shergil  |  Nov 11, 2022  |  App Development
Native vs. Cross Platform Decoding Best Choice for Your Apps

During the second quarter of 2023, Android users can choose from 3.3 billion active users, and iOS users can choose an app from nearly 18.55%, or 1.36 billion. The number of apps continuously increasing that has uplifted revenue in the app market is expected to reach USD 228.98 billion in 2023

The increasing number of downloads and growing revenue make the entrepreneurs join the gold rush and make the most out of the untapped market. Mobile app development companies help you reach the mobile app development destination in two ways- either native development or cross-platform development approach. Both development approaches have their pros and cons, which makes it implausible to declare a winner between the two.

The selection between cross-platform app development and Native app development approach depends on the client’s business project needs, the time scaling of the app, and most importantly, the budget of the app. Also, the company has to look for the likes and dislikes of their targeted audiences for the mobile app development platform preference, which makes the decision between native and cross-platform app development even tougher.

So, which development approach to choose from? We have compiled a list of all the use cases where one of the two approaches takes the driver’s seat followed by their understanding in a nutshell.

What is Native app development?

Native app development involves building platform-specific apps for Android, iOS, and others, which requires optimum expertise in the core programming languages and tools. The developer must be well-versed in Objective C and Swift for iOS app development and have proficiency in Kotlin or Java for Android app development.

The platform can be leveraged to the core which in turn yields high performance and provides a great user experience. The built-in capabilities of the platform help in tapping inside all the device functionalities such as camera, GPS, microphone, etc. As the native apps enable maintaining the individuality of the Android and iOS platforms, the UX will be emphatic and phenomenal for the customers here.

The native development requires hiring Android app developers and iOS app developers separately to get build Native Android and iOS apps.

What is Cross-platform development?

Cross-platform development is about building a mobile app that runs seamlessly across different platforms and is easily deployed. It is usually cheaper and offers faster deployment for a solution as this approach eliminates the need to create two separate versions for the Android or iOS platforms.

React Native, Flutter, and Kotlin are popular cross-platform frameworks that don’t require programmers to learn different languages for iOS and Android app development. It indicates if you hire Flutter app developers or React native developers, there’s no need to search for talent that are well-versed in different technologies and tools required to build Android and iOS app individually. Also, there’s a list of the top Cross-platform app development service providers can help you resolve the challenge of building an app within a short budget and in reduced time-to-market.

Demystifying Native vs Cross-platform development

Time to market

In the dynamic world, if the time-critical apps are not launched at the right time, their purpose to build is not served. If you want to take the market advantage of the app, then ensuring a timely launch is all-important. The apps that are developed in reduced time consequently diminish the time to market the app. Therefore, the cross-platform development approach wins by a large fraction as it enables building an app for multiple platforms in minimum time as compared to the native development approach.

That’s the reason Walmart- the retail giant considered react native- the cross-platform framework to incorporate a few features on all the platforms with shared business logic. The reduced development time and code testing enable Walmart to accomplish the desired goals.

Winner:  Cross-platform development approach wins.

Ease of testing

App testing is important as it ensures the quality of app and helps to improve UI, and releasing the app without rigorous testing means launching the app with loose ends that users don’t like at all. The app launched with bugs, crashes, and design resolution issues ultimately making the app fail as users show zero tolerance for a single error.
Native apps are built with different coding for every platform, which multiplies the code testing, UI testing, performance testing, and other testing efforts by equal folds.

On the flip side, cross-platform development involves testing code just once as the same codebase is shared across all the platforms while wrapping it in native containers. It enables the testing team to implement the changes and then test the app as if it’s done natively.

Winner:  Cross-platform app development gains an upper hand over native development.

Customization efforts

Developing an app according to your business vision helps in reflecting the brand. That’s where bringing a personalized brand feel into the mobile application is vital, which delivers a personalized user experience. This, in turn, helps in increasing the conversion rate by a large fraction.

Here, the native app development approach gains an edge as OS-specific UI components make it easier for custom app development according to branding-specific needs. For instance, building a music app requires Bluetooth and audio support, that’s best received in native app development as the customized APIs support hardware integration. Also, native libraries, native components, and easy integration with OS make native apps a great fit.

The cross-platform development approach enables customization with integration capabilities and easy third-party integrations to a certain limit, which makes cross-platform an optimal solution.

Winner: Native development approach is an ideal solution for developing custom apps and intrinsic and platform-niche features are to be used.

Performance gains

In the modernized world, there is no room for performance issues. If it exists, the business is certainly out of the market. Here, we will compare both development approach that excels in terms of performance.

One of the top benefits of Native apps is performance. These apps stand high on the performance ladder because of the hardware support, device in-built capabilities, computing, database handling, read-write capabilities, operational efficiencies, and more.

On the other hand, the cross-platform development approach lags behind 40% of the native OS-specific apps. Cross-platform apps take a little more time to load the image as opposed to native apps. Cross-platform apps take reduced time for read-and-write operations when compared with native read-and-write operations.

Myntra- the eCommerce platform, that’s App-only, is the best instance of native development which is known for high performance. The retail giant first built the native Android app and then extended its reach to the iOS platform with native iOS app development.

Winner: Native app development ranks high in terms of performance delivery.

Cost-savvy approach

The app development cost forms a huge part of mobile app development that cannot be overlooked at all. So is the head-to-head comparison of native development and cross-platform development. The app development time is directly proportional to the app development cost. When the cost analysis is done, the development cost varies this way-

The native app development for Android and iOS platforms doubles up the time investment and when the feature complexity increases, the time investment also surges accordingly. More time investment of developers means paying more for the hours that developers worked.

On the contrary, the cross-platform development approach incurs lower development costs as the development time is reduced to nearly half, which truncates the development cost the same way.

Winner: Cross-platform app development approach costs less as compared to native development.

Hiring remote developers can even cut down the development cost by 70%.

Deliver best UX

User experience is the critical element of the mobile application that can make or break the app’s success. Presently, users are ready to pay more for the user experience and even, abandon the application for the poor experience. Let’s compare which development approach rocks in terms of user experience.

Native apps excel at rendering the best user experience as it enables apps to follow a specific design style and includes native UI components. For instance, iOS has created a design guideline for iOS app development that helps in engineering a consistent experience across all devices.

Cross-platform development cannot leverage the OS-specific features but is capable of rendering a uniform experience across all the platforms as the same codebase and design elements are shared. The Slack app is the best instance of the same that has migrated to cross-platform to fix design inconsistent and legacy code issues.

Winner: Native apps deliver better UX as compared to cross-platform apps.

UI/UX Design Principles: Guide to Perfect App Designing Process

Security and maintenance

App security is a cardinal aspect of mobile app development as app stores users’ critical data that needs to be protected from malware attacks. Security and maintenance services are one of the Questions to ask app development company that should be considered on priority.

Native apps stand high in terms of the security of the application as they are built in OS-specific environments. When it comes to app maintenance services, the maintenance efforts get double up as the developers need to maintain the app differently which increases maintenance time and cost.

For cross-platform applications, the non-native frameworks are leveraged that bring vulnerabilities in the app and also missing native libraries factors don’t enable encryptions. Cross-platform apps require maintenance only once and the upgrades or changes get rolled out to all the platforms automatically.

Winner: Native apps are more secure but maintenance is quite demanding.

The Comprehensive Guide For Mobile App Maintenance Cost

Customer reach

Businesses build mobile applications to increase customer reach by reaching out to them on the device they use the most. Native apps are developed for a specific platform that limits the customer reach to one platform. As the efforts and time investment increase in building an app for another platform, the customer reach increases accordingly.

On the flip side, cross-platform enable targeting a broad spectrum of the audience as the products/services are promoted on the app at scale.

Winner: cross-platform enables reaching out to wide customers in a single go.

Why choose cross-platform mobile apps over native apps?

Benefits of Cross-platform App Development

While talking about cross-platform and native apps, much debate goes around the tech world. Here are a few noteworthy benefits that will help you decide whether cross-platform mobile is better than native apps or not:

Low-cost app development

Cross-platform app development is based on a simple concept of Writing once, run everywhere. Agile app development and reusable codes can significantly reduce app development costs. So, cross-platform development is the best choice if you are looking to improve your business on multiple platforms in a cost-effective way.

Code reusability

One of the best things about cross-platform app development is that the code can be used repeatedly. A single code can be used instead of developers developing a new code for every platform. It saves time and eliminates the tiring repetition process of creating individual codes, saving a lot of resources. As the code is reused, it cuts time, which further translates into money.

Quicker to develop

The quicker-to-develop process is another win-win concession for cross-platform applications. It can help reduce the time, effort and resources included in the app development process by 50-80%. Often clients are worried about developers meeting the deadlines, but with cross-platform app development, developers can meet the expected deadlines undeniably. Also, the minimum viable product has become an important part of the development environment.

Easy to avail plugins

Plugins are simply software components that add a specific feature to an existing computer program. Developers have a wide choice of plugins when it comes to developing a cross-platform application. This makes the development process flawless and more comfortable. Flutter makes it easier for developers to avail of plugins, making it a top choice for cross-platform applications.

Testing apps easily

Different platforms could include different web browsers, operating systems and devices. An app can’t be tested on every combination of devices i.e. configurations or operating systems. But testing on a handful of them helps identify problems or issues in most digital platforms. The cross-platform development tools run tests on various browsers and versions of those browsers to detect defects or bugs in the browser.

Attracts more investors

The resources used for cross-platform application development are quite less and unlike any other marketing tools that demand extensive support, cross-platform applications require fewer efforts. As compared to any native application, cross-platform requires less investment. Businesses tend to save a huge amount on their web development that can be further utilized for other operational activities. Investors are attracted to cross-platform applications now more than ever as it gives them an opportunity to explore a staunch clientele and unique brand identity globally.

Which development approach is better – Native vs Cross-platform?

Choosing between cross-platform and Native app development is a daunting task, but if the differences are understood clearly, the decision based on project requirements becomes smooth.

You should go ahead with native development when you want to get build a responsive app that requires access to mobile device capabilities and need app features, UI design upgrades consistently to deliver the best UX. On the contrary, cross-platform development is your best buddy when the app requires basic design, and needs to test and launch MVP in a shorter time-to-market. This way, select the development approach accordingly. Get connected with a leading mobile app development company in case you have a dilemma.

Still, there’s a need for expert developers that can not only help you opt for the best development approach but also help you to build an app with high-quality code, better performance, extensive testing, excellent support, and the best UX.

Avantika Shergil Avantika Shergil   |  Nov 11, 2022

An enthusiastic Operations Manager at TopDevelopers.co, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. She is an adventure lover, passionate traveler, an admirer of nature, who believes that a cup of coffee is the prime source to feel rejuvenated. Researching and writing about technology keeps her boosted and enhances her professional journeying.

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