Native vs Hybrid vs Progressive Web Apps: Top reasons why you should go with Native

When it comes to app development, we are often confused with the choice of having a ‘web’, ‘hybrid’ or a ‘native’ app.

No doubt, the development experts understand the differences between these apps, but what about those who don’t? If you are an entrepreneur starting off with your own app project, you might as well relate to this.

Sometimes, the only thing that people may know about native apps is that they cost slightly more. Having got the cost estimations between the two, most of you usually stop your search there.

However, that should not be the case.

There are a lot of reasons why your app developers should recommend going native for your next mobile project.

Let me give you a single reason why hybrid apps are not meant for your business.

So, the idea behind hybrid apps is that they should make the process of app development much easier. However, that is not what happens ideally.

The reality is that managing a hybrid app and getting it to work is quite painful. In fact, large companies such as Facebook with some of the finest engineers working for them have recently ditched hybrid apps.

From this alone, it should convince you that if a large well-funded company cannot bear the pain, neither should you! People want the idea of hybrid apps to work, but in reality, getting an app to work across multiple platforms is a nightmare.

What are Native, Hybrid and Progressive Web Apps?

If you are still undecided on native app vs web app vs hybrid apps consider this list of the advantages and disadvantages that may help you make your choice:

Hybrid Apps


Sometimes, you may not have the money or resources to build an app for each device. In such an instance, you will result in building a hybrid app that can work across multiple platforms. This is a great app for the times when you would like to launch for the marketplace fast. Most businesses try to skip the initial hassle and go with these apps before moving to specific apps later.

What works in favor of them?

  • You will have one codebase to manage
    The main advantage of a hybrid app is that you do not have to build two or three apps, you just build a single app and tweak it to work on multiple platforms.
  • Saves time
    Since you only need to manage a single codebase, you will require about half the developers that you would need for multiple native apps. Besides that, you can use the same number of developers but cut the time in half. In addition, developers who work on hybrid apps will usually charge less.
  • Scaling is easier
    Once you build the app, scaling it to another platform such as Windows is quite easy and happens within a short time.
  • You retain access to device features
    Just as with the native app, you will be able to retain the same level of ability when using a hybrid app.

And what doesn’t?

  • Performance Suffers
    The biggest disadvantage of a hybrid app is that its performance will suffer.

    Are you ready to compromise on that? Pause here for a moment and think. With so much competition around, performance is what consumers are looking for. Before you choose the hybrid way, keep this thought in mind.

    Since these apps will launch using a browser-like component, they are only as good as the component on which they run. Earlier, Google and Apple did not agree on the WebView. While it has vastly been improved, it does not have the same efficiency as running a native app.

  • Running cross-platform apps is difficult
    Making the hybrid apps run efficiently on multiple platforms is no easy task. In some instances, it could cost almost the same as running native apps. The cost will depend on how close you want to get to the native app experience.
  • UX will suffer
    Most Android and iOS users tend to be quite loyal to their platforms. They thus understand how native apps are supposed to work. For these types of users, even subtle differences can be quite frustrating.
  • No Hidden Costs
    Hybrid apps are generally a pain due to a variety of custom plugins which may demand tweaks from time to time. Some functionalities even require your developer to code from the scratch due to incompatibility of certain plugins with the device OS. This leads to additional costs and time overruns that are not foreseen during the planning stage.

Progressive Web Apps


Until very recently, web apps did not have the functionality of native apps. For instance, they could not work offline and did not have push notifications. Besides that, they could not be located on the home screen.

However, because of recent improvements to browsers and web apps, progressive web apps now offer the above-mentioned features. When an app is able to make use of such features, it is called a progressive web app. If you want to turn your app into a web app, you will need to follow the steps outlined here.
Using progressive web apps will mainly depend on the goals that you have. The first thing you need to know is that they only work on Google Chrome.

Thus, if you wish to cover audiences in the iOS and Android markets, these are not designed for you. In that sense, they are not replacements for native mobile apps. However, they are a great way to provide the mobile-app experience without going all the way.

What works in favor of PWAs?

Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of PWAs. This should assist you in making your choice.

  • Installation is not required
    Since PWAs run as web pages, they do not require any lengthy download and installation processes. However, shortcuts can be installed on the device’s home screen.
  • App update is not needed
    Since they are web pages, they update via push notifications in the background, unlike native apps that require installation.
  • Portable
    These are essentially just websites with the functionality of an app. The main advantage of these apps is that they do not change your packaging and deployment model.
  • Quick load time
    These apps load nearly instantly, no matter the state of the network conditions.
  • Fresh content delivered in a timely manner
    PWAs utilizes push notifications to ensure that content is delivered in a timely and contextual manner.
  • Secure
    If hosted over HTTPS, they are quite secure.
  • Responsive
    They use a responsive web design to ensure that users get the same UX as on a native app.
  • Less intrusive
    These apps generally take up less space on a device and use less of its resources. The result is better battery life and less data usage.
  • Easy to share
    These apps appear as a URL in the browser. Thus, they are quite easy to share.

And what doesn’t?

  • Supports only a few browsers
    Today, these apps only work on Opera, Chrome, and the Samsung mobile browser. However, these browsers take up only less than half of the mobile browser market.
  • Some native functionality is lacking
    In some devices, some of the features will not work. For instance, notifications on iOS devices will not work.
  • Limited hardware functionally
    In some apps, cameras, fingerprint scanner, and GPS may not work or work with glitches.
  • There is no central repository
    This can make it hard for users of your apps to find them and reduces trust in them.

    Although PWAs are a much talked about genre of apps today, Native Apps are still dominant and a haven for many businesses.

Native Apps


Native mobile apps are designed to be used specifically for one device. For instance, if you want to launch an app for the iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and Android tablets, you ensure that you have an app for each of these types of devices.

In general, native apps guarantee you the best user experience. The reason for this is that each app is designed to work with the hardware resources on offer for the device.

Why is Native not dead?

Native apps will not go anywhere anytime soon.

Web apps may offer many things, but they still cannot match up to the capabilities of native apps. Besides this, major OS makers have implemented their web experience in different ways and this has created limitations that are unlikely to be overcome soon.

According to a recent report by eMarketer, Americans are spending more time within mobile apps and less time within mobile browsers. The fact that eMarketer principal analyst, Cathy Boyle confirmed that a native app experience is faster and sharper than a comparable web experience, cannot be ruled out here.

In 2016 alone, about 87 percent of all mobile internet traffic went to native apps. This shows that there is still much to be achieved with them despite the initial cost. The long-term benefits of native apps are just too many to ignore. These include:

  • Discoverable
    These apps are available on all the major app repositories of the Play Store and the Apple Store, which makes them easily accessible. Mostly users trust apps that they find on the app repositories. Thus, if you are trying to encourage users to download other apps, it could present an unnecessary lack of trust in them. This trust can be gained only if you launch a native app instead.
  • Better UI and UX
    Your users are more likely to be happy if you can match up your app’s UI/UX to the expected platform performance. There are many UI/UX differences, which loyal users of a certain platform will immediately take note of, in a native app.

    These are not only visually appealing but they will also offer a consistent user experience with the OS and other apps using the platform. Being able to work with other existing apps on a specific OS is not something that can be guaranteed when working with a hybrid app.

  • Guaranteed high performance
    A native app is able to make the best use of the device’s hardware, thereby guaranteeing the highest app performance possible. Once a native app has been designed to work on a specific OS and device, not only can it make the best use of the specific software and hardware, but it will also be able to keep up with all updates.

    Besides that, it can synchronize with the latest in technology such as the camera, calendar, and others without any issues.

  • Offline support
    Unlike PWAs, users of native apps will still be able to access the app’s functionality even when they are offline. That means users can still utilize most of the functions in these apps. For instance, if you are using a PWA gaming app or a photo-editing app, you can only utilize it if there is an internet connection.
    Native app users can continue to use the app despite loss of an internet connection.
  • High security
    In a world of increasing online hacking, only a native app can guarantee the full use of all tools offered by a certain OS in securing the customer’s data.

    Hybrid apps may have to make certain compromises in this case which can prove lethal to your mobile’s security.

    Hybrid and PWA apps use 3rd party plugins, where security is definitely not a assured. Many a times, developers of such plugins fail to build a secure code and this could leave a major loophole. This might increase the chances of hackers gain unauthorized access to a user’s data.

  • Enhanced usability
    These ensure that your customer has access to all features such as GPS, fingerprint sensors and retinal scanners to name a few. Other aspects of usability such as being able to communicate with other apps on the OS is a cakewalk with native ones. As a result, your consumer will be able to utilize different features of different apps when you need them.
  • Work well with the latest technology
    The major operating system providers in the market also happen to be the makers of the physical technology. As a result, if they decide on discontinuing any feature, hybrid apps may pose a problem.

    For instance, if a company decides to ditch the fingerprint scanner, this would leave the hybrid app developer in a limbo.

  • High speed
    One of the biggest complaints that users have about apps is their speed. However, this is never an issue with native apps. Since they can directly access the specific device’s OS and work in the device’s native language, all such processes are smooth and efficient. Therefore, native apps will always outperform other types of apps in speed.

For us, Native is the clear winner. Though it may cost you a little extra, as long as the app stores continue to monetize, native apps will still rule the pack. So, if you are planning to go mobile, carefully measure the pros and cons of each and make the best decision for your business!