The Difference Between Native and Cross-Platform App Development

The Difference Between Native and Cross-Platform App Development

The number of mobile apps is constantly growing. Thus, businessmen who closely follow the trends and current ways of earning money, get their own applications. And the main question that they have to solve concerns the development approach.

There is an opinion that development on a cross-platform engine is much better than native development. The main arguments are the speed and cheaper price of development. But some support the native development for each operating system.

Both approaches have their pros and cons, the list of which depends on what kind of application you want. Let's look at some observations and trends.

Native or cross-platform

The native approach involves working in the native language of the operating system - Java for Android, Objective-C/C++ for IOS. According to this method, the elements of the firmware for gadgets are developed.

The multi-platform mobile app development approach involves creating universal applications that will function equally well on any platform. Development is done in HTML and CSS.

Native approach


1. High performance and speed. The application is created for a specific platform and therefore gives the best results. Memory and battery are not overloaded, the code is simplified, the functionality is integrated simply and quickly. With this approach, it is much more convenient to implement multi-touch, geographical locations.

2. Simplicity and ease of use. A client who is used to working with the Android interface will have a hard time getting used to iOS. And here a native application can help, allowing you to create a clear and familiar interface.

3. Absence of restrictions. The approach implies absolute access to all services and options.

4. Ease of testing. Native development makes it easy to monitor the efficiency of the application. If the product consumes more memory or battery than planned, it is visible in tests.

5. Adaptive design. The range of gadgets on Android is huge. Therefore, it is much easier to create an adaptive design that allows the application to look good on any screen. And it's easier to do this with native development.


1. The length of the process. If you want the app to work on both Android and iOS, it will take twice as long.

2. Increased budget. It will take twice as many employees to create an app for two OSes, which means twice the budget.

3. The complexity of maintenance and support. Apps need constant testing and tweaking. Since we are talking about two applications for different OSes, maintenance will be more difficult.

Choose native development if:

● the performance of the application and the usability of the interface matter;

● the system resources and functions of mobile devices are supposed to be used all the time. These are GPS cameras, accelerometers, and other sensors;

● low power consumption of the application is important;

● complex interface and/or animation is required;

● requires integration with third-party resources (APIs, etc.).

Cross-platform approach


1. Development is faster and cheaper. Since one application is being developed, the work will be completed faster and the budget will be shorter compared to native.

2. Easier maintenance and support. The maintenance and support cycle of the application is made simpler, so less time and effort is spent on conversions.


1. Increased time to refine and adapt. If development itself takes less time, rework and adaptation take longer. Implementation for two operating systems generates multiple bugs that need to be fixed.

2. Poor performance. More often, applications hang on animations, scrolling, and clicks. And despite the development in HTML, it will take a lot of time to refine to achieve the desired performance.

3. Discomfort for users. A universal interface must meet the requirements of all users.

Cross-platform solutions are advantageous if:

● you need to write a prototype application for several platforms in a short period of time, but you do not plan to develop this prototype further;

● when developing complex games, there are powerful cross-platform solutions such as Unity3D. It has rich built-in functionality for developers;

● if the application takes all of its information from the server, animation and interface are not very important, and the logic is already implemented on the server;

● if you can put up with modest performance, and the content is loaded from the Internet.

In conclusion

If you want to test a business idea or launch a mobile game, a cross-platform approach is the best solution. In all other cases, it is better to opt for native development.

But the success of your project depends not only on the right platform but also on the qualifications of the contractor. Whatever solution you choose, contact a proven mobile solution developer who has experienced the benefits and pitfalls of each of them in practice.

Pedro Araez

Pedro Araez

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