Native Apps vs Hybrid Apps vs Web Apps

By Donald Kim
13 Sep '16

webilize, blog image, native apps vs hybrid apps vs web apps


Native Apps vs Hybrid Apps vs Web Apps – which App type is right for you? If you’ve lived on planet earth in the last few months, you would have heard about the game called Pokemon Go, which is a location-based augmented reality game for iOS and Android. It quickly hit the critical mass and had 130 million downloads worldwide. Whether you want to create the next big mobile game or an app for your business to enable your customers to experience your business, then it is high time for the developing a native, web or hybrid app. The choice of which type of app to develop depends on the goals, objectives, and needs of your business. At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials), we have a dedicated iOS and Android Mobile Development Team.


Consider the following five questions before deciding on which App type to develop:

  1. Do you require your mobile app to take advantage of the natural features of the smartphone? If yes, then you may want to go with the Native App so that you can use features such as the contacts, camera, hardware device buttons, and SMS.
  2. How soon do you need your app developed?  The Hybrid App can be developed and launched in multiple platforms quicker and cheaper than the other App types.
  3. Do you have the budget for both iOS and Android Apps? If so, then go with the Native Apps.
  4. Do you need to make frequent App updates? If yes, then you will want to go with the Hybrid App, because you can create content updates directly from the web.
  5. Is App User Experience (UX) crucial? If the answer is yes, then go with the Native App.



Native Apps are designed and developed specifically for a platform operating system, i.e. Android or iOS, and installed through an app store, Google Play or Apple’s App Store. Once downloaded, they appear on the mobile device as an icon. Through a Native App, the full capabilities of the features of the mobile device get used, such as GPS, camera, compass, accelerometer, list of contacts, gestures, the device’s notification system, and the ability to work offline. The developer will require specific skillsets. This option can be pricier and take longer to develop than the Hybrid App. The Native App designed for a particular mobile operating system (Objective-C or Swift for iOS or Java for Android) and built typically using C, Java, or .NET.

  • Features/built-in capabilities:  Native Apps dominate for taking advantage of all of the mobile device’s features (GPS, Camera, notifications, gestures, microphone, calendar). Push notification to make your audience more engaged. The API graphics is fast.
  • Performance: Since the Native Apps are developed specifically for the operating system, they are faster and more refined, and are great for games and high-performance apps (because of its highly interactive reporting). The Native App is also more secure than the Hybrid App.
  • Offline functionalities: Works best with no internet connection compared with the other App types. Although in-browser caching with the web app’s HTML5, it’s still limiting compared with the Native App. Hybrid Apps would often than not require an internet connection.
  • Speed: Native Apps are the fastest to responsiveness.
  • Installation: Downloading an app can be a painful task for users, as they’d need to justify its interaction costs. Although bookmarking a web app may seem more manageable, it’s not something that most people do.
  • User Experience/Interface (UX/UI): having a great user experience and one that is simple to use is essential when it comes to user adoption. The native app can take advantage of the strengths of the mobile device.
  • Audience: Native Apps are the way to go if you want to target the audience that scours the App Stores (Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store).



Hybrid Apps are part of the Native App and part of the Web App. Similar to Native Apps, you can download Hybrid Apps from an App Store, and they are essentially HTML rendered browser embedded within an App. Building a Hybrid App is significantly cheaper and quicker to create than a Native App, and companies can gain presence within an App Store. Tools such as PhoneGap and Ionic Framework allow developers to design and code across various platforms. Companies will wrap their existing website and build a Hybrid. The developer augments coding with the native SDK. The Hybrid Apps are mostly Web Apps in the native browser, such as UIWebView in iOS and WebView in Android. They are typically developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and wrapped in a Native App such as Cordova (has a vast repository of plugins). For developing Hybrid Apps, there are two main competitors’, one is Cordova (i.e. PhoneGap) and Appcelerator Titanium. With Cordova, it’s similar to developing a website in that you create HTML, CSS, and JavaScript local files, test them in the browser and then wrap them in a native web view with Cordova (native SDKs and development tools are required). Titanium provides full mobile tools, and it not only gets wrapped into a web view, but it gets interpreted by a JavaScript engine (JavaScriptCore in iOS or Rhino in Android). Xamarin is an alternative, which uses the C# programming language. One great thing is that it can be deployed across multiple platforms and is typically a cheaper and faster solution.

  • Maintenance: Maintaining a Native App is more complicated and requires significantly more development time. The changes will need to be packaged in a new version and placed within the app store. Maintaining a Hybrid App or Web App involves maintaining a web page and can quickly be done frequently.
  • Platform independence: It is possible to reuse parts of the coding for both the Hybrid App and Web App, and thus platform independence is superior with the Hybrid and Web Apps. It’s mostly one code, multiple platforms.
  • Capabilities: Access to hardware/software capabilities through plugins.



Web Apps are websites, and not real Apps, although the look and feel are similar to that of native applications. They are mainly mobile versions of websites. They run on a browser and typically written in HTML5; thus, no installation required. Users can access the Web App, and then “install” it onto their home screen via a bookmark. It’s quite difficult to distinguish between a Web App and a Native App. Although most mobile device features are accessible, there are still a few that aren’t possible to use, such as notifications, the ability to run in the background, and the use of sophisticated gestures. Web Apps built using HTML5, CSS, JavaScript. These Apps are typically simpler and quicker to develop. It cannot work without access to the internet. It is also slower and less intuitive than the Native App, and there are no notifications for users, which makes it difficult to keep visitors engaged with the content. Updates, however, are instantaneous.

  • Discoverability: Since most people use search engines to find and discover, web apps excel when it comes to discoverability. The majority of people hesitate to download apps unless they are going to use it often.
  • Content Restrictions/Approvals: Native and Hybrid apps must pass through content restrictions governed by the App Stores; however, the web for web apps is free.


“Need an App? Webilize specializes in iOS, Android, and Web Apps. Email or call us.





Other articles you might be interested in

SEO Best Practices Checklist in 2016

Best Practices in Developing Apps for Large Android Devices

Responsive Websites vs Mobile Websites

Share This:

Do you have the next idea for your project? Talk to Webilize