Web Apps vs Native Mobile Apps vs Hybrid Apps

Mel Sucuoglu

Reading Time : 9min read
Web Apps vs Native Mobile Apps vs Hybrid Apps

It has been nearly 15 years since Apple coined the phrase “There’s an app for that.” At the time, apps were only just starting to transform the way consumers and businesses think about software. Today, you could be forgiven for thinking that there truly is an app for every conceivable software need.

Whilst that perception may be correct, it is just as correct to assume that there is always another developer working on the next app that we simply cannot live without. But are they developing a web app, a native mobile app, or a hybrid app?

Not all apps are created equal, and understanding the differences between mobile apps, web apps, and hybrid apps is important to ensure you are choosing the right solution for your business.

Differences between Mobile Apps, Web Apps, and Hybrid Apps

Before we look into choosing the right app for your system, let us start by clarifying the differences between each type. Native apps are built for a specific platform. In order for the app to run, users need to download it to their devices. The most common examples of native apps are native mobile apps, designed to work on Android systems or Apple smartphones. Once installed, these apps may run without an internet connection, and most will have access to some of the device’s resources, such as the camera, microphone, or GPS.

Web apps are not built for a specific device. Instead, their responsiveness is one of their strengths and a major differentiator between web apps vs mobile apps. Depending on the browser you are using and the device, the app will adjust its appearance to accommodate the system it is running on. Most web apps are built in JavaScript or HTML5, and they need an internet connection to run. Because these apps are not native to a particular operating system, there is no need to download or install anything on your device. When it comes to looks and functionality, they often mirror their mobile equivalent.

Hybrid apps combine aspects of native and web apps. Like web apps, they are often written in HTML5 or JavaScript. However, they also access device resources.

From a user’s point of view, there may not be much difference at all between the three types of apps. However, developers understand that they are built differently. As a result, the development cost differs, and the time it takes to take an app from idea to deployment can also vary widely. Because of all those variances, each type of app also requires its own testing process.

How to Choose an App for Your Business

Like so many business decisions, choosing the right type of app for an organization starts with a closer look at the business itself, at your customers, and your resources.

Starting with the business, you may want to consider the complexity of the solution you want to provide. Games, for example, need highly sophisticated animation. Moving on to your users, you need to consider how and on which device they will use your app. If most users will access your solution from their laptops, a mobile-only app is not enough. Likewise, it is worth considering which type of app will deliver the best user experience both for functionality and performance.

Company resources are the next consideration. Ask yourself how much of your budget can be dedicated to the development of the app or apps you need. And what about the time it takes to bring the app to market? If you are developing something truly unique, you may have more time than a business whose competitors are already planning to release their own app.

Cybersecurity is another important concern, especially if the app is handling sensitive information like financial details. Lastly, if your company is thinking about building a mobile or a hybrid app, you need to decide which device resources are needed for the app to run smoothly.

Pros and Cons of Web Apps vs Mobile Apps vs Hybrid Apps

With answers to all the questions above, it is time to consider the pros and cons of each type of app. Remember, for many businesses, the best choice will eventually be to develop more than one app. However, especially if your company is small or just starting out, looking at the pros and cons of different apps will help you prioritize.

Pros and Cons of Web Apps


·   Cost-effective and easy to develop

·   Fast deployment

·   Accessible on desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices

·   Automatic updates


·   Cannot be used offline

·   Security can be problematic

·   Performance and user experience may also be compromised

Pros and Cons of Native Apps


·   Stunning user experience and excellent performance

·   Can support complex functionality, including gaming

·   Best solution for top-level animations

·   High degree of security

·   Opportunity to connect to other IoT devices


·   Higher cost of development and maintenance than web apps

·   Requires more skill and time to develop

·   Users need to install updates and new features

·   No desktop option

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Apps


·   Easier development than native apps, whilst retaining some of their benefits

·   Accessible on desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices

·   Offer high levels of security

·   Can update automatically


·   Slow deployment, similar to native apps

·   Higher maintenance costs compared to web apps

Looking at advantages and disadvantages in this manner makes it clear that there is rarely a perfect solution. Most businesses will need to compromise at some point, but remember that app development is progressing almost every day.

Right now, native apps have the upper hand when it comes to delivering outstanding user experiences on specific devices. But for companies that need to launch an app fast, web or hybrid apps offer better options in terms of development, testing, and deployment.

Why Testing Matters

Throughout this article, we have touched on the importance of testing. So, why is mobile app testing critical?

Part of the answer relates to our changed usage habits. When Apple coined its now famous phrase about apps, users were transitioning to their mobile devices. For many, it was acceptable to scroll and slide around a website designed for a big screen. Today, users expect more.

To attract a significant number of users for an app, companies need to optimize their offerings to smaller screen sizes. They also need to ensure the product uses less memory and requires less storage space than a web app would.

Native apps rely on cellular networks rather than ethernet or fiber optic connections. They also have a limited battery life, and successful apps need to run well without draining those batteries too fast.

All of these aspects need to be checked before launching a mobile app. Granted, you could choose to bring your app to market without any testing, but the likelihood of a rocky launch is high. For most businesses, that is too much of a risk.

The good news is that thorough testing is neither difficult nor overly time-consuming with the right partner and the right technology. Thorough testing should include every conceivable device. In real life, that may be impractical or too costly, but with the help of a sophisticated testing cloud, it becomes achievable. The testing cloud allows virtual access to every device you can think of, giving you the peace of mind of knowing you crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is before your launch.

Testing does not involve an army of staff members typing away on their devices. With the right platform, much of the work can be automated without losing time or adding unnecessary complexity to the process. Scriptless technology makes that possible and grants companies access to unparalleled test coverage at speed.

Comprehensive testing needs to include more than simply checking your app loads fast. If your business wants to launch a winning app, you also need to know about any lag, battery problems, or CPU spikes. All those are best addressed before the launch. It is easier to polish your app and launch a near-perfect product than to apologize to users later.

Few companies have the privilege of operating in a niche without competition. Launching an untested app into a competitive sector will undoubtedly lead to problems and most likely only serve to drive users to your competitors’ apps.

Making arrangements for rigorous pre-launch testing will pay dividends within a short space of time.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between web apps vs mobile apps vs hybrid apps can be difficult for business owners and other decision-makers. Considering business needs, users, and the product itself usually helps to choose the most suitable solution.

If you are planning to launch a native mobile app, it is critical to ensure thorough testing before launching the final product. To learn more about comprehensive, cost-effective testing using the latest cloud-based technology, contact Kobiton today and see testing at work for yourself.

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