Mobile applications have invaded mankind to the extent that today one cannot even imagine living without them. So much so, that you have to decide which mobile app you would like to use for your need. The major question is whether native, hybrid, or web-which one to choose.

Defining Mobile Application

For a layman, a mobile app is something that simplifies their work just by a click of a button on their mobile.

To define it more precisely mobile applications or simply mobile apps are computer-generated programs or software applications that are built to run on various mobile devices like- iPhones, Smartphones, and tablets.

They are so common these days that it is another way around if a smartphone doesn’t have the “popular apps” it is considered “OBSOLETE”!

Planning to Develop a Mobile app?

If you are planning to develop a mobile app for your business and you are not technically sound on the subject, the challenge is to decide on the type of mobile app. The success of your mobile app depends on factors such as technical details, business needs, design, marketing, and branding. Of so many factors, the most critical is the selection of app type, as changing the app type at the last moment can cost you, and the wrong selection can ruin your project.

To speed up the app development and take the advantage of right selection for a long you must first understand your needs and the various kinds of available apps.

Broad Classification of Mobile Apps

Apps can be broadly classified into Web, and Mobile Apps. Mobile apps can further be divided into Native and Hybrid Apps. Each has its advantages and limitations, which you must understand and select your choice.

Web Apps

When an application is accessed using a web browser over a network like the internet, it is termed a Web App. Unlike informational websites, they are functional and need not be downloaded like mobile apps. They are loaded on browsers like Chrome or Firefox and do not consume memory or storage space on the user’s device.

In short, they can be understood as websites with interactivity and functionality. Due to these,  developers with web skills can easily write, using cross-platform, standard web technologies like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, a web app. As a web app can be used on any mobile device that has a web browser, be it iOS, Android, or Windows, it needn’t be written multiple times for each platform.


  1. Easy maintenance.
  2. Single code base across platforms. Distribution, deployment, and updates or features can be released instantly, as they need no updating on an app store.
  3. Device-level features are accessible through JavaScript APIs.
  4. Development costs are lower.

Limitations of Web apps:

  1. Interactions are not so neat and responsive when compared to other apps.
  2. UI design elements can be inconsistent. Device-level features like push notification, work offline, and load on the home screen are not supported.
  3. As they are unavailable in the “App Store” the potential reach to users slips down.
  4. Slow operating and cannot be accessed without internet.

Native Apps

Apps created, designed, and coded for specific platforms, like iOS, Android, and Windows phones are native apps. They are more complex when compared to web apps, in terms of the fact they take account of the software language used in the device, development tools required for them, user interface elements needed, and software development kits (SDKs).

Hence, one native app created for one OS will not run on the other.

That implies if you wish to develop native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows you need to create separate apps. Unlike iOS devices, Android devices have the “back button” hence they do not need a separate UI element for this. Native apps are released and distributed via an “App Store” which has its pros and cons. On one side, the user gets access to hundreds of apps at a single location, which makes them easier to install.

Each of these platforms has its publication procedure, therefore, for an update or new feature, it can take from a few hours to a few days for completion.

Other pros and cons are:


  1. Superior user experience in terms of speed and responsiveness.
  2. All device-level features are accessible.
  3. Stable and reliable.
  4. Can work offline.
  5. Available in an App store hence marketing easy.
  6. Least use of hardware and efficient coding.


  1. Different code bases are required for different platforms.
  2. Are expensive.
  3. Take time to build.
  4. No cross-platform support.
  5. Prior approvals are required in the case of “Apple App Store”.
  6. Maintaining and updating are demanding.

As many developers may be platform-specific, you may need to invest in two separate developers if you wish to launch on multiple platforms with Native apps.

Hybrid Apps

As the name itself says- it is an amalgamation of Native and Web App. They get installed as Native App and feel like Web apps. They are built on JavaScript, HTML, or CSS and run on a simplified browser within the app termed Web view. Hybrid apps are good MVP options as they can be created in a short period, with limited resources, and can be launched for testing and feedback. In short, they are native app codes coupled with web technologies and published via a relevant native app store.

Developers prefer creating web apps as hybrid apps as doing so allow them to integrate device-level features like push notifications or camera. At the same time, they also get the chance to be accessed on the App store, Google Play, or Windows store. Developers are always happy to build a hybrid app as they need to write a single web technology code base, which can be deployed on multiple devices.


  1. Single code base.
  2. Cross-platform support.
  3. Convenient, fast, and cost-effective to build, using standard web technologies.
  4. Apps can be marketed in app stores.
  5. Easy and faster updates.
  6. Can work offline.
  7. Allowed access to device’s APIs, can access storage, camera, and much more.
  8. Works on both iOS and Android.


  1. As they load in a browser like an element they have poor performance, i.e., less responsive.
  2. The UX is usually compromised.
  3. Submission (for iOS) is required for the relevant App store.
  4. Dependent on a third-party platform.

Why Choosing is Important

For your and the app’s success, you must take out some time to decide the kind of app your business needs.

Here are a few reasons why you need to choose correctly:

  • You have a core purpose for developing an app, therefore the mobile app needs to match that purpose.
  • While you do so you purposefully keep the focal point of your mobile app in the pain areas of the audience.
  • Secondly, that secures that the features and capabilities will be audience-friendly.
  • The cost of your platform greatly depends on the type of app you choose. You cannot play with all kinds of apps and then finally conclude.
  • You must choose before you hit the deck. This way you stick to your intended budget for the mobile app.
  • App development doesn’t end at the end of the creation, in reality, it starts from there. It requires long-term dedication and you need resources for the maintenance, updates, and future upscaling.
  • Therefore, choosing the correct app will guide you to align your resources accordingly.

Author’s Bio

Fortunate Jideofor Nneji is the Head of Products at Solve Money Nigeria and is helping the business validate the hypothesis around Revenue-based financing in Africa by guiding the product development efforts of the product and engineering team. With over 8 years in product, he has guided the growth of multiple products and product people across Finance, E-commerce, Energy, and Education


ITPulse is a wholly information technology communication (ICT) news website, with a special focus on the African continent. The website provides up-to-date biz-tech news, analysis and comprehensive and thorough insight into the continent's ICT terrain

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