Apps are becoming a bigger part of how people use their mobile devices. The increase in mobile device use has made mCommerce (the mobile version of eCommerce) the most common method for shopping online. Naturally, companies everywhere are noticing and looking for ways to draw users to their apps.
Any company without an app is likely looking into how they could develop a new one and be a part of the mobile commerce revolution. One of the hardest decisions that they have to make is what type of app to develop. There are solid reasons to choose cross-platform apps or to develop a native app, and the benefits are worth taking the time to weigh your options. In this article, we discuss the differences between cross-platform apps and native apps, as well as when and why you should choose one option over the other.
There are two main types of apps to choose from native apps and cross-platform apps. Each has a set of benefits that make it a better choice in specific situations. By understanding those benefits, you can ensure that your company chooses the right app for its needs.
Native apps are designed to function in one specific type of operating system. For example, a native Android app can work on a mobile device that uses the Android operating system, but will not function in the MAC or Windows environments. It is essentially locked within that one operating environment. This is primarily due to the type of coding used to create it. All of the major operating systems (iOS, Android, and Windows OS) all function differently at a core level. For an app to work with an operating system it has to be built in a specific way that is compatible with that system.
Cross-platform apps are the exact opposite. They are designed to work in all operating systems, or in a select group of operating systems. This means that users can download and install the app as long as it was built with that system in mind. Cross-platform apps tend to function fundamentally differently from native apps and a variety of techniques have been developed to facilitate this cross-platform structure.
Native Apps for Focus
The best situation to use a native app in is one where you know what type of devices your audience uses. Most metrics systems let you track what devices your audience is viewing on, specifically what operating system they use. If you track your users and find that they all come from one operating system, then it is a good idea to develop a native app for that system. Native apps can be more cost-effective to build and maintain because they are simpler and often smaller than cross-platform apps.
For this to work, you have to be sure that you can attract an audience with a specific type of mobile device. Using a native app will prevent any users from other ecosystems from using your app. Do extensive research before committing a native app for a specific operating system to your project.
Cross-platform apps are capable of working on any or all operating systems that they are developed to work with. The upside is that you can attract an audience from anywhere. If your company is young, then having this type of flexibility can be a major asset. The downside to cross-platform apps is that they tend to be larger and more complex than native apps. This means that your company will need more resources to sustain and maintain the app.
Much of the difficulty of maintaining cross-platform apps comes from the method used to deliver content to different devices. For example, one method is to use a central system to deploy a different copy of a website to the user that asked for it. That copy would be created in a way that makes it viable on the type of operating system that the user has. Systems like this take up a lot of resources and can make general maintenance difficult.
Choosing the Better Option
It is important to note that neither system is necessarily better than the other. They are designed for different purposes. Cross-platform apps are effective in reaching a wide audience while native apps can be far more effective in targeted use cases. The key is understanding your audience and tailoring to their needs. When you go to choose one of the options, review them thoroughly. The wrong choice could cost you a lot of money or make it difficult to use your app.
Develop Your App Through KitelyTech
At KitelyTech, we work with companies every day that need help with apps. In many cases, we develop those apps from scratch focusing on what the client needs. Plus, we are good at creating apps with the right aesthetics and delivery method. Call us at (312) 254-8248 to learn more about our app development services.