Hybrid app development is the process of building a cross-platform application that provides the functionality of native mobile apps with the ease of coding and development used for web apps. In other words, a hybrid app blends together native and web apps, while attempting to give your mobile app the best of both worlds.
According to Statista, the global revenue generated by mobile apps is projected to be above 935 billion USD by 2023. The advantages of mobile app development are evident. Statistics and market behaviour prove that the mobile segment is an immensely popular and profitable market to tap into for businesses. However, the cost and hassle of building native mobile applications can sometimes deter small and medium scale enterprises from venturing into the world of mobile applications.
For startups, the cost of hiring developers to build native mobile apps is simply too high. However, that does not mean that businesses have to miss out on the mobile segment. This is where hybrid app development steps in. It allows you to leverage the benefits of mobile applications without having to invest as much money and time that goes into conventional (native)app development.
Perks of Hybrid App Development
Here’s a few reasons why companies should look into Hybrid App Development:
1. It’s Easier to Manage
Hybrid app development is recommended because it’s easier to manage. There’s only one code base that developers have to work with. When it comes to native mobile apps, developers have to work with specific and varying languages depending on the platform (Swift or Objective C for iOS devices, Java for android devices). If the business wants to expand to other platforms such as Windows phone or blackberry, the task of native apps gets even more complex. However, with Hybrid apps, a few tweaks to the single code base can make it accessible to multiple platforms. When it comes to maintenance and app updation, there’s the same code base that developers need to work with.
2. Hybrid Apps are Comparatively Affordable
Native apps require complex coding and hiring developers that are quite expensive. In addition to the initial app development, there’s maintenance and updation costs to consider when you get into mobile app development. Unless your company has thousands to spare every month, hybrid app development is the more suitable and affordable choice. Is it a little more expensive than simple web app development? Sure. But does the expense of developing a hybrid app come anywhere close to having a native mobile app developed for multiple platforms? Definitely not. This is why Hybrid apps are a popularly growing and reasonable choice for SME’s and startups.
3. Easily Accessible
Unlike Native Apps, Hybrid apps can be accessed using a simple link. This makes it easy to promote using social media and other promotional channels such as email marketing. By making it directly accessible to users hybrid apps can possibly overcome the usual hassle of being downloaded via app store.
4. Scalable and Cross-Platform
The most obvious advantage of a hybrid app is that it can be made available across various platforms without getting into a lot of hassle. With some simple tweaks and adjustments, hybrid apps can be made to run and work on various devices, such as a windows phone. Although the efficacy is not always the best, it is still something that works for businesses.
5. Ability to Access Device Features
Hybrid apps can usually access device utilities using an API and have ready availability of device features like camera, geolocation, accelerometer, storage, etc which can help enhance user experience and better the ease of use for customers while allowing businesses access to crucial data.
6. Faster Development Compared to Native Apps
Hybrid mobile applications are much easier and quicker to develop than native applications because of a single code base and easier languages to work with. Since one doesn’t need to write separate codes for iOS and Android devices and maintain them separately, it is certainly less time consuming and speeds things up.
7. Can Work Offline
Like native apps, hybrid apps can also work offline. However, users won’t be able to load new data but will be able to access already downloaded data and information.
Limitations of Hybrid App Development
There are two sides to every coin. Having been acquainted with the benefits of Hybrid App development, let us take a look at some of its limitations.
Compromised Performance: The biggest limitation of cross platform app development is that it’s performance is not as good as native mobile apps. Which means that it’s not as fast as native mobile apps and doesn’t provide the same enhanced user experience and ease of accessibility as native apps. However, with frameworks such as Ionic, the performance of hybrid apps are constantly getting better with time.
Might get Complicated: Even though Hybrid apps are easier to build and maintain because of a single code base, it might get very complicated to customise hybrid apps for various operating systems and devices. And adding specific features may be time-consuming and complex.
No in-app Purchases: While native apps support in-app purchases, the same is not true for hybrid apps. In-app purchases basically refer to enhanced features that you can buy inside an application. These could be anything ranging from subscription, no-advertisement feature, to enhanced ability and rewards in gaming applications.
Is Hybrid App Development the Right Choice for you?
The choice between a web app, hybrid app, and native app development really depends on your business, needs, and availability of resources. Hybrid App is a good choice if you have an idea that you want to test out in the market without investing too much in it. In a way, a hybrid app is an upgraded form of a minimum viable product which is a level above a basic web application.
Hybrid App development is also suitable for businesses that want to use the app internally, i.e. for better management and handling of their internal processes.
Keeping in mind the expenses and amount of time that goes into building native mobile apps, hybrid app development is an ideal choice for startups, SME’s and businesses that want to launch an app with simple, non-complex features.