What is a Native App? Pros and Cons, Development Costs & Tips + Best Examples

Native app, web app, and hybrid app are the mobile applications you can build for your business. Choosing which one can best serve your company depends on what your organization aims to achieve in developing an app of your own.

Some of the considerations when deciding are the urgency of your need for a mobile app, the budget for the project, and the features and functionalities you envision for your app to include.

In this article, let us dive deeper into native applications, the benefits and downsides of this app creation approach, and why it is a widely popular choice for businesses.

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What is a Native App?

A native app refers to a software program specifically written and created to work on platforms and devices where it can be preinstalled, downloaded, configured, and updated to the latest version via an app marketplace. A native application that is live on a device can be accessed through a home screen icon. It alerts the user of notifications, and it is capable of functioning offline as well.

Native apps can interface with and optimize the performance of a particular gadget’s native features, functionalities, and hardware, such as GPS, camera, compass, contacts list, and accelerometer, among others.

How is a Native Application Built?

Unlike web applications that primarily use JavaScript as their coding language, a native application is written in programming languages accepted by the operating system they are being developed for. It also requires platform-specific dev processes.

These are the tools utilized by professional developers to create a mobile app:

  • Objective-C or Swift for native applications on iOS
  • Java or Kotlin to write a native application for Android
  • Visual C++ and C# for most Windows phone native applications

Meanwhile, here are the development frameworks for building a native application:

  • Xcode, a software package by Apple, writes native apps on iOS
  • Android Studio for native Android app development
  • React Native is a free app builder and open-source cross-platform serving both iOS and Android native apps

Ways to Improve Your Native App Development Process

Building a native application requires proficiencies in specialized tools, programming languages, and architectural configurations that deviate from the conventional web or hybrid app development. An innovative approach is an excellent route to app creation from the viewpoint of design and development.

Presented here are tips on how you can help make the dev process better:

Know Your Users

It is good practice to release a beta version of your app before the general release of its finalized version. Gather a limited group of users to test it before going live. Make sure they are in no way involved with the design or construction of the software product.

These are the main items you should examine and assess:

  • User-friendliness, efficiency, and ease of navigation
  • Screen resolution
  • The adaptability of screen orientation
  • Validation that features and functionalities are running without interruptions
  • Compatibility with device, network, database, and browser
  • Speed and stability
  • App security

Stay Updated with App Development Technologies

It is imperative to strictly adhere to the operating system's policies on which you are building your native application. In this light, keeping pace with the latest industry news and the most recent update releases is immensely helpful for you to fulfill the app requirements and standards.

Staying informed about the newest modifications in the app development ecosystem can help you avoid the pitfalls of compatibility issues, decreasing the quality of your app or even rendering it unusable.

Solicit Feedback in Batches

Get feedback from the various teams involved in the app creation – from the product team, the design team, to the dev team. It is efficient and productive to assign a focal person of contact responsible for collecting feedback and communicating these commentaries in a well-structured manner.

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Costs of Native Application Development

On average, the price of building a native application ranges between $100,000 and $500,000. This is greatly dependent on the following aspects:

  • Type of app – e.g., gaming, lifestyle and social networking, business
  • The operating system or platform – Android, iOS, or Windows Phone
  • Complexity or customization of design
  • Features and functionalities
  • Number of pages
  • Overall infrastructure
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Best Examples of Native Applications

Some of the most popular native apps are social media, banking and finance, community apps, creativity and productivity apps, and educational apps. Each of these has a significantly large number of users across the globe and has left a remarkable impression on business owners and developers alike.

Here are the best examples of native applications on the market today:

Spotify

A must-have on the music lover’s smartphone, Spotify is a premium digital music service and library that houses millions of songs and podcast episodes. It is a cloud-based native app functioning both online and offline.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is an instant messaging and voice messaging native application that features end-to-end encryption. Offering the option of business account creation, it is a practical and organized communication tool for media and document sharing.

Waze

Waze is a GPS navigation and support native app. It provides drivers with turn-by-turn instructions, including route details, real-time incident information, and accurate traffic data. It gives voice directions and accepts voice commands, too. Additionally, Waze can be conveniently integrated with Google Assistant.

SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a React Native app for music creators and collaborators. Besides creating playlists of pre-uploaded songs, users can upload their audio recordings and make these available for streaming globally.

SwiftKey

SwiftKey is an app that allows users to customize the design and features of their dial and keypads.

Uber

Uber is a ride-sharing and ride-hailing native application that connects riders with commuters. During the first quarter of 2022, the app has handled around 19 million trips per day on average.

Pinterest

Pinterest doubles as a creativity app and social app. It is known as a limitless repository for finding and sharing creative inspiration.

Benefits of Native Apps

Here is how native apps are advantageous to your business, other users, and even developers:

Security and Reliability

A native application is likely to have lesser platform-specific vulnerabilities than hybrid apps that depend highly on a browser security system. It is robustly protected against misuse due to the multiple layers of the operating system’s security. A native app undergoes security inspection on every one of these layers and through each system or version upgrade.

Optimal Performance

Native apps encounter fewer bugs. Operating faster and more efficiently than with alternative apps, a native application is generally favorably responsive and dependable. This ensures user satisfaction. Also, because they encounter fewer bugs, users find themselves free from worrying over the app’s shutting down amid usage.

They even have commendable offline performance. After installation and during online operation, a native app maximizes its in-browser caching attribute, enabling availability in offline mode derived from its cached resources.

Access to All Built-In Device Hardware Features

Since a native application has high compatibility with specified platforms, its users can configure direct integration with the gadget’s hardware like microphone and camera.

Drawbacks of a Native App

Together with the upside come the disadvantages of native apps:

Hefty App Development Costs

Native applications are not only expensive in terms of the development process. The launch and the maintenance on iOS or Android are just as pricey, if not more.

You will also need two separate dev teams for releasing the same app product – one dedicated to dev for iOS and another assigned to dev for Android. You may need a third if you are also looking to place your native app on the Windows Phone marketplace.

Lengthy Processes and Time for Dev

Software-specific app development can be time-consuming. From conception to beta testing to completion, a single app for a particular platform can take two months to launch at the minimum. The development process and period can last up to nine months if the app has complicated requirements and features to incorporate.

These timelines are estimates. Ultimately, the quality of collaboration, efficiency, and productivity within the development team are the defining factors of how long it will take them to produce the final output.

Frequency of Updates and Too Much Storage Requirements

While the regular introduction of newer versions and upgrades is necessary to fix bugs and rectify errors and malfunctions, it can be tedious and disruptive for the end-users. On top of that, these updates also take up a sizeable amount of device storage space.

Monetization of a Native Application

Native app developers can charge for every download. The payment process will go through the app store or shop that will take a percentage of the fees.

Key Takeaways on Native App, Its Development, and the Future Ahead

Your decision to build a native app will largely depend on your business goals, your target market, your allocated budget, and your capacity to provide the technical requirements.

Native applications have their strengths and shortcomings.

On the one hand, they are usually faster and more efficient in terms of performance than most web-based apps are. Native apps are also readily available on app marketplaces which even provide app recommendations to end-users. They guarantee excellent quality and a high level of security.

On the other hand, the price for developing a singular native app on one operating system or platform alone can be steep. The fees will go higher if you create an app that multiple device types and different platforms can help.

However, these costs will be worth your investment, especially when your native app turns out to be highly functional. Also, from the more optimistic perspective, you will eventually reap the ROI on your native application as many users are willing to pay for it.

Ultimately, its extraordinary performance, safety and reliability, and profitability can outweigh its weak aspects.

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