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A hybrid mobile app combines the elements of a native app (an application developed for a specific platform like Android or iOS) and a web app (an app that can be accessed on the internet via a browser). It’s built with popular front-end development technologies and languages like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS, providing cross-platform functionality. In other words, developers don’t have to create separate code for Android and iOS. They can write code for a mobile app once, while still accommodating multiple platforms. Once users download a hybrid app from an app store and install it locally, its native shell will connect to their mobile platform’s capabilities through a browser embedded in the app.

Hybrid apps, native apps, web apps, cross-platform apps: what’s the difference?
For more context, we’ll cover how hybrid apps compare to native apps, web apps, and cross-platform apps. But first, let’s define what each term means.

What is a native app?
A native app is designed using code and programming languages native to a particular operating system (Android or iOS), so it’s tailored to that specific platform’s needs. For instance, developers use Objective-C or Swift for native iOS apps and Java or Kotlin for native Android applications.

These apps acquire all potential features and benefits of the operating system and the device, including access to device hardware like GPS, microphone, and camera. This enables native apps to provide enhanced mobile app user experience (UX) and high-level performance.

While most product owners’ big-picture dream is going native, not everyone can afford it. To run a native app on multiple platforms, you need to develop and maintain an app for each platform separately — and doing this often is out of budget for most businesses.

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