Mobile Apps - Difference between Native, Web and Hybrid
November 11, 2022
By Heather Gwaltney

Updated November 11, 2022

Most of us are familiar with mobile apps, but few realize that mobile apps fall into three different categories: Native, Web and Hybrid. In this article, we describe these three apps and address their pros and cons.

Mobile Apps

Before we describe the types of apps, let’s first review what a mobile app is. A mobile app is a software application designed specifically to use on a smaller wireless computing device, such as a smartphone or iPad/tablet, as opposed to a desktop or laptop. They are built to work around mobile technology restrictions and to utilize the advantages unique to the mobile device. As mentioned earlier, mobile apps typically fall into one of three categories, Native, Web-based or Hybrid.

Native Apps

When you think of a mobile app, the native app is what you typically imagine. A native app is a software program designed for a specific platform or device – usually either for Google’s Android or Apple’s iPhone. Consequently, Android-designed apps cannot be used on the iPhone and iPhone-designed apps cannot be used on an Android. Users download native apps from Google Play or App Store respectively. The apps themselves reside with your mobile device’s other applications and are accessible by clicking on the app’s icon. Native apps provide the most reliable and fastest experience for users. Examples of native apps include your phone’s camera and GPS.

GTB’s native app helps businesses communicate with customers on the go!

Web Apps

Web-based apps are really mobile-optimized web pages that appear like an app. Users access them on their mobile device over the Internet, through a browser interface – like they would access a normal website on their computer through Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer. They don’t take up space on the user’s device and are easier and less expensive for a company to produce. At the same time, their simplicity can be restrictive. Developed once for all mobile devices, they cannot utilize special features unique to specific platforms, and most require an Internet connection in order to work. Most companies today who build websites require their developers to apply responsive design, so they can be user friendly on mobile devices.

Hybrid Apps

As the name “hybrid” implies, the app combines elements of both the web-based and native apps. Built using cross-platform web technologies and partial native code, they are usually more functional and customized than a web app and faster and easier to develop than a native app. Hybrid apps can be used across platforms, but are not as fast as native apps, since they still rely on web browser speed. Other benefits of hybrid apps include the fact that they can function whether the device is connected to the Internet or not, that they can connect with the user’s file system and that they have an embedded browser to allow for better access to online content. Examples of hybrid apps are LinkedIn and some online banking services.

Moving forward, it's expected that mobile app development will focus on integrating browser-based functionality with device-specific customization.

How GTB Helps

For the past 25 years, GTB has provided a variety of High Speed Internet Access with Cyber Security and managed Business Phone Solutions. Headquartered in Baltimore, we provide local customer care to companies in Maryland, DC and Northern VA. Rather than find multiple providers for each service, we also make acquiring and managing these services easier by providing a “one- stop- shop” experience that includes virtually all of the technology services required to run your company. If you are new to GTB, we offer a free assessment of your phone and Internet systems to see if we can save you money and/or make this transition easy for you. Learn more about how GTB is helping companies. 

Redeem Your Free Assessment Now


Related: Video: What Care Means To Our CustomersRobocalls Are A Nuisance and What's Being Done About It, and Professional Services Industry Solution.