Why Should You Use Native Apps?

Dhrubajyoti Basu Roy
Dhrubajyoti Basu Roy
3 min read
Posted on July 27, 2022
Why Should You Use Native Apps?

The app development ecosystem is widely apart in terms of native vs web war with some holding a middle ground combining the best of both worlds. Each have its fair share of benefits and drawbacks that compels an app development strategy to foresee the trade offs while approaching a decision. Here we will primarily discuss what native apps basically are and why should you use them. We will also dive into the available alternative solutions and a quick comparison with native technologies to figure out what works best for a given use case.
 

What are Native Apps?

Native apps are platform dependent applications using specific programming languages and frameworks. In the mobile world, native apps are primarily built for Android or iOS platforms. Android apps are build using Java and Kotlin programming languages in the Android Studio environment, whereas iOS apps are build using Objective C and Swift programming languages in the XCode environment. The Android apps are published on the Google Play Store, whereas the iOS apps are published on the Apple App Store. All these apps are built in strict adherence to the guidelines set across by their respective publishing platforms.
 

Benefits of Native Apps

Let’s discuss a few advantages of the native apps and why should you use them.

Greater Stability

Native apps are built in accordance with the platform centric guidelines and hence offer more stability in comparison to web apps. App crashes are rare with native apps.

Reliability

Native apps are robust and reliable because they follow device specific constraints and considerations to the core while building the app.

Improved Performance

Native apps usually perform way better than their web and hybrid counterparts. Resource intensive apps that demand high data processing tasks can only rely on native apps for optimum performance.

Enhanced Security

Leveraging the inbuilt security of mobile platforms and devices, the users of native apps enjoy greater security and data protection. Presence of a centralized app store eliminates the risk of malware and other privacy breach issues.

Device Integration

Native apps are tightly integrated with mobile hardware and hence they can access device sensors like camera, GPS, accelerometer, touchscreen, speaker, and microphone. This enables the native apps to include features like gesture navigation, vibrations, push notifications, integrated calling and much more.

Top Notch User Experience

Native apps can provide unparalleled user experience with enhanced look-n-feel, low latency, quick responses, and easier navigation. They provide more intuitive app interfaces based on insights from user behavior. Aspect ratios are well maintained in native apps based on device specifications. Various in-app features are more commonly available in native apps.

Easily Scalable

Native apps are not confined to the limitations of standard web browsers. They can easily be scaled by releasing latest SDKs or integrating third-party APIs.

Offline Access

Unlike their web counterparts, native apps can also be accessed offline. This is especially important in regions with low internet penetration or frequent disruptions. Your native apps will keep on running regardless of where you go.

Ad Monetization

A device identifier helps in tracking and understanding usage statistics that renders more relevant ads to the user resulting in greater ROI on ad campaigns.

Community Support

Native apps have strong developer community support. Native app developers enjoy the privilege to work with the latest frameworks and libraries, much before they are being introduced to the wider community of web developers.
 

Drawbacks of Native Apps

Let’s discuss a few drawbacks that you should think of before investing in native apps.

Platform Dependence

Native apps are tied to the platforms they are built for. This means your native app built for Android won’t work on iOS. You need to build everything again from scratch. Every time your operating system undergoes an update, you will need to update your app as well.

Time Consuming

Native apps take more time to build and deploy. The developers need to maintain separate code bases for different platforms and hence more effort is required from them. The app stores take a final call on whether your app is eligible to be published or not. Your app could be rejected for the slightest of non-adherence to the app store’s policy.

Increased Costs

You need dedicated set of developers for different platforms as skillsets do not overlap. This will increase your development costs as you need to invest separately for development costs.
 

Alternative Solutions

By now it’s pretty clear that native apps aren’t the one stop solution that fits all situations. Let’s look at the different available solutions that we can consider.

Web Apps

Web apps are built using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. They are lightweight and need a web browser to be accessible to the users. They are platform independent and hence can be used on any device. They are quick and easy to build and are excellent to test prototype apps.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

PWAs are further enhancements of web apps that facilitates native like experiences in terms of improved security, advanced caching techniques, push notifications, offline access and more. You can technically install a PWA alongside your regular apps on your device. Although, PWAs are a decent solution on Android platform its footprint in the iOS ecosystem is fairly limited.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps bring the best of native and web apps. They are build using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and operates in a web view within your app browser. Hybrid apps are easier to scale, and you do have access to the device features available only for native apps. However, the biggest challenge is regarding the performance. They are no match in performance to their native counterparts.

Cross Platform Apps

Cross platform apps share the majority of codebase by as much as 90%, and the rest is custom code based on specific platforms. They bring almost native like features and performance to the app development community at large. Leading platforms are Xamarin from Microsoft, React Native from Facebook, and Flutter from Google. They are cost effective, support native components, can easily integrate with existing native technologies, and relies on reusable components for development.

All the above are great alternative solutions if you want a cost-effective app that could be shipped to the market quick and easy. However, native apps are still going strong and are no way replaceable by any of them. When it comes to sheer performance, reliability, and exceptional user experience native apps are way ahead of the rest.