Different Types of Mobile Applications – Native, Hybrid and Web Apps

Every day we use so many Apps (Applications) on our mobile devices for various purposes. Generally we classify these apps into three different categories like Native, Hybrid and Web. Reading this blog content will help you to understand and differentiate these apps.

These days we see the mobile devices mainly running on Android,  iOS or Windows 10. These are known as operating systems or platforms. Native apps are developed to target one specific platform like Android, iOS or Windows. Hybrid apps are developed to target multiple platforms whereas web apps are mobile-optimized web pages that look like an app.

Mobile Application Development

Native apps are built for a specific operating system. A native app developed for iOS operating system won’t work on Android devices and vice-versa. If an app is developed for iOS, it will remain exclusive to that operating system. If at all the app has to support Android version, new app has to be built again for Android operating system. Softwares’ used to develop native apps generally would be Objective-C or Swift for iOS, Java and ADT for Android operating system and .NET(C#) for Windows operating system.

Mobile web apps are the web applications to render/deliver pages on web browsers running in mobile devices. Since these apps target browsers, they work on different mobile operating systems. You can view a mobile web app on Android, iOS or Windows tablets and phone devices. They also work on PC web browsers. Softwares’ used to develop these applications are generally HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery

Hybrid apps are a mixture of both native and mobile web apps. This type of application has cross-platform compatibility but can still access phone’s hardware. Softwares used to develop these apps are generally HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery, Mobile Javascript frameworks, Cordova/PhoneGap etc.

Native Apps

Hybrid Apps

Web Apps

Skills requiredObjective-C, Swift, iOS SDK, Java, ADT, .NET(C#)HTML, CSS, Javascript, Cordova/PhoneGap, Cross platform Mobile Development FrameworksHTML, CSS, Javascript, JS frameworks
DistributeApple iTunes, Google Play store, Windows App store, Amazon App StoreWeb
Development effortMoreMediumLess
PerformanceGoodAverageGood in PC’s and Average in mobile browser
Good forGames or consumer-focused apps where performance, graphics and overall user experience are more importantApps that do not have high performance requirements, but need full device accessApps that do not have high performance requirements, and do not need push notifications or access to device hardware/functionality

Thanks for reading blog.


  • Mallikarjun M K

    Mallikarjun M K works as Technical Leader with Trigent Software. He has 8+ years experience in software development and over the years has developed several Windows/Mobile/Web-based applications.