Which Type of Mobile App Is Best for You? Native, Cross-Platform, Hybrid, or the Cloud

It is essential for companies to stay up to date with the latest technology, and having a mobile app could be beneficial. Competitors may already have a mobile app that enhances the user experience with their website, service, or eCommerce platform. Therefore, it is important to consider the potential benefits of developing a mobile app for your own business.

It is no longer necessary for your company to be without a mobile app, as the process of creating and releasing one is now much simpler. Before you begin developing a mobile app, you must first address an important question.

For your business, the question is: what type of mobile application would be most beneficial? It is worth noting that mobile devices are capable of supporting a wide range of applications. These primarily fall into three categories:

  • Native
  • Hybrid
  • Website-based software

You might also look at these two other kinds:

  • Cross-platform
  • Cloud-based

Let’s examine each of these categories to find the app that best serves your company’s needs.

Apps Built Specifically for Mobile Devices

Smartphone apps are highly sought after, with one of the most downloaded categories being native apps. Native apps have been specifically designed to work with the operating system (OS) they are built for; therefore, an iOS app can only be used on an iPhone, and an Android app can only be used on an Android device.

You require developers who possess a strong command of the native languages of the platforms on which they are developing apps that are not compatible with rival operating systems (e.g., Java for Android and Swift for iOS).

Many people prefer native applications as they are able to make the most of the capabilities of mobile devices. When speed is a key focus, native app software is the ideal choice. Additionally, this type of app can provide an improved overall user experience.

Native mobile applications provide the following major advantages:

  • Superior efficiency
  • Safer Environment
  • It’s more of a conversation and a learning experience
  • Is able to use all of the device’s functions
  • Problems during production of the product are reduced.

There are certain potential risks associated with the use of native mobile applications. Firstly, as they are platform-specific, separate apps must be created for both Android and iOS if support for both is desired. Additionally, due to the need for platform-specific expertise and development resources, the creation of a native mobile app may be more costly.

Mobile Applications that Use a Hybrid Design

Both Android and iOS support the installation of hybrid mobile applications, which run in the device’s web browser (or a subsystem such as Android’s WebView) to display their content. As HTML5 is used to create hybrid mobile applications, those with a good understanding of the language can make an app that is compatible with both Android and iOS.

Hybrid mobile applications offer a range of benefits, including the ability to work on both major mobile platforms and the potential to reduce the time needed to develop the app. Additionally, with HTML5 as the primary language, it is relatively straightforward to find and hire experienced developers to create this type of programme. The cost savings and accelerated feature rollout achievable from hybrid mobile apps make them an attractive option.

Mobile Apps

The final main application type is web-based software. This can be likened to a website. When viewed on a desktop browser, the website will expand to fit the available space, just as it would on a tablet or smartphone. If you attempt to access a website designed for a desktop computer from a mobile device, you may need to pinch and swipe to view the text.

Web applications are extremely useful when it comes to mobile visitors accessing websites. Adaptable web apps ensure that pages are optimised for both the size of the screens and the touch input, providing an optimal viewing experience.

The key advantage of these mobile apps is their ability to be built on cutting-edge web frameworks, resulting in cost-effective and straightforward deployment.

Universal Mobile Applications

Creating software that works across multiple platforms can be beneficial, allowing you to avoid having to start from scratch each time. Applications that are compatible with multiple platforms are available. This can be a great solution to ensure your software works on all platforms.

  • Xamarin
  • RhoMobile
  • NativeScript
  • Platform for Mobile Devices by Kony
  • Monocross
  • Touch of Sencha
  • Appcelerator
  • PhoneGap

Cross-platform mobile app development can be more expensive than developing applications for a single platform, as it necessitates specialist developers who are experienced in various technologies. Although creating these applications can be more costly, they enable the simultaneous release of apps for two platforms.

Web-Hosted Mobile Programs

This software is accessible from any device with a web browser, making it highly portable. Mobile cloud applications and web applications have similar functions, but mobile cloud applications often operate in a digital setting (such as a third-party cloud host). Unlike web applications, with mobile apps stored in the cloud, users do not have to download or install anything on their device.

This suggests that, in the same way as web applications, only one version of an app needs to be developed to accommodate both the Android and iOS platforms. A major disadvantage of cloud-based mobile applications is the requirement for developers with the expertise to effectively design and manage numerous APIs and interact with cloud services economically.


Ultimately, selecting an app that meets your needs is a simple process. An ideal application will be able to operate seamlessly and efficiently on the device that it was designed for. If you’re looking to save money without compromising on quality, a hybrid app is the best option. Alternatively, if speed of delivery is of paramount importance, a web-based application could be the ideal choice.

Making informed decisions is essential for success, so it is important to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each available option. Developing a mobile application could be hugely beneficial for your company, as it would make your goods and services more accessible to a wider customer base.

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