90% of the time people spend on their mobile phones is spent on apps.
By 2021, the number of app downloads is expected to reach 310 billion worldwide.
Nowadays, there are 3.5 billion mobile users around the globe so the number of newly developed apps, among which hybrid as well, is increasing every day.
The fast evolution of hybrid app technologies has pushed hybrid apps on an upward trend.
They have become so popular because of their shorter development timeframe, lower cost and ability to be scaled to a variety of platforms and operating systems.
In this guide, we will cover everything there is to know about hybrid app development so that you can decide if it’s the right mobile app development approach for your business.
So, read on to learn what is hybrid mobile app development, how it works, what are its most notable benefits as well as development costs.
We will also provide an overview of the best tools for hybrid development and some examples of the most popular hybrid apps. And as a bonus, a few tips for choosing the right hybrid app development company for your business.
Hybrid app development is the creation of a single app that can run on multiple operating systems including Windows, Android and iOS.
When developers create hybrid software, they include a single code bar for all platforms. This means they only need to write the code once and then can run it anywhere.
However, this is possible because of certain tools that make the communication between the native platform and web view easier. Thanks to them, hybrid mobile apps can be compiled and transformed into a native app.
As the name suggests, hybrid apps are a combination of both web and native mobile applications.
This allows the app to run through each platform’s embedded browser instead of the web browser, which means they can be installed on mobile devices and submitted to app stores for sale, just like regular native apps.
Moreover, using plugins will enable them full access to the device's hardware and features, such as GPS, camera or address book. The wrapper solutions also provide a suite of UI components to create a native interface.
So, even though they are developed with web technologies, hybrid apps have the look and feel of native apps, provide the same user experience and have the ability to work on different platforms.
Native apps, on the other hand, are built for a singular operating system and leverage the unique features and hardware of mobile devices. Developers use only the languages that the specific platform accepts.
For instance, both Google and Apple create hybrid mobile apps that can be supported only on iOS or on Android. This is the most common type of mobile app creation.
Google Maps, Facebook and LinkedIn are native mobile apps that are designed separately for iOS and Android. So, for these apps, the writing of separate codes is required.
In contrast, hybrid apps allow developers to write a single code base that is compatible with multiple operating systems. This is why hybrid app development is an easier and more cost-effective approach to creating mobile apps.
That’s also why this type of mobile app creation has gained increasing popularity and more and more brands think about investing in hybrid app development.
Major global players like Amazon, Nike, Walmart, Etsy and more have already chosen the hybrid app development model over native. As such, a staggering 74% of the top 50 iOS retail apps in the US are hybrid.
The reason why so many businesses go hybrid is that hybrid mobile apps cost less than the native ones. What’s more, it takes less time to create them and it is easier to manage them.
Here are the five major benefits of hybrid app development:
Because hybrid apps use a single codebase, they can be deployed across devices. For example, when you build them for Android, you can easily launch them on iOS.
Unlike with native building where you have to create two apps, with hybrid software building, you develop only one app so, you only need to manage one database.
Since there is one database to manage, it takes less time to build hybrid than native apps.
Hybrid mobile apps cost less than native apps. Due to the fact that developers write one set of code, the initial costs and the maintenance costs are low. So, they are much more affordable than the native ones.
Hybrid apps will work in an offline mode due to their native infrastructure. Even if users can’t access real-time data, they can still load the application and see the previously loaded data.
However, hybrid app development has a few disadvantages:
No one can tell a fixed price for hybrid software. However, compared to native mobile apps, hybrid mobile apps are less expensive to build. Usually, the cost will depend on the time required for the app to be created, its features and design.
Let’s see how much would hybrid mobile apps of different complexity approximately cost:
You wouldn’t think that some of the world’s big brands would choose hybrid apps over native ones.
However, the rapid growth of new technologies and the increasing availability of hybrid app frameworks have allowed these large companies to create high-performance mobile applications with great interface and functionality.
Take a look at five hybrid mobile apps that are extremely popular among users across the globe:
Instagram is the most popular social media app for sharing images and videos. Going hybrid enables the app to support tons of media and offline data.
The app permits users to access its features and media, photos and short videos, while also being in the offline mode.
Another great example of hybrid app development in action is the Uber application.
With an easy navigation and an intuitive user interface, Uber is easily accessible and convenient which is why this hybrid app is probably the most used ridesharing app in the world.
Previously built using HTML, Google has upgraded to HTML 5 to provide users with new, advanced features and functionalities, thus enhancing the user experience.
This is the perfect example of combining native and web elements to create a high-performance mobile application.
With a beautiful design and its ability to work flawlessly on different devices, this productivity app stands out for its performance. Something that goes against the premise that hybrid apps are slow and of low performance.
Twitter is another hybrid app proving that performance is not an issue for this type of app development. The social media application can handle huge amounts of traffic and it’s accessed by millions of users every day.
According to a developer survey conducted by Statista, these are the most popular hybrid app frameworks in 2020:
As a result of their fast turnarounds and compatibility across various platforms, hybrid is the mobile app development of choice for many companies. This is why hybrid applications are on a rising trend.
Therefore, as the demand for hybrid apps is soaring, many hybrid app frameworks have surfaced to meet the needs of developers.
In the same time, the growing availability of hybrid app development tools will lead to the creation of more hybrid mobile apps.
Here are the best hybrid app development tools and their unique features:
It allows them to convert the source code into native elements and thus deliver users a native experience.
Powered by Google, this platform supports various programming languages and accommodates multiple operating systems.
It’s most appreciated for its speed and the many features it provides, such as a rich collection of widgets or real-time updates.
Probably the most popular tool for creating hybrid apps, this is a free and open-source framework with a large community of developers.
It has an extensive set of tools and features, including native UI components and layouts, debugging, testing tools and more that help developers create interactive mobile apps.
Furthermore, this hybrid app framework provides services such as scalability and maintainability.
Owned by Microsoft, this cross-platform framework uses C# programming language with .NET framework. It is compatible with different platforms and provides performance and user experience similar to native solutions.
Distributed by the Cordova framework, this tool is praised for its ease-of-use and compatibility with multiple platforms.
It also offers native plugins for each mobile platform which allow access to mobile devices' functionality such as microphone, camera, compass and more.
This helps developers very easily build a hybrid app which makes PhoneGap one of the best hybrid app framework out there.
There are many factors you should consider when trying to find the best hybrid app development company for your business needs.
It all depends on what you prefer and whether you have special requirements. For the most part, people who have limited financial resources usually demand hybrid software.
With so many developers on the market, it may be difficult to make the right choice for your company.
Here are a few things to consider before hiring a hybrid mobile app development company:
Once you collect all the necessary info about all the potential hybrid app development companies, make a selection and choose the best one for your mobile app needs.
Thanks to hybrid app development, you can now have a mobile app running on different operating systems. By offering your app on multiple platforms such as Windows, Android and iOS, you will increase your brand reach.
Besides the convenience to work on any platform or device, it's easy to develop and download hybrid apps. And because they integrate native elements, they can provide a native-like user experience.
That’s why hybrid software is more popular than ever. It allows brands to launch one single application across multiple mobile devices and easily reach their target audience while saving time and money.
And this is also why there are plenty of hybrid app developers to choose from if you want to take the hybrid route and create this type of mobile app for your business.