Native vs Cross Platform Development

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Native vs cross-platform mobile development seems to be an age-old debate. Today, it represents the second biggest fight after the struggle between iOS and Android and divides the tech community into two groups.

Although supporters of each approach believe they know the ultimate answer, the truth is that both cross-platform apps and native apps continue to evolve. Since the particular application development technologies are constantly changing, it is critical to analyze cross-platform frameworks and native mobile apps from time to time. That will allow finding out which mobile development solution is leading.

Of course, both native apps and cross-platform apps have their pros and cons regarding software development. Such factors may impact all people involved with a relevant mobile app – its owner, users, or dedicated software development team.

But in the case of a mobile app development team, the engineers have their preferences depending on programming languages and app development technologies they typically work with. On the other hand, numerous big organizations, including Google, Facebook, or Airbnb, have developed their apps using a hybrid mobile app platform like React Native or Xamarin.

Despite the type of industry your business operates in – retail, banking, or educational courses, you need to consider the amount of time people spend on their smartphones. Therefore, the idea of building a mobile application for your customers makes great sense.

So, let’s start with the core of both cross-platform applications and native applications.

What is native app development?

Native app development means developing a mobile app that is specific to only one platform (iOS, Android, or Windows). It means a native app is developed using programming languages and different tools that refer to this platform. That allows native apps to obtain significant benefits from all the device’s features, including camera, GPS, contacts list, etc. Users can install such web apps through the relevant stores like Google Play for a native Android app and Apple app store for iOS apps.

Also, native development solutions are known to provide exceptional user experience since they traditionally show high performance. The enhanced user experience often results from the visuals adopted to the UX platform. But numerous startups consider the cost of native application development incredibly high because they must start developing a mobile app for Android and iOS.

In addition, there is a need to mention hybrid app development that implements features of native applications and web applications. Developers create hybrid apps with the help of well-known programming languages, including JavaScript, HTML, or CSS. Thus, hybrid apps are about mixing mobile and web components for building products that will target various platforms quickly.

Frameworks & Programming Languages for Building Native Apps

Each native app runs over a native platform like iOS, Android, or Windows. Traditionally, to build a native mobile app, the native app development team uses a software development kit (SDK), along with an integrated development environment (IDE) necessary for the relevant operating system (OS).

Among the key native app development technologies are:

iOS apps

  • Framework – developing an iOS native app requires developers to apply the XCode framework. That allows building native development solutions for iPhone and iPad.
  • Programming language – iOS native apps are built using Objective C or Swift.

Android apps

  • Framework – creating an Android native app means that programmers build native development solutions for touch screen smartphones using the Android Studio IDE.
  • Programming language – Android app development is conducted using Java or Kotlin.

Pros of native app development

The most critical advantages of native app development are:

Broad Functionality

You will get access to all application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools offered by the platform your programmers are developing on. Technically, there cannot be any limits on how they conduct the native development process.

Better Store Support

Native app development solutions are easier to publish and always have higher ranks on the platform’s application store since they provide better performance and load speed.

Increased Scalability

Products created with native app development are often more scalable due to the flexible resources management approaches and multiple available tools.

High Performance & Better UX

In native app development, the code interacts with the underlying resources directly. That leads to higher performance levels. Besides, native Android and iOS apps typically provide better UX.

Cons of native app development

The most critical cons of native apps are:


Native app development can be incredibly costly since you need to launch an application for Android and iOS platforms separately. It means you should provide two development teams that will work on different platforms. Besides, native app development requires higher costs when you need to deal with strict deadlines.

Time Consuming

The process of native app development is significantly time-consuming because your programmers cannot duplicate the work conducted for iOS to Android or vice versa. After all, a separate team must develop another version.

native app development

What is cross-platform app development?

Cross platform app development means the process of building an application that will work on multiple platforms. You can develop cross platform solutions by applying specific tools such as React Native, Xamarin, or Flutter that allow deploying the created cross platform apps on different platforms (both Android and iOS).

Although cross platform development can save time and cost, you may face the risk of sacrificing quality during the app development process. Tailoring a cross platform app that runs optimally on various operating systems is a challenging task. After all, cross platform mobile apps require an additional abstraction layer when performing, which leads to lower performance.

In the case of startups, they prefer using cross platform technologies, especially due to cost reduction. But you have to remember the difficulty to customize a cross platform application beyond things allowed in the relevant framework chosen for cross platform mobile development.

Pros of cross-platform app development?

The most critical advantages of cross platform app development are:

Less Costly

There is no need to have two separate teams of developers. Instead, you should provide only one app development cross platform team. That allows saving a lot on the app development cost.

Single Code Base

Since cross platform apps are created using a single cross platform development tool, you will have just one code base created.

Affordable & Time-Saver

Implementing the “write once, run anywhere” method provides cross platform developers with the opportunity to utilize a single code on several platforms. That contributes to cost reduction and cross platform app development time shortening – unlike native app development solutions.

Easy & Fast Deployment

Cross platform development does not require the app development team to learn numerous technologies before building cross platform solutions. They need to master only some tools necessary for creating a cross platform app. Also, since you do not have to create different codebases, the initial cross platform development is much faster.

In addition, you can make future changes to a cross platform app simultaneously with no need to provide each cross platform with individual changes. Ultimately, creating a cross platform app that performs on multiple platforms requires only a single cycle of app development.

Wider Audience Reach

Cross platform app development allows targeting a wider audience. In turn, your cross platform app can provide increased revenues.

Small Team Size

Among the mandatory advantages of cross platform development are speed and agility. That promotes cross platform developers to work in small teams and improves the overall cross platform development process.

Cons of cross-platform app development

The most critical disadvantages of cross platform development are:

Slower App

A cross platform mobile app may often perform slower compared to native apps as the interface provides a slow response. A cross platform app processes more information because it involves an additional abstraction layer.

However, in cross platform solutions, all client-server operations are conducted similarly to the native mobile app development ones. Thus, the performance of your cross platform app will be worse only if you have a multi-element interface. But you need to remember that cross platform development makes it difficult to apply the specific components of all necessary OS.

Limited Functions

Cross platform developers may find it difficult to access smartphone functionalities such as a microphone, camera, GPS, voice control, or offline mode in the way possible for native app development solutions.

Limited UX

Modern cross platform applications cannot fully benefit from native UX elements. Thus, cross platform solutions will not provide the same excellent UX experience usual for a particular platform. Besides, cross platform mobile applications often fail to offer significant UX due to the shared code.

Performance Glitches

If you compare native and cross platform solutions, it is impossible to integrate cross platform applications into their target OS. In this case, some cross platform development products can fail to run appropriately due to the inconsistent communication between the native elements of the device and their non-native code.

cross-platform app development

How to choose an approach to build mobile app

native vs cross platform app development

Native app vs cross platform app: which one to choose? Of course, making a final decision may become a tricky task. But after we have defined the nature of native vs cross platform app solutions, analyzing their pros and cons, and defining the key cross platform vs native technologies, let’s understand better how native and cross platform development differ.

Here we describe the main areas where native vs cross platform solutions differ:

  • Performance. Native applications run better than cross platform applications since the native code has direct interaction with the device’s resources. For example, to conduct demanding computing tasks, native apps are 10x faster vs cross platform applications.
  • Development time. Comparing native vs cross platform apps in terms of development time makes it clear that the first ones require incredibly more time for development. Therefore, cross platform applications are more beneficial because you can easily duplicate the code through multiple platforms.
  • Development cost. What approach is cheaper: native or cross platform? The logic is simple – more development time and staff require more development costs. In this case, cross platform applications provide more benefits as they allow saving many resources and managing one team to develop for several platforms.
  • Product lifetime. Native vs cross platform development is safer if you consider long-term projects. From a cross platform standpoint, the tools and frameworks used are less stable. Therefore, cross platform applications are more difficult to change.
  • Access to hardware resources. If comparing native vs cross platform apps in terms of complete access to different target resources or services of the device, the first ones will be your option. Although cross platform applications can be integrated with different plugins, there can be numerous compatibility issues. Thus, a cross platform app may take up a lot of space.
  • UI/UX design. When you think about choosing native or cross platform in terms of UI/UX design, you should remember that cross platform solutions are less efficient. Since native app development provides unrestricted access to UI/UX elements, the relevant apps deliver better visuals and significant UX vs cross platform ones.
  • Background processes. Native vs cross development environment is better since it allows the application to perform operations while not in the foreground.
  • Push notification. Handling push notification is much better in native environment development solutions vs cross platform ones.
  • OS updates. No doubts that native vs cross applications require less time to catch up with the latest OS updates.
  • Debugging. Cross platform solutions cannot offer the same effective app debugging capabilities. So if you fluctuate between native vs cross platform products in terms of debugging, you should choose the first option.

Ultimately, you need to take into account all the described points to select native or cross platform development for your application.


Native and cross platform development solutions have different advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the choice between native vs cross apps will depend on project requirements, along with the expertise of the programmers involved.

In terms of UX and overall performance, native applications are considered the best choice. Although they are more costly, you will obtain better visuals and lower defect rates. On the other hand, cross platform apps are easier and quicker to create. But it requires more effort to provide an appropriate UX on the relevant platform.

If you are still doubtful about implementing a native vs cross platform approach, check our mobile development services and contact us to get professional advice. In Exoft, our qualified team has great experience in implementing end-to-end software and mobile development projects.

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