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What Is a Native App vs. Hybrid App vs. Web App: Exploring the Differences

Mobile apps have become big business, as well as a critical touchpoint between companies and their customers. According to data from Business of Apps, 88 billion apps were downloaded in 2021, along with 55 billion games. These downloads generated $133 billion in revenue for the app industry.

However, not all apps are downloaded to a mobile device. Some apps are accessed via a web browser, and there are hybrid apps that combine features of mobile and web apps.

What Is a Native App?

Apps that are downloaded are called native apps, meaning that they are designed to run on a particular device and operating system. They are written using the software development kit (SDK) and the preferred programming language for the operating system. As a result, native apps are fast and reliable and can take advantage of all the device’s features.

Native apps provide the best user experience but increase development costs for organizations that want to offer the app for multiple devices. Additionally, ongoing maintenance of the app becomes problematic when there are numerous versions.

What Is a Web App?

Web apps are designed to be accessed using a web browser — either a traditional PC browser or one that has been optimized for mobile devices. There are generally written in HTML5 or JavaScript. They often have the same kinds of interactive features as mobile apps, although they can be slower and less intuitive for users. Also, users will need a link to the app because it won’t be available within an app store.

However, web apps are less expensive to develop and maintain than mobile apps, even if they are optimized for various web browsers. If the app does not have complex functionality or require interaction with operating system features, a web app can be the most cost-effective approach.

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What Is a Hybrid App?

Hybrid apps combine aspects of native and web apps. They use a technology called WebView to present HTML content or embed a website within an app. Like web apps, they can be written in HTML5 or JavaScript and accessed via a browser. However, they can also be downloaded from an app store and may use a cross-platform framework such as Ionic to access device-specific capabilities.

Hybrid apps are typically cheaper and easier to develop and maintain than native apps. However, their performance will be limited by the user’s browser, so they will not be as fast as a native app.

Enconnex Solutions for Mobile App Testing (Native, Hybrid, and Web)

Regardless of the development approach, mobile apps will require extensive testing in order to ensure performance and a high-quality user experience. It is most effective to test the app on the device it’s designed for — even if it will be used within a web browser. However, many organizations struggle to set up and manage a testing lab environment.

Enconnex has developed a line of racks and cabinets purpose-built for real device testing at scale to solve this problem. Our real device testing racks and cabinets fit within a standard footprint yet can support up to 400 devices for high-density testing. They feature integrated fans to ensure proper airflow, customizable I/O panels and USB charging/data transfer hubs, and cable management options.

For high-density wireless testing, signal overlap and RF interference can threaten the integrity of tests and slow down testing. That’s why we offer DevShield, our RF/EMI shielded line of cabinets. They are designed to provide up to 90dB of attenuation for frequencies ranging from 1MHz to 40GHz (5G). Both our shielded (DevShield) and non-shielded (DevRack) enclosures can be customized to your exact specifications. Choose your height, connections, shelving, and more.

The Enconnex team has extensive experience providing IT hardware for lab environments. No matter what type of app you choose to develop, Enconnex can assist with your real device testing needs.

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Posted by Alex Zhang on July 20, 2022

Alex has 10+ years of experience working in the data center and material science industries. He currently serves as product manager at Enconnex for our real device testing and RF shielded product lines. Previously, he managed our sheet metal products. He has his MSEE degree from Northwest Polytechnic University and holds numerous professional certifications.

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