In today's digital landscape, having a mobile presence is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity. Businesses are often left to grapple with a critical decision: should they invest in a native mobile application or settle for a cross-platform app? If you find yourself mulling over this dilemma, you're in the right place. This blog post aims to make the case for why native apps are not just advantageous, but essential for businesses seeking to provide an unmatched user experience.
What Are Native Apps?
Before diving in, it's important to understand what native apps are. Native apps are built specifically for a particular operating system—be it iOS or Android—using languages and development tools supported by that operating system. For instance, native iOS apps are built with Swift or Objective-C and use Apple’s Xcode, while native Android apps are commonly built with Java or Kotlin using Android Studio.
The Advantages of Native Apps Over Cross-Platform Apps
1. Speed and Performance
Native apps are faster and more reliable because they are built and optimized for a specific platform. Cross-platform apps, built to function on multiple operating systems, can struggle with speed because they rely on "bridges" to communicate with native modules, adding an extra layer of interpretation.
Example: Facebook's initial mobile app was a hybrid, HTML5-based app, which lacked the performance and speed of a native app. The sluggish experience led Facebook to transition to native apps for both iOS and Android, resulting in significant performance improvements (source).
2. Superior User Experience
Native apps can offer a higher degree of customization and better alignment with platform-specific UI/UX guidelines. This translates into apps that are more intuitive and offer a better user experience.
Example: Airbnb, once a staunch supporter of cross-platform technology, partly reverted to native app development to offer a smoother, more consistent user experience (source).
3. Access to Device Features
Native apps can easily access and utilize the full range of device features, such as the camera, GPS, and accelerometer, without the need for third-party plugins or APIs.
Example: Snapchat’s native apps make full use of device features to offer real-time filters and augmented reality, features that may not perform as seamlessly on a cross-platform application.
4. Scalability and Long-term Value
A native app is more scalable and can easily adapt to new features and updates released by the operating system. Cross-platform apps might require extensive modifications to adapt to changes in multiple operating systems.
Example: Instagram’s focus on native app development has allowed them to quickly roll out features like Stories and Reels, keeping them ahead in the social media game.
5. Better SEO and Deep Linking
Native apps support deep linking, which allows for a more seamless user experience and contributes to better SEO. This is less straightforward in cross-platform apps.
Example: Amazon’s native app allows you to jump straight to a product page via deep links, which can be indexed by search engines, thus enhancing its SEO strategy.
The Investment is Worth the Payoff
Why Choose Us for Your Native App Development?
Our team specializes in building custom native mobile apps that not only look stunning but also perform exceptionally well. We believe that a well-crafted native app can be a game-changer for your business. Plus, if you're uncertain about the state of your existing codebase, we also offer comprehensive code reviews and assessments to help you make informed decisions.
This isn't to say that cross-platform apps don't have a place in the market -- they definitely do, however, when you need the highest performance, reliability, extensibility and quality, we recommend you choose native.