Let’s go an hour back. Or a few minutes back. Or let’s say a few seconds ago. What were you doing? A random guess would be that at least half of you would have spent a few moments looking on your mobile screen. Even now, you might well be reading this story on your mobile browser.


People spend 52% of their digital media time on mobile. Yes, that’s half of the total time. And 89% of that time is spent using mobile apps.

The ubiquitous demand of apps is evident. No brand or business wants to avoid it. An app is much essential as your company’s website.

The problem is how to approach it! Most businesses hesitate to try cross platform mobile app development. The hesitation springs from the lack of knowledge about the apps. Of course, cross-platform has its limitations…for now. But its advantages are good enough to consider it.

Before we delve into the benefits, let’s explore the two varieties of cross platform mobile app development.

Option #1: Mobile web apps (or HTML5 apps)

They are not applications per se. They are websites written in HTML5 and hence, can be run on any device such as smartphone, tab, or desktop.

Since HTML5 apps are browser-based, they can run on any mobile OS whether it is Windows, iOS, Android, or even BlackBerry OS. The lines between the mobile web apps and regular websites are becoming blur with the development of mobile technology.

The HTML5 apps are not stored on the app stores. But almost all mobile platforms including Android, iOS, and Windows, give support to the HTML5.

Option #2: Hybrid apps

Hybrid apps, as the name suggests, are an amalgam of native apps and web apps—both in parts. It may be thought of as a wrapper for an existing web page. It runs as if it runs in a browser with the browser embedded in the app itself. It uses native app shells in combination with mobile website for each of the platforms.

Like HTML5 apps, its code is also written in HTML5 with an advantage that the code can be reused for a variety of mobile OS. Unlike HTML5 apps, they are live on the respective app stores.

Now that you know what cross platform mobile app development options you have, we can discuss why they are important and why you should take it seriously.

1. Development, maintenance, and testing cost

Let’s say you want to develop native apps for 3 different platforms—android, iOS, and Windows. Your app will be written in 3 different languages—Java for Android, Swift or Objective C for iOS, and C# for Windows.

Naturally, you will need 3 different coding teams. Or possibly, 3 different app development agencies. The cost will shoot up and so will the time!

And those are the two assets you want to use wisely. Opting for cross platform mobile app development saves you much money and time simply because you’re writing a code that can be deployed on a variety of mobile OS.

Secondly, you’re saving on another front as well—Maintenance. A single codebase is always easier to maintain than three or four. In the longer run, you will be spending way less on maintenance than you would have done in case of native apps.

Testing is another often neglected part of development. For a single code, you don’t need different testing team for each of the platform.

So, all in all, you save on development, maintenance and testing as well.

comparison native vs cross platform mobile app development

2. Uniform look

When creating mobile app for different platforms, another difficulty is to maintain a consistent look across all platforms is important.

You don’t want your app to look alien when a user shifts from Android to iOS. The consistent look of the app actually works as a visual identity for your brand. The uniform look helps in establishing brand trust.

If you’re going for cross platform mobile app, you’re relying on a single design to work across all the platforms. This means your app will not lose its familiarity with the users.

3. Low technical barriers

This might look like a feature, but it is actually a benefit. With technology limited to HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, you have every reason to not increase the complexity. It is almost a common sense that writing code in Java or Objective-C is more difficult than writing one in HTML5.

For a single development skill-set, you won’t need a team for each platform. You can have a team that works on a single skill set and keep themselves updated on those technologies. This also gives you more control over the development of apps since you are taking care of one codebase.

4. Wider Reach

Well, there you have it—the most important benefit of cross platform mobile app. You are going to reach an audience that uses android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows, Cynogen, or even latest mobile OS from Mozilla, Firefox OS. And all of this, at the cost of one app.

With better and wider audience reach, you can execute your branding and marketing operations better. The approach is even more strategic if you are planning to increase your targeted audience. You no longer have to create marketing messages that are niche specific. You can play free as you increase your sales.

Final word—how to choose?

Even with all these benefits, one must be cautious when opting for cross platform mobile app development. You need to do your homework or take guidance from your app agency before you give a green flag to development.

First step is to decide what device features like camera, GPS, sensors, etc. does your app need to make it run satisfactorily. Not all device features can be exploited in some web based mobile apps. You also need to take speed into account. Do you want to monetize your app? It is not possible to do it with mobile web apps. Offline functioning may be hindered if you go for mobile web app since in-browser caching is still limited in HTML5.

Once you are able to give right and informed answers to these questions, you will be in a better position to make a choice.

But even then, the advantages of cross platform apps are too good to ignore. If you are in doubt with light pocket, in need for wider reach, and in the urgency to launch a mobile app, cross platform mobile app is your answer.

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