The 3 Types of Apps Explained

What Are the Types of Apps?

There are numerous categories of apps on the market: games, social, travel, productivity, utilities, shopping, lifestyle, educational, health and fitness, and many, many others. They have become such a fixture of our daily lives that we rarely think about the mechanics and effort that goes into their creation.

From a developmental perspective, apps can be divided into three types: native, hybrid, and web apps. Building each type involves utilizing different skills and methodologies, and there are pros and cons associated with them. 

At BairesDev, we’re experienced in developing apps of all types. Which one is the right product for your business? Read on to learn about native, hybrid, and web apps and what each kind of product can bring to your organization.

Mobile App Development

Native Apps

Native apps are built for specific operating systems on mobile devices. That means the app can run on Android devices or Apple iOS devices but not both. This is why many businesses hire software developers who specialize in particular operating systems. Native apps can be developed with a wide variety of programming languages, from Java to Python to C++.

There are a number of advantages to native apps. The chief benefit is performance. These apps are faster than hybrid apps, as well as more consistent. Additionally, the user experience (UX) tends to be superior, because they use the device’s user interface (UI). These apps can also access different features that come with the device itself, such as bluetooth and GPS. 

But native apps aren’t without their downsides. One reason why some businesses shy away from building them over hybrid apps is that if they want to reach a wide audience, including both iOS and Android users, they will need to fully duplicate their development and maintenance efforts. 

There are some tools to help streamline these efforts, such as the popular Facebook framework React Native, but the process will still require significantly more time and effort than hybrid development, and you can’t completely repurpose your code. This means that native app development can get very pricey. 

Native apps also require more storage space on user’s devices, particularly when they download developer-released updates.

Hybrid Apps

Instagram and Gmail are 2 extremely popular examples of hybrid apps. These are technically web apps, but they behave and act like native apps. They run within an app-embedded web browser. Unlike native apps, however, hybrid apps can function on multiple platforms and operating systems. 

The main advantage of choosing hybrid apps is that development is streamlined since businesses only need to build one version of the product. This also means that the development process is typically quicker than that of native apps, as well as less costly. Apps can also function offline, and updates are easier to facilitate. 

Hybrid apps can also serve as a minimum viable product (MVP) to demonstrate the app’s capabilities before building a native app. Additionally, they are helpful for users in countries with slow internet connections.

However, there are some major downsides to building hybrid apps. For one, they tend to suffer performance-wise compared with their native counterparts. They’re typically slower and less reliable than native apps. 

Moreover, the app may look and behave differently in terms of UX and appearance from one operating system to the next. Additionally, and depending on the developers’ skill set and experience, they may build an app that functions better on Android over iOS or vice versa, assuming they tend to favor one type of development.

Web Apps

Web apps run in a web browser. They are accessed on a mobile device and don’t require downloading on the part of the user. Commonly, developers use traditional web development languages like HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, and others to create web apps.

As with hybrid apps, a major advantage of web apps is that they don’t require multiple codebases or customization to unique operating systems. Therefore, development time can be fairly quick, and the app won’t be expensive to create. They also behave responsively, adapting to the UI of the specific device on which it is functioning.

Meanwhile, web apps don’t require downloading, so they won’t take up any storage space on their device, both in terms of the app itself and any maintenance updates.

Still, as it happens with the other app types, there are some downsides to web apps. The biggest drawback is that the app solely depends on the web browser to function. That means if the browser’s capabilities are limited, then the app’s will be, too. In addition, browsers often have different capabilities, so the UX can vary across them.

Web apps can’t completely function offline, either. They may have an offline mode, but their capabilities will still be limited. For example, you won’t be able to back up data without an internet connection.

Which One Should You Choose?

So, which type of app should your business develop? Ultimately, it comes down to your priorities and business objectives.

If you want your app to be high-performance and stable, price is no concern, and you have plenty of time at your disposal, then a native app is likely your best option. Plus, if this is your first foray into app production, you may well find that you’ll build a stronger reputation for yourself by delivering a speedy, customized, and stable app. 

However, if you don’t have ample time or a large budget, then a hybrid app or web app may be a better option. A web app usually requires less time to build, while a hybrid app can serve as an MVP — sort of a “dress rehearsal” — in case you want to devote more resources to developing a more complex app later on.


No matter which type of app you’re looking to develop, BairesDev has the experience and talented team to help you do it. Contact us to learn more about our custom app development services.

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