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 the iOS and Android. It quickly hit the critical mass, and had 130 million downloads worldwide. Whether you’re wanting to create the next big mobile device game, or wanting to create an app for your business to enable your customers to experience your business through a different and more efficient channel, then the decision to design and develop a native app, web app, or hybrid app must be made. The decision of which type of app to develop depends on the goals, objectives, and needs of your business. At Webilze (Portfolio and Testimonials) we have a dedicated iOS and Android Mobile Development Team.


Consider the following 5 questions before deciding on which App type to develop:

  1. Do you require your mobile app to take advantage of the native 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 make 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 and/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 gets 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 is developed for a specific mobile operating system (Objective-C or Swift for iOS or Java for the Android). It is built typically using C, Java, or .NET.

  • Features/built-in capabilities:  Native Apps dominate with respect to 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 with respect 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 easier, 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 important 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 scour the App Stores (Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store).



Hybrid Apps can be viewed as part Native App and part Web App. Similar to Native Apps, Hybrid Apps can be downloaded from an App Store, and they are essentially a HTML rendered browser that is embedded within an App. Building a Hybrid App is significantly cheaper and quicker to build 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 native SDK. The Hybrid Apps are essentially 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 large 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 the 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 require 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 easily be done on a frequent basis.
  • Platform independence: Parts of the coding for both the Hybrid App and Web App can be reused, and thus platform independence is superior with the Hybrid and Web Apps. It’s essentially one code, multiple platforms.
  • Capabilities: Access to hardware/software capabilities through plugins.



Web Apps are actually websites, and not real Apps, although the look and feel is similar to that of native applications. They are essentially mobile versions of websites. They run on a browser and typically written in HTML5, thus no installation is required. Users can access the Web App, and then “install” it onto their home screen via a bookmark. It’s actually 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, ability to run in the background, and the use of complex gestures. Web Apps are 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 notifications to users cannot be sent, 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 excels 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 Aybrid 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.

Share This:

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