Mobile Application Types – Native, Web and Hybrid

The mobile apps are broadly classified under three categories:
  • NATIVE APPLICATION – A native application (native app) is an application program that is developed for use on a particular platform or device iPhone or iPad apps built using Objective-C, and Android application built with Java. Native apps are installed through an application store (such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store). For example, Camera+ app for Apple’s iOS devices.
    • Advantages:
      • Native apps perform faster
      • Native apps provide easy access to all native features of the device
      • Native apps generally operate in offline mode
      • Native apps are fully supported from concerned app stores
      • Because of their support, Native apps provide better security
    • Disadvantages:
      • Native apps are expensive to develop because of their platform dependency
      • Maintenance is also expensive for Native apps.
      • Different teams need to me maintained and tracked for different platforms
      • Multiple versions are often required to be maintained
      • Native apps need approval from app stores to be published and this may prove tedious and time consuming in case the app is not developed with high standards.
  • WEB APPLICATION – Web applications are webpages that look like an app. They are basically Internet-enabled apps that are accessible via the mobile device’s Web browser. Web apps are accesses via browsers are not required to be downloaded on to the device. Web apps are built using HTML5, CSS3 etc. 
    • Advantages:
      • Web apps are platform independent and can be used on all devices irrespective of operating systems.
      • Since Web apps are platform independent, deployment is easier for them
      • As web apps are not downloaded on devices, users need not worry about versions and updates released.
    • Disadvantages
      • The native API’s and device specific features are not accessible to Web apps which limit their scope of usage.
      • Since Web apps are not listed in app stores, users may find it difficult to find them
      • Security is also a concern with Web apps as it’s all internet based and come with it’s own set of vulnerabilities
      • All Web apps may not always work with multiple browsers. Thus is also adds to the cost of developing and maintenance.
      • Web apps need internet connection to operate and do not work offline
  • HYBRID APPLICATION– Native apps are part native apps, part web apps. They are installed in the same way as native apps and use the web apps technologies to perform certain functions. Actually, it’s very hard for the users to differentiate between native and hybrid apps. Hybrid app may look an easy option for websites which want to be listed in app stores without spending much and required effort to develop a native version of themselves.
    • Advantages:
      • Because most of the development is done using web technologies, hybrid apps are faster and easier to develop as compared to Native apps.
      • Hybrid app come with best of both Web and Native apps
    • Disadvantages:
      • Along with best, worst of both Native and web apps is also packaged in Hybrid apps
      • The use of native features of device is limited
      • Performance is not up to the mark when compared with Native apps
      • While most of the code is written in web technologies and is platform independent, there is some part of code which need to be designed as per the platforms of devices.

What is Mobile Application or Mobile App

With the advancement of technology, the mobile phone has advanced at rapid fast speed. There was a time when we were surprised that we could take pictures and videos from mobile phone. Before people could digest it properly, came a device that makes calls, plays videos, takes pictures, and receive/send email, more. All this with a regular phone! They are definitely smart – Smartphone. Carrying a small phone is almost equivalent to carrying a pocket-sized personal computer. They have an operating system of their own such as Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.

Mobile Application or Mobile App
As per Wikipedia, A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on smartphonestablet computers and other mobile devices.
Anyone who uses a smartphone/tablet most probably uses apps. There is hardly any task which cannot be done on a smartphone/tablet as compared to traditional desktops/laptops. There are thousands of apps available for all operating systems. Name a thing or game, and we have a mobile app for it – News, Weather, chatting, Facebook, email, moves, trains, flights, everything.
While most applications function independently, but some of them integrate with tools in other media. For example, some websites have a different user interface for mobile and desktop version, while others have a separate app for the same – like Facebook. There are some apps which use location-based features  – like maps, weather etc.
How to download and use an app
Straight answer would be – A mobile app is used on a smartphone like iphone, Samsung S2/3/4 etx series, HTC mobiles etc or a tablet like – iPad, tab etc. It is to be noted that all apps do not work on all devices. It depends on the operating systems – ios, Android etc. For example, there is an app called iTunes – which works only on ios devices – iPhone/iPad.
The app needs to be downloaded on the device to use. All operating systems have their online app-stores from where, the users can search and download and install the apps. Some of the apps are free for use while some of them may charge the users. For example, the Facebook app is free for use on all devices and operating systems while the ‘what’s app’ charges ios users a one-time fees and is free for other operating systems (not sure if that’s updated now).

Types of Mobile Applications:
1. Native App
2. Web App
3. Hybrid App