Did you know that many of the seemingly “native” smartphone apps you use every day aren’t really native apps at all? For example, popular smartphone apps like Facebook, Netflix, and Linkedin (to name a few) are actually hybrid apps–a cross between mobile web apps and native apps. Today, let’s examine the hybrid application approach, and learn why so many businesses are taking that approach.
Now, before I explain hybrid apps, let me first say this: Many businesses turn mobile apps into a bigger and more expensive job than it needs to be. The fact is, mobile web applications are more than enough for most companies, and they’re easier to build, work across all platforms, and can handle most anything that a native app can handle. If your company is considering mobile apps, mobile web apps are most likely the best option.
That being said, some companies actually need (or think they need) native apps. Maybe they need an app that can access the camera or microphone. Maybe they want to place their app in the app store/market. Whatever the reason, if your company needs to build native apps, the hybrid approach will save considerable time and money.
What is a hybrid app?
How does it help?
Suppose you wanted to build native mobile apps for each major platform (iOS, Android, WP7, Blackberry). Here’s the difference between the native and hybrid approach:
- Native approach: You would need 4 different developers to create 4 different applications.
- Hybrid approach: You would need one web developer to create one mobile web app. Then, using a free tool like Phonegap, that developer could wrap that one mobile web app in different native shells for each platform.
Since both options produce the same result, which one would you rather take? If you need to create native apps, the hybrid approach is practically a no-brainer.
If your company is considering mobile apps, mobile web apps are generally sufficient. However, if your company needs to build native apps, consider the hybrid approach. It will give you all the advantages of native apps along with the “build once, use anywhere” advantage of mobile web apps. In short, the hybrid approach gives you the best of both worlds at a fraction of the time and cost of native apps.