Mobile platform development options

heppizEach day FATbit’s team receives a number of queries about mobile application development from existing and new customers. All are confused and often misguided by development companies about the mobile platform they should choose. The technical details baffle them even further and the quoted price is usually seen as the deciding factor.

There are mainly 3 options of mobile application development:

  • Native app: Are mobile apps built for specific platforms like iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, etc, using their respective development tools and language.
  • HTML5 Web App: Mobile optimized websites that appear to be apps and run on the mobile browser. These are platform independent but lack superior UX and functionality.
  • Hybrid/ Cross- Platform App: Single mobile app built on HTML5 and optimized for multiple platforms (using native containers). They are downloaded from the app stores like native apps.

We advise everyone looking for a mobile app development company to answer these simple questions before deciding:

1) Who and how large is your mobile app’s targeted user audience?
2) What is the challenge you wish to overcome?
3) What type of mobile app is best suited to address your business need?
4) How much time and money do you wish to invest to get the desired ROI?

How many platforms do you wish to target?

The answer to this depends on who are your target audience. Some people wish to develop a mobile application just for a particular platform and do not mind the limited reach; eg. people who opt for an app only for iPhone to target high net worth individuals. Native apps are the way to go for them.

Those who want a wider reach you can opt for multiple native apps, specifically developed for each operating system. A hybrid app will also let you reach all platforms through a common app. The hybrid app will have a common HTML5 and Javascript code wrapped in native containers making it compatible cross platform.

How complex is the desired mobile app?

The complexity of your mobile app is dependent on what problem you wish to solve through the mobile app. Some apps are very demanding in terms of features and some are much simpler. A native app can access hardware like GPS and camera, handle the hard keys of a phone, link to an online database, manage large amounts of client side data, run offline and access widgets seamlessly. All this is not possible with a web app but people usually perceive that it is also impossible for a cross platform app.

With time, many more development tools are now available that can allow you to develop a hybrid app that can do almost everything that can be done with the help of a native app. The only problem is that, as the complexity of the application increases, developing a hybrid app to manage all the OS specific features keeps getting tougher. It is thus advisable to opt for a hybrid app for simpler solutions.

Choose a native app if you want:

  • An app which demands quick response and high performance
  • That can process large amounts of data on the client side
  • To manage system resources or Operating Systems
  • For video or game scenarios

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Q&A

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What are the benefits of developing games on Mobage mobile platform? - Quora

It is hybrid of native app and web app architecture. The code is placed on the application servers and client device will download it on the first launch and check the latest updates on each launch automatically.
Game developer can get the benefit of fast updates like web apps. though I am wondering if this type of architecture will work on iOS platform.