Mobile App Development: Web or Native?

There’s one question we often hear when clients want to develop mobile apps. Which is better: web technologies, with their capabilities to reach any possible device; or the device’s native language, releasing its full potential?

Clearly a web solution can make use of all new technologies, including HTML5, CSS3, newer versions of JavaScript and a variety of tricks many programmers know. But using a device’s native language makes everything possible. So which is most appropriate?

Web or Native: That’s the question

There’s no absolutely right answer. Instead, a range of variables needs to be considered. To help you decide, we’ve brought together the pros and cons of each option.

Mobile App Development: Web or Native?

There’s also a third option I chose not to list: hybrids. These frameworks function in most devices, solving the problem of learning different languages, and come in three kinds:

  • Outsourced – running the application on their own
  • Wrappers – your entire app runs from inside another
  • Revertible – these revert to HTML applications when power is low

Hybrids are still developing and with mixed results. So I’ve chosen not to consider them today.

Know your need

Making a decision solely on which option has more pros is an easy – but not necessarily wise – solution. Instead, your choice must be aligned with your company’s strategic objectives. Other factors to consider include: target audience, user profiles and available development resources.

For example, a large company may want to enter the mobile market with a presence on all devices, while a start-up may wish to make a smaller investment. In these cases, web technologies are the best option, provided these allow access to the cellular network, USB access etc.

In other cases, when the target audience is very specific, native solutions may be most suitable. For example, if the app is for a company’s security officers to use a mobile’s camera or accelerometer, development might be limited to one brand of device and one specific version – reducing development to a single language.

We can help you make the right decision for your business. Contact us and we’ll ensure your entrance to the mobile market rings all the right bells.