If you’ve been listening for a long time the concepts of  native, web and hybrid applications in the context of mobile application development without understanding anything, this is your chance to discover what are each the three concepts and what benefits do they offer. In this article, we will try to give an overview of each concept to help you choose one or the other.

Native Mobile Apps:


A native application is the one that is developed specifically for a particular operating system, called Software Development Kit or SDK. Each of the platforms, Android, iOS or Windows Phone, have a different system, so if you want your app is available on all platforms must create several apps with the language of the selected operating system. This means that the native applications are developed in different programming languages ​​depending on the device for which are to be used. For example:

  • Apps for iOS are developed with Objective-C language
  • Apps for Android are developed with Java language
  • Apps in Windows Phone develop in .Net

The download and installation of these apps is always done through app stores (app store manufacturers). This facilitates the process of marketing and promotion that is vital to give visibility to an app.

Mobile Web Apps:


Mobile Web apps are not really applications. In fact, these are sites that, in many ways, look like a native application. They are run through a browser and typically written in HTML5. Users initially access these apps with a website; as they access certain URL they have the option to “install it” on the main screen of your device by creating a shortcut to that page.

Here are some features of web apps similar to native application accessible on mobile:

  • Hide browser buttons
  • Navigation gestures
  • Offline preview using browser cache,
  • Use of GPS services
  • Link for direct connection

Hybrid Mobile Apps:


Hybrid applications are partially native and partly web apps. As the native applications, they must be downloaded through the app store (like Google Play for Android and Apple’s App Store), Then, these are stored in the device’s main screen and can enjoy all the features of the device (camera, GPS, accelerometer, gestures etc). As web apps, they can be based on HTML5 and be displayed through a browser embedded in the application, using some or full web content loaded.

Hybrid applications are popular because these allows cross – platform development using the same HTML for different operating systems using tools like Cordova,  PhoneGap and Sencha Touch that allow compiling to native format while reducing production costs.

Advantages and disadvantages of Native, web and Hybrid applications – The Key Differences!

Each of the mobile app development platforms has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are these explained!

Device Features:

While the web apps can take advantage of several features, there is a huge range of device-specific tools and operating system available only to resident applications (native or hybrid application).

Working offline:

A native application is best if you need to work without internet. Cache in the browser is possible in HTML5, but is still limited compared to native.


Web applications are more easily discovered because the content is simultaneously on the web. Thus, when a user uses a search engine looking for specific information, they can easily find the answer on the web app (most users prefer not having to install and maintain applications that they do not use very often).


Native applications are faster because they have direct access to the operating system and are programmed in specific native device language.


Native and hybrid apps are installed; however, most users do not like to install applications. In this regard, web apps are convenient as the users can add a web page to home screen for easy access.


The maintenance of native applications can be complicated not only for users (who should watch for updates) but mostly for app developers, especially when they need to support different platforms: the changes should be sent to each store. Meanwhile, apps and hybrid web can be updated with the required frequency, such as a website.

Platform independence:

While different browsers should provide support for different versions of HTML5, it is better to opt for hybrid and web apps applications because at least part of the code can be reused.

Content restrictions, approval rates and process:

At the moment it is developed a native or hybrid application, you must send it to the store that has its own terms of use to which the application is submitted. In Apple’s App Store it is necessary to go through quality test before publication. In contrast, the Web is easily accessible for publication.

Development cost:

It is much cheaper to develop web apps and hybrid applications because they require knowledge of the web languages ​​that may have been previously obtained and still be used for different platforms. Developing a native application requires knowledge of a specific language.

User Interface:

If one of your priorities is to provide a consistent experience to the operating system and other platform applications, give preference to the native application. This does not mean that you cannot develop a good application for the web or in hybrid app environment, but the look and experience will not be the same as the users are accustomed.

Briefly, each case calls for a specific solution. Based on the above criteria is up to the developer to assess what application meets the best design.