What is Native App?

What is Native App?
Article by Maria MartinMaria Martin
Last Updated: May 01, 2023

Native apps, web apps and hybrid apps are the types of 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 mobile 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 to Build Native Applications?  

Now that we know what is native app development, let’s see how precisely native apps are built. 

Unlike web applications, which are written primarily in JavaScript, native applications are written in programming languages supported by the operating system they are designed for. They also require platform-specific development processes. 

Building a native application involves several steps and requires knowledge of programming languages, software development frameworks and various app development tools.  

Here is a general overview of the native app-building process: 

  1. Set objectives. Identify the goals the native app aims to achieve and the metrics you will analyze to measure its success. 
  2. Define requirements. Determine all app requirements, including the target audience, functionality and features. 
  3. Choose a platform. Select the platform you will run the app on. Available options for native apps are iOS, Android and Windows. Your choice will depend on app objectives, target audience and other requirements. 
  4. Choose a programming language. The programming language must be appropriate for the platform you'll launch your apps, such as Swift for iOS or Java for Android. 
  5. Choose a software development framework. Some of the best options are React Native, Xamarin, or Flutter. 
  6. Design the user interface. The design includes visual elements like layout, color scheme and typography. Choose them carefully because they will shape the user experience. 
  7. Develop the application. Write the code for the app, including the core functionality, user interface and third-party integrations. 
  8. Test the application. Test the application to identify fields that require improvements. T 
  9. Deploy the application. Submit the app to app stores - Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, for distribution. 
  10. Maintain the application. Monitor the application for issues or bugs and regularly release updates to fix problems or add new features. 

How to Make Your Native App Development Process Error-Free?

Building a native application requires proficiencies in specialized tools, programming languages, and architectural configurations that deviate from 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: 

  1. Know Your Users 
  2. Stay Updated with Native App Development Technologies 
  3. Solicit Feedback in Batches 

1. 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 

2. Stay Updated with Native 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 native app development ecosystem can help you avoid the pitfalls of compatibility issues, decreasing the quality of your app or even rendering it unusable. 

3. 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. 

Costs of Native Application Development 

On average, the price of building a native application ranges between $30,000 and $500,000.  

For example, the price of a programmer's work varies drastically depending on the country. While programmers in the USA charge $120-150/hour, the price is much lower in Western Europe: $80-100. The lowest hourly rate for developing native applications is in Eastern Europe ($30-50) and India ($20-30). 

According to the app complexity, estimated costs are the following: 

  • Simple native app costs between $15 and $40,000 and takes 3-6 months. 
  • Average or medium complex native app costs between $60,000 and $150,000 and takes up to 9 months to develop. 
  • Complex native app costs over $300,000 and takes more than 9 months to develop. 

The prices according to the three most significant mobile app categories: 

  • iOS apps cost between $70,000 and $500,000. 
  • Android apps cost between $50,000 and $500,000. 

Other factors influence the price of native application development: 

  • App development complexity determines the price the most.  
  • Simple apps with essential features are the most affordable. 
  • Medium-complex apps have customized UI and more features and integrations, but they are significantly more expensive. 
  • Complex apps have multifunctions, advanced features, chatbots and many other advantages, but they require a six-figure budget. 
  • App design complexity includes user interface and visuals, branding and copywriting. All of these elements contribute to satisfying UX. The more features you add to your native app, the more expensive it will be. 
  • App platform - native apps run on a single platform, iOS or Android. To cover both platforms, you must develop two separate native apps.  
  • Hidden costs include third-party integration, app maintenance and marketing costs. 
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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 mobile app development companies alike. 

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

1. 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. 

Key features:  

  • Personalized music recommendations,  
  • Extensive music library,  
  • Ability to create and share playlists,  
  • Social features to follow and discover music through friends and artists,  
  • Podcasts and other audio content,  
  • Offline listening mode,  
  • Ad-supported free version and ad-free premium version.  

2. 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. 

Key features:  

  • Instant messaging,  
  • Voice and video calls,  
  • Group messaging and calls,  
  • End-to-end encryption for secure communication,  
  • Ability to share photos, videos, documents and locations,  
  • WhatsApp Web for desktop access,  
  • WhatsApp Business for business communication.  

3. Waze 

Waze is a GPS navigation and supports native apps. It gives drivers 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. 

Key features:  

  • Real-time GPS navigation and route guidance,  
  • User-generated traffic and road hazard reports,  
  • Alternative route suggestions based on current traffic conditions,  
  • Points of interest and business locations,  
  • Voice-guided navigation,  
  • Gas station price comparison,  
  • Integration with music and podcast apps.  

4. 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. 

Key features:  

  • Access to an extensive music library,   
  • Personalized music recommendations, 
  • Ability to create and share playlists,  
  • Podcasts and other audio content,  
  • Offline listening mode,  
  • Cross-platform availability,  
  • Ad-supported free version and ad-free premium version.  

5. SwiftKey 

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

Key features:  

  • An intelligent keyboard that learns and adapts to your typing style,  
  • Customizable keyboard with different themes and layouts,  
  • Support for multiple languages,   
  • Autocorrect and predictive text,  
  • Swipe-to-type gesture typing,  
  • Built-in emoji keyboard,  
  • Cloud sync for backup and syncing your data across devices.  

6. Uber 

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

Key features:  

  • On-demand ride service,  
  • Cashless payment system,  
  • GPS-based tracking of driver and trip status,  
  • Upfront pricing and fare estimate,  
  • Ability to rate drivers and leave feedback,  
  • Multiple vehicle options, including shared, standard and premium rides,  
  • Safety features, including driver background checks and real-time trip monitoring.  

7. Pinterest 

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

Key features:  

  • Personalized content feed based on users' previous pins and searches,  
  • Ability to save and organize visual bookmarks or pins,  
  • Ability to create and share custom pinboards or boards,  
  • Search and discovery tools for finding new ideas and inspiration,  
  • Shopping features for browsing and purchasing products,  
  • Integration with other apps and websites for easy pinning,  
  • Social features for following and interacting with other users.  

Benefits of Native Apps 

Here are some of the most prominent native app benefits: 

  1. Security and Reliability
  2. Optimal Performance
  3. Access to All Built-In Device Hardware Features
  4. Improved User Experience 
  5. Increased Scalability 
  6. Fewer Bugs 
  7. Instant Updating

1. 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. 

2. 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. 

3. 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. 

Advanced Customization Options 

Native apps have full access to operative systems or device features, which can be highly customized.

Thanks to this ability, developers don’t have limitations; they can access all parts of hardware that help create a unique user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

For example, they can utilize a microphone function for sound effects or a camera for filters.  

4. Improved User Experience 

Every platform has its own UI/UX guidelines developers must follow. With native apps, these standards are rigorous, guaranteeing a consistent look and feel with the operating system.   

People are familiar with the layouts typical for operating systems; therefore, the consistency of native mobile apps provides a much more intuitive and interactive user experience.

As a result, whenever they use your native application, they will feel as familiar with it.  

Additionally, native apps are much faster and more efficient than web apps, which further enhances the user experience.  

5. Increased Scalability 

Native apps offer increased scalability, which means they can easily handle an increase in the number of users or amount of data being processed without sacrificing performance.

This is because native apps efficiently use the hardware or given platform, with minimum risk of crashing in case of extreme traffic increase.  

Native apps can also be updated and improved over time to meet the changing needs of a growing user base. This makes them an ideal choice for businesses that anticipate growth and need to ensure their apps can handle increased demand.  

6. Fewer Bugs 

Native apps are designed for a specific operating system, such as iOS and Android, and they use programming languages and software development tools optimized for that platform.   

Compared to web apps, which are designed to run on multiple platforms and may have compatibility issues, native apps result in fewer bugs and errors, providing a more stable and reliable user experience and leading to higher user satisfaction and retention.  

7. Instant Updating

Android and iOS frequently release updates and developers must instantly implement them into the apps to preserve a satisfying user experience.

This struggle doesn’t affect native apps because they have instant updates.

When Android and iOS release software updates, IT teams can quickly implement the latest features because they have quick and easy access to new SDKs that allow them to modify the application.  

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 developers for Android. You may need a third if you are also looking to place your 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 which 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 of 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. 

Native Apps FAQ  

1. What Is the Difference Between Native and Hybrid Apps?

Native apps are built for a specific operating system (Android or iOS) or device (mobile). In contrast, hybrid apps combine elements of web apps and native apps - they are built using web technologies and packaged as native apps. Native apps have full access to a device's capabilities, while hybrid apps may have limited access to some features.  

2. Web App Vs. Native App - What is the Difference?

Web apps are accessible via a web browser and run on the internet. In contrast, native apps are installed directly onto a mobile device and run on the device's operating system.  

Web apps are platform-independent and can be accessed through any web browser on any device, whereas native apps can only be installed and run on specific operating systems.  

Native apps can fully utilize the device's features, whereas web apps may encounter limitations depending on the device from which they are used.  

3. Should My App Be a Native or Hybrid App?

Your specific needs and business goals will determine the type of app you build.  

Native apps offer the best user experience and full access to the device's features. They are more reliable and faster than hybrid apps. However, because you must create separate apps for each platform, developing native apps can be more expensive and time-consuming.  

Hybrid apps are an excellent choice if you need to build an app quickly and cost-effectively and your app does not require advanced device features. Hybrid apps can run on multiple platforms. However, they may be limited in their ability to access device features and may not perform as well as native apps.  

All in all, native apps are a better choice if you have the required budget and need to build a high-performance app with full access to device features. However, hybrid apps may be better if you need to support multiple platforms or want to develop an app quickly and inexpensively.  

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