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Battle of the Apps: Mobile versus Hybrid

In an age where smartphones have become an appendage to more than 2.5 billion people around the world, more companies than ever are taking notice of the opportunity in front of them.
For retailers, the benefit of a mobile app is obvious: provide shoppers a user-friendly option to shop on the go, all wrapped up with exclusive perks, a direct line of communication, and real estate on their customers’ home screens.

So, when shopping around for the best app solution, retailers large and small may find themselves wondering which app option is right for them. Is mobile web enough? Is a hybrid app the perfect balance? Is a native app worth the investment? Let’s start with hybrid apps.

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Hybrid Apps

For someone looking to launch an app affordably and quickly, hybrid apps may seem like the best of both world. They typically look and function like native apps at first, but the differences between their performance can become stark quickly.

To back up, hybrid apps are built based on web technologies – think HTML or JavaScript. They are created specifically to perform on a web-based framework that’s flexible, versatile and open. Hybrid apps can be downloaded through app marketplaces, just like a native app, but essentially work simply by hosting a mobile website in an app-like container.

The benefit of a hybrid app over a native app is that a single code base is used to serve the app, regardless of device size or type. The downfall with this is that hybrid apps thus lack the inherent benefits of individual devices. Functions like GPS, camera, and contact information will be compromised with a hybrid app, as it’s not specifically built to function for the device it’s on.

For very basic apps such as schedulers or content outlets like blogs, hybrid apps can easily get the job done. For more sophisticated functionalities, though, such as a retailer with a sizeable product catalog and the need for integrations with multiple shopping carts, rewards programs, and countless others, hybrid apps may fall short.

Native Apps

A native app is a program built specifically for the device it will be served on. For example, an iOS app will only work on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads – same for an Android app, which will work on Android-based smartphones and tablets.

Because they’re custom-made to perform to the device’s exact specs and capabilities, a native app will simply perform better, faster, and more consistently. Device features like the camera can be seamlessly integrated, because the app will be built to speak the same language as the device itself. This cuts out unnecessary translation time, making the native app perform quickly and nimbly.

Other benefits for the native app are increased graphics capabilities, improved user experiences, and more reliable performance.
The drawback of a native app is typically perceived to be the time and money required to invest in building these more powerful programs. Companies may shy away from going this route if their priority is simply on having an app that’s easy to maintain and launches fast.

The Good News?

Retailers can have the best of both worlds. While native app development used to be a lengthy, expensive process, modern solutions make launching a native app efficient, affordable, and fast. See how easily your business can get started with a demo from t-APPZ today.

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