Smartphones with multiple platforms are emerging each day where major players include Android, iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows. One of the contributing factor that brings in income for these platforms are mobile apps!
Platform-specific mobile apps are built each day across various industrial verticals such as healthcare, education, entertainment, games etc. Interestingly, the apps developed for iPhone platform will not work on the Android platform. Though apps are same still they had to be developed each time customized for every platform. This has led to the necessity of developing the apps across multiple mobile platform.
Cross platform mobile application development came as a simple solution which allowed to build apps using a uniform technologies that would work across multiple platform. Hence an app developed for Android could also work for iPhone platform.
Benefits of Cross platform
Firstly, the app would reach wider audience with options to market via various medium. Updates and debugging of app is easy across many platforms saving time and money. The app may appear uniformly across multiple platform with low development cost.
Demerits of Cross platform
The developer has to understand different tools and languages including the API for each platform. The learning curve is very high. Integration of the app with multiple preferences may be difficult along with different user interface. Cross platform mobile application development may look only into the common functions which leaves you no choice to sacrifice platform flexibility.
Wise, Wiser, Wisest
Given the above situation, any user can choose between a native app (built using tools that support app to run on targeted platform), web app (HTML5 cross platform mobile app runs on browsers), and hybrid app (developed using HTML5 but packaged to be viewed natively).
Choosing the native app is a wise choice when considering the market condition where Android has a market share of 61%, iOS 21%, Blackberry 6% etc. Hence developing native apps can provide good performance with increased visibility. But the budget is very high. You may have to develop unique apps for multiple platform and maintain different versions of the app too.
The web apps can be a wiser choice since once developed the app may be functional across multiple platforms. The development of HTML5 apps and its testing is quite easier. But the only disadvantage of web apps is that performance is very low when compared to native apps.
The wisest choice for developing cross platform mobile applications are hybrid apps. They can be quickly developed using web technologies with very less native coding saving development cost and time. According to Gartner prediction, 50% of the apps will be hybrid apps by 2016.
One can select the type of app development discussed above depending upon one’s need. The native apps maybe very useful when you have projects related to games or multimedia since it provides quality and performance. For general utility and entertainment apps, the hybrid apps may be great. The web apps may be useful for building real time apps. Hence cross platform mobile apps development has its own advantages and disadvantages based on technology you choose.