Are you thinking of launching your mobile app? Well, naturally, you would want to reach the maximum of your target audience. But it can be a challenge as mobile users are as diverse as they can get. Android is the most popular platform, with around 72% of all users preferring it over other mobile operating systems. iOS comes in second place with approximately 27% user base, and the rest 1% is users who prefer other platforms like KaiOs, Windows, Tizen, and more.
If you want the maximum reach for your app, you have to target, at the least, both the Android and iOS users. But there is yet another challenge you have to tackle – the cost of native app development. Developing apps specifically tailored to each platform can be an expensive affair. You will need to hire skilled resources for each platform, manage different project variants for the same product, and ensure a consistent look and feel. But believe us, in the end, it is all worth it!
While going for cross-platform app development seems to be the easiest shortcut, it comes with obstacles. Let’s explore more about it in this article.
What Is Cross-Platform App Development And Its Main Advantages
Cross-platform app development refers to the development methodology that helps deploy an app on multiple platforms with minimal effort. You can write platform-agnostic and reusable code, thereby controlling project costs and time to market.
Your apps can be used both as an Android application and an iOS application with a single code base, thus saving money on app development and maintenance. Here are some more ways how cross-platform app development benefits you:
- A slimmer code base that is easy to maintain and reuse
- Cost-effective mobile app development that can cater to a wide range of target audience
- Consistent UI and user experience across the various platforms
- Access to a large user base, better user feedback, and opportunities to grow
- Quick development time and time to market
What To Consider When Choosing This Approach
Having listed the various benefits of the cross-platform mobile app development approach, it is also necessary to consider the possible drawbacks. There is a reason that many continue to lean towards native app development due to performance considerations and native-only feature sets.
Consider all the factors involved, balance them against your priorities, and see if cross-platform mobile development will fit your needs. Here are some major points to consider when making your decision.
Cross-platform apps cannot match up to the high performance that native apps can provide. While the cross-platform technologies are still evolving and improving with each new release, they are yet to catch up with the high-performance benchmarks set by native apps. The primary reason native apps fare better is that their UI is actual native UI, whereas, with cross-platform apps developed with tech like PhoneGap, you work on an added layer that slows up the app performance. But performance issues can be primarily reduced if you pay attention to your app design and efficient handling of UI components in your cross-platform app.
Native app development allows you to use the platform-specific design capabilities and fully utilize the OS functionalities. Your app UI will fit seamlessly with the rest of the platform UI and give the users a familiar interface.
Every platform has certain unique features and visual styles that cannot be easily emulated with cross-platform apps. Features like GPS, movement detectors, cameras, and such are usually specialized for each platform. When your apps rely on such inbuilt features, it will get difficult for you to ensure consistent functionality across the various platforms. Native apps let you make full use of such inbuilt features and provide better performance.
Native mobile applications are also safer and secure as they can readily use the inbuilt security features.
Native apps provide you with a broader choice and number of preferences when you integrate with the platform features. Features like the notification features, drawing on other apps, multi-screen, and more can be well-utilized and made to have a consistent look and feel. You can also easily use the native storage options, thus eliminating the need for a third-party cloud service. Your app data can be easily backed up to native cloud solutions and does not require the user to sign up for different cloud services.
Another challenge with cross-platform mobile app development is the comparatively low number of skilled resources in this particular space. While it is easy to scout for mobile developers with a specialization in Android or iOS development, it is comparatively harder to get developers with the right level of expertise in cross-platform technologies.
Having a cross-platform app is an asset for growing businesses that need to reach as much target audience as possible. It is cost-effective and eases project management with a single code base and a smaller development team. Before choosing to take this approach to mobile app development, you have to weigh in the possible disadvantages and make sure you have a well-crafted strategy to overcome the advantages. We recommend you find freelance developers and craft a well-designed strategy to achieve the results you seek.