What is a Native App?
A “native application”, or “native app” for short, is an application that has been designed and configured specifically for the operating system of a mobile device. As a rule, a native app can be obtained from the App Store of the respective operating system. Both chargeable and free native apps are available.
Everything you need to know about Native Apps
As already mentioned, these are native apps if they are tailored to a specific operating system such as Android, iOS or Windows Phone and thus enable interaction with the respective hardware. Some native apps are also designed to interact with the pre-installed software. This ensures the optimal utilization of all resources. In other words: If this is the case, the Native App can, for example, access the RAM and data memory or the GPS system, files, the microphone and the camera of the mobile device.
In addition, native apps can in some way be classified as proprietary software. This is due to the fact that their development was aimed at the use of a specific system. Nevertheless, all registered developers can view their respective standards. In general, there is a development environment (SDK) that ensures interface connectivity (API). It is possible to modify the source code of the native app in this development environment. Depending on which system the Native App is based on, different programming languages can be used. These are for example Java and Kotlin for Android, Swift, and Objective-C for Apple iOS or C, C++ or C# for Windows.
Native Apps: The advantages and disadvantages at a glance
Basically, a list of the advantages and disadvantages of native apps only makes sense if they are compared to other app types such as hybrid apps or web apps. In addition, before programming an app, a developer or development team should consider what the app is intended for and what its goals are. In other words: It is not expedient to evaluate which app technology is the more optimal one, but rather to ask oneself what purpose and which goal the respective app should serve.
Nevertheless, statements can be made about different aspects of native apps. In the following, the installation and use, native functions, performance as well as updates and costs will be examined more closely.
Installation and Use
Both the installation process and the use itself are unproblematic with a native app. When you visit the App Store, you can find a variety of Native Apps. Installation is child’s play with just a click. In terms of usage, native apps – unlike most web apps – offer the advantage that they can be used even if there is no Internet connection, i.e. they work regardless of whether network access is available.
Another positive aspect is the fact that the operating system and the Native App interact optimally with each other. This means that almost all system functions can be controlled without any problems. Native Apps are able to send push messages and have access to various other system-internal functions such as the transmission of data via Bluetooth.
In general, native apps can score with excellent performance. This is due to the very good interaction with the hardware and software of the mobile device. De facto this results in high speed when using a native app. As a result, native apps also ensure high usability for mobile applications.
Costs and updates
Due to the fact that in the course of the development of native apps, different versions usually have to be designed for the different operating systems, this often turns out to be quite complex. This usually results in higher development costs. Costs are also caused by transaction fees, which are usually paid automatically by the platform. In addition, it is important to consider the higher effort involved in creating updates – because these must also be designed for the respective operating system.
Marketing and sales of native apps
In general, native apps are distributed through the respective app stores such as Google Play, Apple App Store and the app platforms of Samsung, Nokia or Amazon. The apps are downloaded by users of the app stores, partly free of charge and partly for a fee.
With regard to marketing and sales, there are different rules to follow and obligations to assume, depending on the App Store. For this reason, it is undoubtedly sensible for app developers to inform themselves about the best practices of the respective providers and to follow them. Both Google and Apple provide app developers with valuable tips and tricks for marketing their apps and optimizing the user experience.
Further advantages at a glance
By optimizing a native app for a specific operating system, they are ideal for compute-intensive or complex apps.
Up to now, the device hardware can be used (almost) exclusively by native apps.
A native app can store any amount of data on the mobile device.
The possibility of direct graphics programming exists.
Simple installation including automatic icon creation on the home screen of the mobile device.
Low costs for distribution and sale of native apps through manufacturers’ app stores as a source of supply.
Easy marketing through automatic inclusion in the top lists of the respective app stores if the native app is successful. Accordingly, it is possible to achieve high download numbers without any problems, but this only works if the native app has already achieved a high degree of recognition and popularity.
These application features speak for the use of the Native App
If an app to be developed is to have a user interface with a complex graphic design or if a close interlocking of the control elements is planned, the use of native apps is suitable.
If it is necessary to use certain hardware components for the app, the decision for a native app also makes sense.
If it is also an application for which compute-intensive operations form the basis, a native app should also be used.
The relevance of native apps for online marketing
If an app itself represents the business model of a company, there is no need to ask about its relevance. If this is not the case, apps can also be used to expand a company’s portfolio. Native apps are undoubtedly a great thing because of the advantages mentioned, but it is important to weigh up which projects and purposes they are really suitable for before developing them. It has already been pointed out that all existing operating systems also require the development of different apps – namely for the respective operating system – for use on mobile end devices. On the one hand, this requires a certain budget and, on the other hand, a high range cannot be achieved without it. At least the respective native app should be available in two versions, i.e. for Android and iOS.
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