Native App Development Guide for 2021
Native app development is the primary means through which developers create mobile apps. But mobile app development often involves much more complex decisions than Android vs. iPhone.
In a reality where more people own a mobile phone than a toothbrush, knowing how to develop a mobile app is a pretty good idea. And if you want to do this natively, then you’ll need to understand the ins and outs of native app development and any intricacies that play a part in that process.
To add to your store of factual tidbits, consider that in 2017 70% of internet traffic came from mobile phones. From this, you can infer that mobile phone users are largely smartphone owners who rely on fast and reliable app interactions to get things done.
For the average smartphone user, mobile apps do everything from waking users up to paying their rent. This is another reason pushing software developers towards native app development.
All across the board, native app development is a top choice for mobile app developers who want to ensure speedy transactions for the users who depend on mobile phones for almost every aspect of their lives.
Want to learn more about native app development? Keep reading!
What Is a Native App?
A native app is an application that is made specifically for a certain platform. The term’s most frequent application is with mobile apps. (Note that the term can also be generalized to other platforms such as computer operating systems.)
To be clear, different mobile platforms use different technologies where mobile app development is concerned. For instance, Android uses Java or Kotlin for development whereas iPhone uses Swift or Objective C.
Therefore, when Swift, Objective C, Kotlin, and Java match up with their corresponding platforms, they are deemed native languages.
Of course, there are ways around using native app development, namely cross-platform development or hybrid app development.
That said, many software developers maintain that native app development is the one and only way to develop mobile apps, as it offers intrinsic advantages over hybrid apps.
Because of this, tech companies might spend the extra time and resources to build distinct native apps for each mobile platform — Android, iPhone, and at one point, even Windows.
What Are the Main Benefits of Native App Development?
The notion of having to use specific languages for each platform you intend to launch apps on sounds time-consuming at best, and foolish at worst. Yet this is the option that many professional developers and tech companies take.
See what benefits native app development can provide down below.
Most software developers assert that building mobile apps natively will lead to better performance than otherwise.
Because native apps are singularly familiar with the operating system (OS) they run on, then these apps will naturally have more flexibility on their native platforms. The result is fast response times and processing speed.
For similar reasons, software professionals tend to believe native apps are more secure. Most hybrid apps work via web technologies so they can be effectively multi-platform. But a native app will have security protocols that work through all the layers of an OS.
Cybersecurity remains a hot topic in the software development industry and for good reason. Data breaches can ruin your brand, reputation, and of course, your data.
Native app development means APIs that are easier to build and integrate as well as all-around greater compatibility when it comes to certain user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) elements that are native to the platform you’re developing for.
With native apps, you can expect greater interactivity and navigation. Cross-platform development simply does not have the tools to promise this advantage.
What Are the Disadvantages of Native App Development?
Despite the instinctive benefits that native apps can provide, tech companies still launch hybrid apps every day. Why is that?
As mentioned, creating an app using a platform-specific language can be an exhaustive task if you plan to launch your app on every available mobile platform.
First and foremost, time is money. Besides the crudeness of this platitude, business does strive on this principle. The more time it takes you to develop an app, the less time you get to promote the app and collect profits.
Another cost margin to take into account is that you will likely have to use different developer teams per mobile platform: Android developers for one team, and iOS developers for the other.
It goes without saying that this will cost a few extra bucks in contrast to just using one full stack team that is specialized in hybrid app development.
Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of native app development is lack of accessibility or its diminished capacity for customer reach.
You probably know all too well the conundrum of wanting to download an app that’s only available on iOS.
Or maybe you have an iPhone and you want to connect with a friend through an app. But your friend has an Android and doesn’t have access to the app. Either way, you get the point.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Many software development companies do not have the resources to build an app for multiple platforms, or at least they cannot release the app on all platforms at the same time.
In consequence, not only are potential users of the app left disappointed, but the company itself misses out on a marketing opportunity that can only be achieved once every smartphone user has access to the app in question.
How Much Does It Cost To Develop Native Apps?
The cost of hiring developers alone can approach or break 100,000 US dollars per developer. Software developers are paid well for the work that they do.
A quick Google search will demonstrate that mobile app developers bring in tens of thousands of dollars each year.
Software development companies can avert these costs by outsourcing their software development team overseas. The immediate benefit of this is a reduction in the total cost of development.
Besides the software development team, you also have to figure that custom-built software has a sizable, yet reasonable price tag. That said, mobile apps, in particular, show high variability in their price range for software development.
One dedicated person can build a mobile app with little to no monetary aid. But if you want to make sure your app is getting the attention it needs, a small, simple app can cost something like $10,000. On the other hand, the median price to develop an app is $171,450.
There are several factors that play into the cost of developing an app. It’s sort of like buying a house. Apps can vary widely in terms of price based on their scale, complexity, and maintenance standards among other things.
In any event, it’s important to remember that building native apps could double the costs of software development since you will need to make a distinct app for each platform.
4 Examples of Native Apps
It’s hard to tell whether an app is native or not just by looking at it. But given what you’ve just learned, you can bet that the apps that run the fastest were built natively on your platform.
Spotify extends a streaming software so its users can listen to music on the go or at home without having to download songs or playlists to their phones.
The way Spotify utilizes the cloud is especially impressive, increasing its performance past what you’d ever expect from a hybrid app.
LinkedIn is essentially a social media platform for professional networking. Fun, right? Surprisingly, it can be. Both job seekers and employers can gain a better context of what they’re looking for in an environment that fosters new connections.
As far as native app development, LinkedIn isn’t the first company to make the mistake of deploying HTML5 for mobile web apps when native was undoubtedly the right direction to turn its head. Going native improved LinkedIn’s performance in categories such as speed and rendering.
Waze is a popular navigation app for mobile phones and tablets. Because Waze needs GPS support to operate efficiently and effectively, native app development is a must.
Native app development can leverage the full features of a device and ensure accuracy where it’s necessary.
Pokémon GO is an augmented reality (AR) game for mobile devices. Through the app, you can catch, train, and battle virtual Pokémon in much the same way Generation Y and Z watched Pokémon trainers do the same on Toonami.
Once players began to cheat the game using third-party software, Niantic — the game’s official developer — enhanced Pokémon GO’s security measures. Native app development makes it easy to react to security risks in a forthright manner.
Native app development is a secure and reliable way to create a top-grossing mobile app for 2021. But it does come with some pros and cons.
To put it simply, native app development is a lot more work than utilizing software like React Native or Flutter to build a hybrid app and speed up development.
But only you can know if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages for mobile app development.
Need some more intel to make your final decision? Learn more about mobile app development on Trio’s blog!
Frequently Asked Questions
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Native app development is the primary means through which developers create mobile apps.
A native app is an application that is made specifically for a certain platform. Different platforms, like iOS and Android, require different development tools and languages..
The main benefits of native app development are performance, security, and functionality.
The main disadvantages of native app development are time-to-market (TTM), cost, and accessibility.