Smartphones are core to enhancing the customer’s digital experience in a user-centric business landscape. To leverage the increased number of mobile users and their ever-evolving excitement to stay hooked on mobile phones, businesses need to up their mobile app game.

According to Statista, In 2023, the global app download count is projected to reach 299 billion and is expected to increase from around 247 billion in 2020.

However, building an app can overshoot your budget or overturn your vision if you have yet to plan everything. The app development approach is key to overcoming the scalability, cost, budget, and timeline challenges businesses face.

Mobile app developers are divided between cross-platform and hybrid app development approaches. They prove to be cost-effective compared to native solutions; however, they may differ along other crucial factors.

According to Allied Market Research Group, The global market for mobile applications was valued at $208.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.4% from 2023 to 2032, reaching $777.4 billion by 2032.

This article will look at the cross-platform vs hybrid app development approaches to note how each works.

What is Cross-platform app development?

Cross-platform app development is when developers create an application with a single codebase and use it on multiple platforms. They are compatible with more than one operating system, which is why they are cross-platform.

These applications enhance the speed of development and increase the developer’s productivity. Cross-platform developers like Flutter developers need not create a special environment or habitat to enable this application to work. Several frameworks support your mobile app development goals. It is easy to maintain and upgrade these apps, which makes them a great asset for developers

Key Features

  • Code Reusability: You can create a single code and reuse the codebase for different platforms. You might need to make minor tweaks in some cases to create a native-like appeal
  • Reusability: This is possible with the Flutter framework alone. You can create a single interface design and use it on both iOS and Android platforms
  • Plugin Management: The frameworks allow you to create plugins integrate them with the native libraries and use them as required. You can also integrate it with SDKs such as Titanium by PhoneGap and Rhodes.
  • Hot Reload: Without disturbing the production environment, developers can introduce new features or updates to the application. They can even test the app in a live environment.

Examples of Impressive Cross-platform Apps

1) Airbnb: This popular travel booking app offers a native-like experience on both iOS and Android.

2) Discord: This communication platform for gamers uses Flutter to provide a rich chat experience and voice-calling features across desktop, mobile, and web platforms.

3) Instagram: Instagram delivers a smooth and visually appealing platform for sharing photos and videos on iOS and Android.

4) TikTok: This short-form video-sharing app leverages the power of React Native to deliver a lightning-fast and engaging experience.

5) Netflix: Using React Native for key components, Netflix allows users to stream movies and shows with a consistent and intuitive interface across mobile and TV platforms.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Write the code once and use it anywhere for productive development. Performance can become an issue in some cases.
Increased speed to market. Integrating the features can take a long while.
Easy app management and maintenance. A limited number of tools to build an app.
Reduced development costs. UX/UI design challenges can lead to frustrations and friction.
Simple testing methods for faster bug detection.
Excellent reach and visibility as you get to release on both platforms.
Seamless integration with cloud platforms.

Top 5 Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

  1. React Native
  2. Flutter
  3. Xamarin
  4. Ionic
  5. Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM)

Other Notable Frameworks:

  1. Appcelerator Titanium: A mature enterprise-grade platform with rich features and security focus.
  2. NativeScript: Offers native-like performance with JavaScript and TypeScript, good for code reuse across web and mobile.
  3. Corona SDK: Popular for game development due to its ease of use and built-in physics engine.

When to Consider Developing a Cross-platform App?

Deciding whether to develop a cross-platform app is a strategic choice, and there are several factors to consider before diving in. Here are some key scenarios where cross-platform development might be the optimal approach:

1) Reaching a Wider Audience:

  • If you want to reach users on both iOS and Android platforms with a single codebase, cross-platform development can be significantly faster and more cost-effective than building separate native apps.
  • If you target a global audience, cross-platform development allows you to deploy your app across different regions with minimal adjustments, simplifying localization and maintenance.

2) Faster Time to Market:

  • Many popular cross-platform frameworks like React Native and Flutter utilize familiar web technologies like JavaScript, making them easier to learn for developers with web development backgrounds. With a single codebase, you can iterate and deploy updates faster than building separate native apps.

3) Cost-Effectiveness:

  • Using a single codebase for multiple platforms reduces development costs compared to building separate native apps. This can be particularly beneficial for startups or small businesses with limited resources.
  • Maintaining a single codebase is easier and less expensive than managing separate codebases for different platforms. This can save you time and money in the long run.

4) App Complexity:

  • For apps with straightforward functionality and UI, cross-platform development can deliver a great user experience without sacrificing performance.
  • For apps with complex features that require native capabilities, consider a hybrid approach where you combine cross-platform development for core functionality with native components for specific features.

What is Hybrid App Development?

Hybrid app development is a cusp of native and web applications to enhance usability. The app users can access these applications via web browsers, which are compatible with multiple browsers.

They are lightweight applications that can be accessed through WebView. You don’t need to download them, which saves extra space on your mobile phone. Akin to cross-platform applications, you can code the software application once and use it everywhere. The development and maintenance costs are low with this approach.

Key Features

  • Offline Support: You access these applications through review, which means you don’t need the Internet to access the apps. As the data is stored in the app API, these applications grant access to data anywhere at any given time
  • Reusable Codes: Create the device-specific component and include them in the native container. This allows the users to use them across the web browsers easily
  • Plugin-based Development: To create a more native-like feel, you can use plugins that help manage the hardware and software for your apps. Eventually, you will notice an increase in agility and development speed.
  • One-language Development: You don’t need to learn different languages to develop a mobile application. You can use the ready-to-use frameworks and create the app for a better experience.

Examples of Successful Hybrid Apps

1) TripAdvisor: Leverages WebView to offer a vast database of travel information and booking options with a consistent experience across platforms.

2) BBC News: Combines native features with a web-based content engine to deliver timely news updates and multimedia experiences on mobile devices.

3) Uber: While transitioning to native development, their initial hybrid app proved crucial in their rapid global expansion and user acquisition.

4) Slack: Employs a hybrid approach to provide a seamless communication platform for teams, integrating chat, file sharing, and video conferencing across platforms.

5) Alibaba Mobile: This e-commerce giant utilizes hybrid technology to offer a comprehensive shopping experience with product browsing, payment options, and order tracking on mobile devices.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
It can speed up development, increasing the developer’s productivity. Performance issues for the mobile app.
You can customize mobile app development to meet unique requirements. Can delay your app releases and updates.
Lowering the maintenance costs. Slow interface interaction can cause frustration.
Supports offline access.
Better integrations.

Popular Hybrid App Development Frameworks

  1. Ionic
  2. Apache Cordova
  3. Xamarin
  4. React Native
  5. Onsen UI

Other Notable Frameworks:

  1. Framework 7: Open-source and free, focus on mobile-first web app development with native-like UI.
  2. Flutter WebView: Utilize existing Flutter codebase to integrate web content within Flutter apps.
  3. PhoneGap: Similar to Apache Cordova, but with a focus on web app development with mobile capabilities.

When to Consider Developing a Hybrid App?

Whether to develop a hybrid app depends on your specific needs and priorities. Here are some situations where a hybrid approach might be the best fit:

1) Faster and cheaper development:

  • Building a single codebase for both platforms is often faster and more cost-effective than developing separate native apps.

2) Cross-platform compatibility:

  • Reach a wider audience across various platforms (Android, iOS, etc.) with a single codebase.

3) Lightweight and fast:

  • Hybrid apps tend to be smaller in size compared to native apps, resulting in faster downloads and reduced storage usage.

4) Offline access:

  • Some hybrid frameworks allow for offline functionality for certain features, even without an internet connection.

5) Leveraging existing web assets:

  • If you already have a web platform or content, you can integrate it into your hybrid app easily.

In-depth Comparison of Cross-platform versus Hybrid Development

We have seen what you mean by hybrid and cross-platform app development approaches in detail. Let’s look at an in-depth comparison of native vs hybrid vs cross-platform app development.

Factors Native App Development Hybrid App Development Cross-platform Development
Security It is a highly secure approach. In this case, the app can easily access the device-specific features. As a result, the authentication layers and security is tough and impenetrable. The hybrid app will access the device features through the review. As a result, it will require more security enhancements. Web browsers can make the app vulnerable if not secure, leading to security threats. It is easy to add security layers and improve the authentication of the app to make sure it is safe to use. It is much better than hybrid app development for security. However, you may not find the security as tight and able as the native app.
Cost It is an expensive form of development as you need to create a codebase for the separate platforms. In this development approach, you need to use mobile and web development tools. It can be cost-effective compared to native app development. You can create a single codebase and use it across platforms. This approach uses fewer resources and popular frameworks to reduce costs.
Performance High-performance and fast apps without compromising quality. When you build high-end complex apps, they cannot replicate the native-like performance. You may experience slow speed and reduced performance. Frameworks like React Native and Flutter can help recreate a native-like experience.
Bugs and Quality You need to work on separate codebases to debug and check the quality. It can result in increased spend and resources for debugging. You need to work on web and mobile app bug fixing. As a result, it can take a bit more time than cross-platform apps. As you will be debugging a single codebase, you can spend fewer hours and get the app out.
Tools and Frameworks You need to use native programming languages and tech stack to create the application.

  • Swift and Objective-C for iOS development
  • Java and Kotlin for Android development
PhoneGap, Ionic, and Xamarin are popular frameworks for hybrid app development Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, NativeScript, Appcelerator, and Corona.
Maintenance The native approach is high on maintenance. You might note that you require a separate developer to constantly work on maintaining and fixing the app. As you will be working on both web and mobile app development tools and technologies, you will need to invest more time and money into maintaining the applications. It is easier to maintain cross-platform apps as you will be working on a single codebase.
UI/UX Design The app’s UI and UX are designed in sync with the platform-specific guidelines. As a result, the interaction and experience are frictionless. The app interface is designed uniformly for all the platforms. It is done keeping in mind the web browsers and platforms. As a result, it may not be as clean and smooth as native app development. The app interface and experience are designed to give a more native feel and appearance.
Time to Market You will need separate teams to manage the iOS and Android app development. As a result, the time taken will be more. The resources will spend time individually developing the application. It is a faster approach to developing the mobile application. You will use the basic web frameworks and core technologies such as HTML and CSS, which results in faster development. This is a faster development method as you need to create a single codebase. You can use several development frameworks to plan the app development.
Accessibility to Device Features The native apps can directly access the device components. The hybrid apps will need to use plugins to access the device features. There are a lot of third-party plugins that they can use for this purpose. The frameworks can help access the features directly. While it may not be as smooth as native apps, it is better than hybrid apps.
Updates As the app is layered on the specific operating system, it becomes easier for the mobile application to update the features in real time. It takes a while for the OS update to reach the hybrid platforms. As a result, updates take a while. you may not access real-time updates with cross-platform. However, using plugins and widgets, you can release these updates faster than with a hybrid development approach.
Developer Expertise You will need experts in iOS and Android separately to develop mobile applications for both native platforms. You can work with developers with expertise in HTML5 and CSS to build hybrid apps. They are easily accessible, and the talent pool is rich. You may need developers with expertise in JavaScript technologies or specific cross-platform frameworks. They are easily accessible, and there are several developers available. However, you might need to find a framework-specific developer for the tech stack planned. You may face some challenges in this case, and it may be more challenging than hybrid app development.

Key Takeaways:

  • In the native vs hybrid vs cross-platform comparison, the most secure and reliable approach is a native app development
  • In the hybrid vs cross-platform app development approach, hybrid development takes less time to release the product. However, it is not best suited for a high-end and complex app. The cross-platform offers a better experience than the hybrid app in the hybrid app vs cross-platform development approach.

If you want security and high-quality advanced app solutions and a suitable budget, you can go with native app development. Hybrid app development is best suited if you want to build a lightweight, not-so-complex app with a limited budget and time.

How to Choose the Right Platform for Your App Development?

The best approach depends on your specific needs and priorities. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • App complexity: For complex apps with demanding performance requirements, native development might be preferable.
  • Budget and time constraints: Cross-platform and hybrid offer faster development and lower costs compared to native.
  • Target audience and platform reach: Consider your desired platforms and user base when choosing compatibility.
  • Offline functionality: If offline access is crucial, hybrid apps might be a better fit.


In the debate on hybrid apps vs cross-platform development, you can choose cross-platform when creating high-end and complex apps. React Native, or Flutter app development can help you with the right solutions. However, if you want to improve offline support and enhance accessibility, you can work with a hybrid development approach. This is a great approach if you want to keep the app lightweight and allow access without downloading. It will also lower the learning curve and time to market.

Whether you choose a hybrid or cross-platform app development approach, you should partner with a solid team of developers. Hire dedicated cross-platform or hybrid developers from Best Remote Team. We have a fully vetted and finely sourced team you can hire through flexible engagement models. Connect with our team to hire the best-fit team for your needs now.


Jatin Savaliya

Content Marketing Specialist

I'm working with Best Remote Team, which is an India-based company that provides dedicated remote developers on an hourly and monthly basis. I'm a tech enthusiast and write content to give readers the lowdown on different technologies and their related trends.

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