For many app developers, the choice between cross-platform and native app development is not an easy one, unless performance is your greatest priority, in which case you would stick to what the powerful Android and iOS platforms have to offer in native mobile app development.
Otherwise, both platforms offer a unique set of advantages that help in the development of truly beautiful apps. Below is an assessment of the pros and cons of each mobile app platform:
Cross platform mobile development
As the name suggests, these apps are developed to run on multiple platforms. This means that the developer uses a coding language specially designed to run on different devices/platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Windows.
The developer uses languages such as Java and HTML to develop basic apps that require minimal interaction with the user, and typically don’t need access to other peripherals. Since the app is not designed for a specific platform, the performance may not be optimized in some devices, causing it to appear slow and ‘unnatural’.
Furthermore, the interaction between native and cross platform languages is somewhat cumbersome, which increases the risk of the app failing eventually, or failing to complete it altogether.
That said, cross-platform app development offers a few benefits, including:
- Lower development cost – bridging the gap between web applications and mobile devices makes it possible for companies to develop a single app that can be launched on multiple platforms at the same time, using the same resources for development and marketing.
- Ability to test different markets – since the app is available to different users, companies can access a wider user database with a single app, even when its performance is not optimal.
Native app development
These applications are specially created to run on a single platform. They are built from the ground up for a specific user or platform. This exclusivity allows developers to create very powerful apps, with consideration of the various design layouts for devices operating on the same platform to provide the best possible UX. This is what makes native mobile app development more efficient than cross-platform development.
Other pros include:
- Faster app operation
- Easier to update and integrate new features
- Easy implementation of hardware-related items like geo-location tracking, gestures, and multi-touch events
- Easy to specialize for a specific market since the UI and UX conventions are different
On the downside, native apps are more expensive to develop, especially if you have to develop for different platforms to avoid missed opportunities.
While return on investment is a major concern for app development, you should also keep in mind that user experience is extremely important. An unpleasant experience may cause a user to uninstall a poorly developed app and give it a bad rating, lowering your credibility. So, weigh the pros and cons before making your choice.