The rapid growth of mobile application development is due to several factors one of which includes the contributions of tech giants like Google and Apple. Over the years, mobile applications became vital for enterprises as the platform offered means to increase brand awareness on a much wider scale cost-effectively.
Mobile applications are ideal for small-medium scale businesses (SMBs) including start-ups. The app lets them increase brand visibility while gathering data for customer retention and decision-making. In addition, mobile applications can deliver personalized messages to customers giving them an experience that lets them know that they are indeed valued by the business.
Hybrid mobile applications bring more to the table.
To understand what a hybrid mobile application is, you need to be aware of the general category of applications the way developers see it.
Hybrid Mobile Applications
There are native applications – applications that are developed and used on a single platform. They can be downloaded from app stores, and are integrated to many variants of a single operating system.
There are web apps – applications similar to mobile applications but are developed in HTML5. They are normally mobile-optimized, i.e. they can render themselves on to varying mobile screen sizes.
Then there are hybrid applications.
Hybrid applications are a combination of native and web applications. It can be more precisely described as a web application within a native application shell. Here are a few reasons why hybrid apps are considered unique.
- Provides cross-platform compatibility
- Comparatively less complicated to develop
- Can work on multiple mobile platforms
Why they are Important for Businesses
The main approach of any business is to make sure they reach out to the maximum users in their target market. The mobile platform is just a medium for that. Hybrid apps take advantage of the features of native mobile apps and web apps to access data from other applications, and to work offline unlike web apps that require an active internet connection to function. In addition, hybrid apps can also be downloaded from app stores though the content in it relies on being rendered in a web browser.
Hence, the business will be able to sell their services or products across all major platforms. Listing a few of its benefits might make the idea behind it clearer.
- User experience – Hybrid mobile apps can provide a consistent experience with its cross-platform compatibility trait. The users won’t notice any significant difference when switching the app from one platform to another. Because it’d mostly likely be developed to be responsive, and with a good UX design, it can deliver quality experience to the end user. This also applies to the app updates. A single update can fix issues in the app across various platforms it’s designed to function on, thus enhancing user experience in the process.
- Offline support – A hybrid mobile app can save data offline using APIs though the data cannot be updated when the device is offline. This is still beneficial to those users who may not have an active internet connection at all times when using the app. It also helps reduce loading time of the app to a certain extent.
- Integration with basic mobile apps – The internal programming of a hybrid mobile app allows it to sync with basic apps in the mobile devices like GPS, Camera etc. through overlay. This is a great advantage for businesses as they can provide better, more personalized services to customers.
- Speed – Hybrid mobile apps may not be necessarily faster, but they are fast enough. The technology and framework used for developing such apps also grant them significant speed compared to native and web applications. As it supports offline data storage, the user will not have to reload the app again to access the data under poor network conditions. Unless the app extensively uses graphics and animations, the speed will not be impacted.
- Resources – As hybrid apps use web technology, it makes utilizing the content of the app easier. Moreover, businesses won’t have to spend a lot of money to develop the app, and the resources required for the development are easily accessible. Developing a hybrid app generally doesn’t cost as much as developing a native app.
These are just a few of the major benefits businesses can get from hybrid mobile applications. They are in fact more advantageous than native mobile apps and web apps, are cost-effective in addition. Hybrid apps makes it easier for businesses to reach out to the end users by leveraging the best of both worlds – native and web, and provides a great experience to the end users with its versatility.