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Native Mobile Apps and why they are still relevant today

Originally published on Medium.

All apps targeted toward a particular mobile platform are known as native apps. Therefore, an app intended for Apple device does not run in Android devices. As a result, most businesses develop apps for multiple platforms.

So what are the benefits of using native mobile apps?

  • Can use all platform features
  • Recuperate development costs by selling the App on the platforms store
  • App is easily found and advertised in the platform store
  • Best performance
  • Has to be developed for each platform
  • Requires a individual implementation for each platform
  • Needs to be installed on a device
  • Requires updates being published and deployed to devices
  • Has high development and maintenance costs

As a result of these downsides people looked at alternatives and one of the most obvious was the web.

Alternatives to native mobile Apps

The web works on all modern devices no matter what operating system or browser they use. However a website lacks a lot of features that a native mobile app has.

The Progressive Web App

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A Progressive Web App is basically a special form of a website. It uses the same technologies (HTML5, CSS and Javascript), but despite running on a Webserver it runs on the Device as a so called Shell.

  • Device independent
  • Can use the same code as the website
  • by using HTML5, CSS and Javascript
  • Immediately accessible
  • No Update procedure is required
  • Low development costs
  • Needs support by the platform to run like a native App
  • Access to Hardware features can be limited
  • Platform APIs are not fully exposed
  • Web technology and standards have been moving fast, which can lead to issues for long term support
  • Potentially having not access to all platform APIs and hardware features could limit us in the future

The best of both worlds


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These are in the end, according to the definition, native Apps that are built using frameworks that allow developers to build Apps for multiple platforms based upon one and the same base of code.

  • Can use most if not all platform features
  • Can be sold on platform store
  • App can be advertised in the platform store
  • Can use any programming language
  • One code base for multiple platforms
  • Lower development costs
  • Requires installation
  • Needs to be maintained on all platforms
  • Depends on the framework developer
  • Cross-platform: React native, Xamarin, Flutter etc.
  • Hybrid: Onsen UI, Titanium etc.

These frameworks bridge the gap between the programming language you want to use and the one that the device platform is using. Therefore you are dependent on the framework to provide the feature parity to enable you to utilize the full potential of teach platform.

Our conclusion

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  • Cross-Platform and Hybrid Apps make native Apps feasible for more companies.
  • They also allow more developers to develop new and innovative apps.
  • There is no single best approach, it depends on your goals and requirements.

Overall the winner is the customer, because more products and innovative ideas are able to see the light of the day. Therefore there is more choice and competition on the marketplace, pushing everyone to innovate further.


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