Progressive Web Apps vs Native vs Hybrid Apps


Let’s get our definitions straight. Let’s start with what is a Native App. A native App is an App that does not need a browser to load its content and to access it, a user must download the App from the App Store for iOS users and Play Store for Android Apps. To build native Apps developers use tools such as Xcode for iOS and Kotlin for Android. In later sections, we will expand on the best and most commonly used tools. 

Just like Native Apps, Hybrid Apps are loaded locally and without the use of browsers though Hybrid Apps are developed using web development tools CSS, HTML and Javascript. These Apps do not have access to features of mobile devices like shaking or motions sensors but look and feel a lot like Native Apps. To distinguish Native from Hybrid Apps is not easy. 

Now the Progressive Web Apps (PWS), these Apps are opened and loaded via mobile browsers but the look and feel of these Apps within the browser environment are like a native Apps. 

Features available to each

Since the difference between Native and Hybrid App is so tiny, let’s start with expanding on features of these two first. Depending on the use case and the type of features you would need from your App you should only choose the type of application you would like to develop. 

Native Apps are usually used when the App is required to use some of the device features directly. For instance, if your App requires a biometric login your App needs Native development. On the other hand, the experience reported from using Native Apps is much higher from users than Hybrid Apps, which is an important factor. According to some analysis, some users will never revisit an App if their first experience with the App was not pleasant i.e crashed or poor user experience journey. Therefore a well developed Native App could provide a better experience to the end users since the performance of the App functionality and the journey will be much better.

Having said that, not all users want to download and install applications from their App Store or Play Store. Reportedly more than 75% of the online purchases from mobile users were conducted by browsers. Which brings us to PWS. Having cost less and faster to market launch, and having a lot of users wanting to use their phone but their browsers make PWS a very attractive solution for businesses. 

Deployment is another topic that needs to be mentioned here. Whilst Native and hybrid Apps need to go through a series of process distribution for releasing PWA are deployed on servers just like web applications. 

Do you need those features if no go PWS?

As previously mentioned, Native Apps are well-performing and are the choice for Apps that require using devices’ features, such as biometrics. So if you are confused about which directions should you choose for your project, answer that question first. To name another advantage of PWS, we could mention the device’s compatibility issue. Devices change and new ones come to the market and sometimes features or devices from a couple of years back are rare and out of date, which could lead to reconstructing your native App. One more advantage of PWS is that you could have your web app as well your mobile web application in one codebase.

Which is the cheaper between Native, Hybrid and PWS?

The cheapest of all to develop would be PWS since they are programmed just like web apps. Hybrid Apps are after them and Native Apps are the most costly one to develop.