Developing a mobile app: Native, hybrid or Progressive Web App?

Developpement mobile

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Before embarking on a mobile project, consider the differences between these technologies.   

Since the mass adoption of smartphones, responsive mobile websites have become the norm and mobile apps have become increasingly popular. Your challenge today is to constantly adapt to new user habits. While most of the time, a well-designed responsive website can meet expectations, a mobile app offers several advantages. In particular, it allows you to implement more targeted, less intrusive marketing and to optimise the customer experience to build loyalty.   

If you decide to develop a mobile application, there are several possibilities. Native, hybrid or Progressive Web App (PWA), each approach meets specific expectations and has its own advantages and constraints. 

Native applications   

A native application is developed specifically for an operating system, i.e. Android (Google) or iOS (Apple). Companies that choose to develop a native application must therefore offer two versions of their application in order to reach the largest possible market.    

These two technologies require different expertise. At Contraste Digital, we have both Android and iOS experts.    

Native applications offer the advantage of great integration with the device, notably with Bluetooth communication, photo or video taking, access to the file system, offline operation... They are generally fast and offer an excellent user experience. They also often allow for offline use, which is an important element in some projects. 

"Progressive Web App (PWA) and Hybrid Applications  

In their early days, Web Apps were mainly shortcuts to responsive mobile websites. They had the advantage of running on both Android and iOS smartphones, with the ability to be added to the start screen as an app.   

At the beginning, their functionalities were light, and, unlike native applications, they did not allow a strong integration with the device.    

Since then, web apps have evolved into Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and hybrid applications with React-native frameworks.  At Contraste Digital, we are increasingly developing these types of applications based on a set of modern APIs that allow these PWAs to behave like native applications - while keeping their main advantage, cross-platform, and without requiring installation.   

Both Google and Microsoft support this approach (see initiatives like Bubblewrap or PWABuilder), making it much more accessible to create innovative applications and deliver them to the Play Store and other platforms. 

How to choose? 

There are many factors to consider and the support of an expert will allow you to take into account the factors that are most important for your project, according to your needs, your target audience and also your budget.   

In the end, the objective is to have a personalised, high-performance, secure mobile application that above all meets the expectations of your users.    

What approach should you choose for your project? What do you need to consider, what are the costs and benefits for your company?     

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