Native vs Cross-Platform: The Best App Development Approach for Startups

Seeing how the business world is moving, the question for startups now is not whether or not to develop a mobile app, it is which development approach will give the best performance and cost balance and help take business to the world in the least possible time. Now, when we talk about the best approach […]

Updated 16 January 2024

Omji Mehrotra
Omji Mehrotra

VP - Delivery at Appventurez

Seeing how the business world is moving, the question for startups now is not whether or not to develop a mobile app, it is which development approach will give the best performance and cost balance and help take business to the world in the least possible time.

Now, when we talk about the best approach that meets all the requirements that a startup enters the mobile industry with, one obvious answer that comes up is to create Cross-Platform apps.

And, why not? After all, there is a great beneficial difference that walls between Cross-Platform and Native Apps.  

cross platform vs. native app graph

But is even the Best Cross Platform App Development approach good enough to ignore the Native development approach?

Let’s find out in this article where we will look into the two approaches in much detail.

Before we go on to looking at what differentiates Native from Cross-Platform App Development, and which approach is better out of the two for a startup, it is important to first get into the detailing of what benefits and drawbacks both platforms come with.

So, let us look at the pros and cons of both – cross-platform and native app development technologies here, specifically from the startup’s perspective.  

Pros and Cons of Native App Development

Advantages of Native Apps Development

Better Performance

The number one reason why businesses prefer building apps on native platforms is the UI and UX that they get.

In the case of Native, unlike cross-platform app development, because the applications are made up of platform-centric IDEs and native app development platforms, the result is always a high-performance compiled application that runs at its best and carries full support for hardware accelerations and multi-threading.

This ease of interaction with the device’s native features that the development approach offers improves the overall app’s performance, specifically when rendering multimedia content.

All these factors together make it easy for developers to build complex applications on top of the Native approach, without the scare of app crashes.

Platform In-Synced User Experience

Because the native code has a direct link with the device features and operating system, the native app builders become capable of developing UIs according to the code command and with the support of the familiar components and layout of the operating systems.

Keeping the technicalities of it all apart, the fact that users are accustomed to their one platform is best supported by Native app development for both the platform’s users to feel right at home when using an application that has been designed to keep their natural movement alive.

Easier Integration

The answer to how to build cross-platform apps is very different from how Native apps are developed.

Since the native app is developed with one specific operating system in mind, it is much easier for them to interact with the device’s in-built features as compared to their cross-platform counterpart.

This integration makes it very easy for developers and marketers to get inside a user’s device in the least possible time and effort.

Greater Support of Development Tools

When it comes to languages, frameworks, and tools, Native app development platforms are a lot more generous than their cross-platform counterpart. The number of solutions that Native development has to offer is enough to handle both development and debugging to a much more efficient extent.

Drawbacks of Native App Development

Greater Development Time

Developing an app specific to devices and their operating system combinations is not easy and not time-effective – something that increases the timeline of creating an app.

Imagine this – instead of doing the entire process of designing, coding, testing, debugging, etc. once, it will all happen twice.

Higher Developmental Cost

What grows alongside the high development effort is the development of native mobile application costs. Going by the same agenda again, when you develop an app version twice, the efforts and resources that are required to complete the project increase again, which are all the primary contributors to mobile app cost estimation. The estimate automatically rises because of the increase in all the factors.

Greater Resource Requirement

The base of both the points mentioned above is the manpower required to work around the Native software development kit to get an app developed and deployed for both Android and Apple individually.

Development of a native application would require twice as many people – designers, developers, and testers to make the whole process happen – something that shows itself on the final bill.

Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform App Development

Advantages of Cross-Platform App Development

Reduction in Development Time and Cost

Since in the case of cross-platform through React native app development or Flutter app development, you write a single code for versions that then get live on both Apple and Android devices, the total time it takes to develop the app gets cut down in half. And, because the mobile app development timeline that is required to build the app is shortened, the attached billable hours also get cut down, thus bringing the overall cost down.  

Easier Support and Maintenance

The cross-platform development advantage that any low-maintenance app-building company would tell you is, that because only one code version has to be checked from the developers’ end, it is a lot easier to find bugs, correct them, and push the app in the market again.

This ease in maintenance and updation not only cuts down the cost and testing hours further but also helps startups show their best picture in the market at all times.

Greater User Base Exposure

Because you can get live on both App Store and Play Store simultaneously, your user base does not get confined to any specific geographical region. You can take your business to the world, no matter what device they carry.

Lesser Resource Requirement

Since Flutter app development requires you to make a single design, write code once, and then test the code once, the number of resources required to manage the whole development and deployment process is limited to very few.

You don’t need a team for both Android and iOS development separately, instead, you only need one or two resources for each domain.

Drawbacks of Cross-Platform App Development

Poor Performance

Even when a cross-platform app promises cost efficiency in app development, the approach doesn’t come free of shortcomings. It is undoubtedly true that several performance issues are looming around cross-platform application development, even when you go through the well-devised React Native app development process. The computing power that smartphones come with is much lower than that of a desktop, so when you render the HTML5 or CSS UI elements in the app it takes a lot more GPU and CPU resources, which brings down the response time of the application.

It is one of the biggest reasons that introduces a lot of crashes in the application.

Lesser Access to the Device’s Features

Because the cross-platform apps do not gel with the devices’ functionalities, the app calls for several APIs to make it all possible, which brings in several added restrictions.

As for the users, because both Android and Apple users get one app with cumulated features from both platforms, neither of them feels at home in their own experience.

Now that you are at a stage where you know what the shortcomings and drawbacks of both the development approaches are, let us look at the differentiating factors that separate them both.

Difference Between Cross-Platform and Native Apps

difference betweenw cross platform and native app

Seeing how both Native and Cross-platform app development come with their share of pros and cons, it can be difficult to make the decision and decide on what to choose – Native vs Cross-Platform.

Having worked with hundreds of projects lying in both Native and Cross-platform app development foreground, we have gathered scenarios where one fits in more easily than the other. Scenarios that would make the decision easier for you.

Let us look at that next.

Native vs Cross-Platform: When to Choose Which Development Approach

When to Choose Native App Development

There can be several instances where having a Native app makes more sense than the Cross-platform counterpart.

First of those is the app category. Because Native apps are more platform and development effort-specific, they come in as a great help when you think of launching either a complex architecture or one that relies heavily on the device feature for operation.

Next is User Experience. While it is true that several new-age cross-platform frameworks like React Native and Flutter are promising excellent user experience, the difference between them is still present to a great extent.

Lastly, the choice can be made based on your customer base. If your prospects belong to a geographical region that is mainly Apple-dominated, it will be better to focus on Native App development focused on iOS development guidelines.

When to Choose Cross-Platform App Development

The decision to select cross-platform is considerably more black and white than choosing Native app development.

The app category that is usually suited for cross-platform application development belongs to those that follow a simple or medium difficulty level architecture. Apps like business automation, e-Commerce, etc. are best suited for cross-platform development approaches.

Other than that, if you are on a tight time and cost budget, finding answers to how to develop cross-platform applications would turn out to give you a good development choice.

Lastly, if your prospective user group is not restricted to any one part of the world, it can be a good option to launch a cross-platform solution that would take you to the world at the least possible cost and par quality.

Now that we have looked at both Native and Cross-platform app development approaches in much detail, it is time to deep dive into the question of which mode would be better suited for a startup.

Let us find you an answer to that on a parting note.

Cross-Platform vs Native App: What Should a Startup Opt for?

Deciding between the two approaches can not come very easily for a startup that is going to make an entry in the mobile app domain for the first time. Some so many processes and questions have to be streamlined and answered for startup organizations before they can come to a single conclusion.

But let us nonetheless try to get you an answer based on the requirements that are usually packaged in a mobile app startup journey.

There are a few things that most commonly define the very basis of a startup and its app journey – Low Budget, Less Time to Market, The Need to focus on Multiple other Things with limited in-house support, etc.

All the requirements that we just listed down are the exact scenarios that cross-platform app development is known to handle best. The fact that they take the least possible time to get developed automatically brings down the time to market and the budget – thus hitting three birds with the same stone.

Apart from these, cross-platform app development acts as the ticket to take the business to the world and enjoy the best of what both Apple and Android have to offer – Revenue in the case of the former and a high user base in the case of the latter.

So, while it is true that the user experience that you can expect with Native app development is much superior to cross-platform if you invest in the right team of cross-platform app developers, you do not even have to worry about the quality of the app to that extent – in short, you remain in a very win-win situation to start with.

However, what we would recommend is that you should eventually when your app starts seeing a constant inflow of interest from the target customer base think of migrating your cross-platform application into specific Android and Apple apps.

The reason why we are suggesting this is that the benefit of scalability and true native user experience and look & feel that you can achieve through Native app development is something that the cross-platform approach won’t be able to get you.

So, cross-platform can be a good place to start, but it cannot be your end goal. If anything, if you stick around one version of your app for long, you will slow down the process of reaching the growth stage and becoming the market leader.

Now that you have looked at everything that there is to know about the Native vs Cross-Platform comparison, it is time to convert your understanding into action. Let us help you. Get in touch with our team of mobile app developers, today!

Conclusion

In the dynamic world of app development, the choice between native and cross-platform approaches can significantly impact the success of your startup. Both have their merits and considerations, and the decision should align with your project’s unique goals and constraints. As you embark on this exciting journey, remember that Appventurez, a trusted React Native development company, stands ready to assist startups in navigating these choices. With our expertise and dedication, we aim to empower startups to make informed decisions and develop robust, user-friendly apps that can thrive in the competitive digital landscape. Partner with us and embark on a promising path towards mobile app success.

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    Omji Mehrotra
    Omji Mehrotra

    VP - Delivery at Appventurez

    Expert in the Communications and Enterprise Software Development domain, Omji Mehrotra co-founded Appventurez and took the role of VP of Delivery. He specializes in React Native mobile app development and has worked on end-to-end development platforms for various industry sectors.