Do you need a native mobile application?

    In many companies that aim to expand their business to mobile devices, the idea of creating a mobile application arises. Due to a lack of knowledge about alternative solutions, these companies often outsource the development of a native mobile application to an external provider. The recurring problem here is the fact that native applications require the creation of two separate applications for different platforms (e.g., iOS and Android). This results in high costs and a longer development time for the application. However, in practice, it turns out that creating a native mobile application is an overly excessive solution. By using other technologies, such as cross-platform solutions like React Native, much more functionality can be achieved within the same budget or even save up to several tens of percent of the project budget.

    Therefore, in this article, I will try to show you that it is worth considering whether a different solution might be better within the established budget. By doing so, we can implement more functionality that users will appreciate more than the native nature of the application.

    What is a Native Mobile Application, and why is it not always the best solution?

    Native mobile applications are specifically developed for particular platforms, such as iOS or Android, and can only be run on them. In practice, this means that if we want to create a native application that covers more than one ecosystem, we will actually have to develop two separate applications, which then need to be maintained and updated.

    Despite this, a significant number of applications on the market are developed using native technologies. Why is that? Native applications, due to their alignment with a specific platform, have significantly fewer limitations or functional gaps. In cross-platform technologies, some device modules may be unavailable, while in native technologies like Swift or Kotlin, they are readily accessible.

    Applications developed in native technology are generally well-optimized and designed to meet specific user tasks. They usually perform faster than cross-platform applications and take up less space in the device's memory. Although the difference is not significant, it can be a substantial advantage in certain types of applications.

    Why is a native application not always a good solution?

    Due to the vast capabilities of native technology, it may seem that native applications are always the best solution. However, the problem lies in the significantly higher cost of creating them compared to other technologies. If we want our application to be available on both iOS and Android, we will have to create two practically separate applications, which will require more time from the development team.

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    One of the main reasons why a native application is not always the appropriate solution is the frequent mismatch between the technological solution and the actual needs.

    In practice, many mobile application projects, whether in e-commerce, SaaS, social platforms, or others, are not complicated enough to fully exploit the advantages of native technologies. In alternative solutions such as Progressive Web Apps (PWA) or cross-platform technologies, we can create the same functionalities as in native technology. Most of the limitations of other technologies mentioned earlier turn out to be insignificant problems. Concerns about limitations can always be addressed by creating a simple "proof of concept" application with the specific functionality that raises concerns or relying on the developer's experience if they have already worked on similar projects. Creating a good user experience is as simple as in native technologies, and often users are not even aware that they are using a different technology than native.

    Cross-platform applications are often faster and less expensive solutions than native applications. However, when deciding to create a mobile application, it is essential to be aware of the differences between these solutions. You can read more about the differences between native and cross-platform technologies on our blog.

    When is it worth creating applications in native technology?

    Native applications are a good solution when we want to achieve the best possible performance on a specific device. Due to their smaller

    size, access to all device modules, and better optimization and performance compared to other solutions, native technologies excel in applications that need to maximize the device's capabilities.

    Examples of mobile applications where native technologies are worth considering include:

    • Healthcare applications: In healthcare applications, functionalities often need to be optimized to the highest possible degree, so even slight differences in application speed can be crucial. An additional advantage of using native technology in such applications is easier integration with life-monitoring smartwatches or external devices using Bluetooth, such as blood pressure monitors.

    • Augmented Reality (AR) applications: These applications require a significant amount of computational power from smartphones and perform much better when developed using native technologies. This is partially due to the native APIs available to developers in Swift or Kotlin.

    OIP.jpg Image from

    • Mobile games: In this case, the situation is very similar to AR applications. Slow performance or frequent game freezes are the most common sources of frustration for gamers. Mobile games often require a large amount of device resources, and optimizing their performance is critical from a business perspective.

    What are cross-platform applications, and when can they be the right solution?

    Cross-platform applications are mobile applications that, like native applications, can run on multiple platforms, such as Android and iOS. The main characteristic of cross-platform technology is that the source code of our application works on multiple platforms with minimal code changes between different systems. This means that creating an application requires only one development team specializing in a specific technology, such as React Native or Flutter.

    In practice, cross-platform technologies significantly reduce development costs and allow for the addition of more functionality to the application within the same budget.

    The most important features of cross-platform solutions are:

    • Short time-to-market: Due to the use of cross-platform frameworks, applications can be developed much faster than with native technologies.

    • Lower costs: While native technologies require the creation of two separate applications, cross-platform solutions require significantly smaller code changes for each system. Creating the same application natively either takes more time or more money, as separate development teams are typically needed for each platform. This problem does not exist in cross-platform solutions.

    • Consistency in interface navigation across platforms: Due to system differences, User Experience (UX) may vary when using an application. In native technology, this often requires additional hours of work from a designer. Cross-platform frameworks serve as a standardizing solution for UI elements. However, this does not mean that this problem is completely absent. System differences between iOS and Android mean that UX/UI designers need to consider certain limitations and "rules" specific to each system.

    When can cross-platform technology be a good solution?

    In most projects, a cross-platform approach is more than sufficient. In the mobile application market, many applications could easily be developed using cross-platform technologies such as React Native. The cross-platform approach works exceptionally well for startups and young companies with limited budgets and time constraints.

    What is a PWA?

    Progressive Web Applications (PWA) may look like regular mobile applications to the average user. PWAs can, for example, work in offline mode, send push notifications, or utilize various phone features such as Bluetooth or GPS.

    A significant advantage of PWA is the ability to customize the user interface (UI) and create a user experience (UX) that gives the impression of using a dedicated mobile or desktop application (PWA is not limited to mobile devices only).

    Installing a PWA is straightforward - just click on an interactive pop-up button and add the application to the home screen of your phone. PWAs can be installed without using

    the App Store or Google Play Store, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.

    warsawplayerspopup.png Example of a PWA pop-up in one of our applications for Warsaw Players

    When should you consider creating a PWA?

    Similar to the cross-platform approach, PWAs are perfect for companies wanting to convert an existing web application to a mobile device at a low cost. A PWA can be an ideal solution if you need a fully responsive, universal application for customer communication. PWAs offer significant capabilities and notable limitations, which you can read more about in our other article.


    The basic aspect to discuss before starting work on a mobile application is the list of required functionalities. Creating such a list will greatly facilitate the choice of a technological solution to use for application development. If the application you want to create does not have complex functionalities requiring specific integrations, developing a native application without other specific reasons will only unnecessarily increase the project's costs.

    A comparison of PWAs, cross-platform technologies, and native technologies can be presented as follows:


    • Looks like a mobile application.
    • Utilizes the codebase of an existing web application.
    • Does not require verification and compliance with App Store and Google Play Store requirements.
    • Low development costs by using a single source code.
    • Works offline.
    • Has low hardware requirements.


    • By using frameworks like React Native, a single codebase can run on both systems.
    • Lower development costs compared to native applications, but higher than creating PWAs.
    • Maintaining consistency in UX/UI is much simpler and cheaper than in native technologies.
    • Native dedicated applications offer better performance and allow for more complex functionalities compared to PWAs.

    Native mobile application:

    • No limitations on functionality development.
    • Native applications are usually faster and easier to optimize than other solutions.
    • Allows full utilization of device capabilities, which is a key argument in applications utilizing AR.

    If you are still unsure about which solution is right for you, we would be happy to assist you in making the decision. We start every mobile application project by assessing the possibilities of each technology and determining which solution will be best for you. Contact us for further assistance.

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