Native Vs Cross-Platform: Choosing the right approach for your Android app

Published on:
May 10, 2024

Android apps offer several features to users, from entertainment & banking to weather and communication. Smartphone apps can be developed for a specific smartphone operating system like iOS or Android are developed on cross-platform to target several operating systems. 

Let us examine the pros and cons of native and cross-platform apps. In the words of Sundar Pichai of Google, “Android was created to be customizable & we always welcome the world of innovations”. 

This MarsDevs article will discuss the distinct differentiation between Native and Cross Platform apps. So, let’s get started!

What do native mobile applications mean?

Native Android apps are those that are developed for Android devices. They are developed using Java or Kotlin. Native apps align well with the operating system and offer better interactivity. 

Native app development is considered when your app is launched for a target audience for the first time. The code is developed for a particular platform. This is relevant in 3D games and animations wherein device-specific functionalities such as camera and GPS are added. 

Native app developers harness native-to-the-operating-system programming languages to develop apps. Native apps are developed using the core programming language and APIs by making them fast and responsive. Their UI has a consistent look as they are designed to work with a specific platform. 

This decides the choice of programming language as iOS applications are typically developed in Objective-C or Swift. Native iOS apps use AppCode or Xcode as an IDE. Native Android apps are developed using IntelliJ IDEA or Android Studio. 

Native apps use specific SDKs (software development kits) and IDE (integrated development environment). Native UI elements are used to compile the app. This lends a native feel to the app. Developers can access different platform libraries and SDKs. 

They use the APIs & core programming languages for compilation. Native app development is preferred when security is paramount and sensitive user data is used. Native app development involves bigger development teams. WhatsApp, Pinterest, Spotify, and Google Maps are examples of native mobile applications. 

Advantages of Native Mobile Apps

  • Native mobile apps are optimized for a specific operating system and are more efficient, responsive, and quick. 
  • The UX of native apps is more seamless and smooth. As they inherit the device’s OS interface, the app flow is more natural and pleasing. Native mobile apps offer a more integrated user experience due to the access to all the functionalities and features of the device. 
  • The security of native apps is tighter as they access the built-in security features of the platform. Such apps therefore tend to have fewer bugs. 
  • Native apps offer offline functionality as they can often operate sans Internet connectivity. This is suitable for apps that target people living in remote areas with limited or low data connectivity.
  • Native apps are preferred for banking so that APIs and built-in security features can be leveraged for utmost security. Native apps can access encryption libraries, platform-specific security mechanisms, and native security features to offer stronger security. 
  • Native apps can offer location services, interactive notifications, an
  • d smooth animations. Native Android apps can utilize Android-specific design guidelines and interactions. This can provide users with an intuitive experience.
  • Native apps can use file encryption and fraud detection using specific OS libraries. 
  • Oft-used IDEs for iOS are Visual Studio for Mac, Flutter, AppCode, and Xcode. 
  • Native apps are smaller and can connect to the underlying resources of the mobile smartphone. The app store downloads are faster. 
  • Using SDKs to build Android apps results in stable apps that can be easily updated. 
  • Bugs on cross-platform apps can be fixed universally across all platforms. This offers ease of maintenance.

Disadvantages of native mobile apps

  • Native mobile apps involve using a separate development team for each platform making them more expensive. Android apps will require a team of Java or Kotlin developers while iOS apps need a team of Objective-C or Swift developers.
  • Maintenance of native apps that need frequent updates is tedious and time-consuming. 
  • Often, the code developed for one mobile operating system won’t be tailored for the other operating system. This results in different logic being deployed for multiple mobile operating system versions.
  • The development takes time as separate codes must be developed for different platforms. 
  • The codes cannot be reused as they are developed specifically for a platform. The Code maintenance and enhancement are also time-consuming.

Knowing more about cross-platform mobile applications

Knowing more about cross-platform mobile applications

Cross-platform mobile apps use a single codebase for different operating systems. The use of cross-platform frameworks enables platform-specific SDKs from a unified API. Cross-platform apps have a single code shareable across several mobile operating systems. This facilitates quicker code development. 

The cross-platform code development process is economical & well-suited for start-ups & small businesses. Flutter, Instagram, Airbnb, Skype & React Meta are examples of cross-platform apps. Alaska Airlines, the World Bank & Fox Sports have cross-platform mobile apps.

Advantages of Cross-platform apps

  • Cross-platform apps are quicker to market. 
  • The same code and logic can be applied to the app across several operating systems. 
  • This code reusability feature is one of the biggest advantages of cross-platform app development. The shared codebase also facilitates quick changes that can be easily propagated.
  • UI/UX, security, and other functionalities can be maintained longer. 
  • The development costs of cross-platform apps are lesser. 
  • Cross-platform apps have a wider reach and are suitable for businesses involved in reaching a larger user base or collecting data for prototype or hypothesis testing.
  • App consistency is maintained across operating systems.

Disadvantages of Cross-platform apps

  • A single codebase ensures same app logic is deployed on different platforms. However, cross-platform apps tend to develop performance issues. Their UI is not consistent thereby giving the user a less native feel. 
  • Cross-platform apps cannot access the native features of mobile devices. 
  • Native app developers are more easily available. Not many people are conversant with cross-platform technologies.
  • Cross-platform apps might be fraught with security risks as they use wrappers or bridges to communicate with the particular operating system. Such implementation must be done without compromising any security vulnerability. 
  • Cross-platform mobile apps have a larger digital footprint and aren’t easy to integrate with all platforms. Often, there are delayed updates to new features. 

Final Words

epic win or fail

Android developers can use native programming languages or cross-platform IDEs to build apps. Both have their unique features and glaring drawbacks. The choice of development platform hinges on the budget, development team, app features, and more. 

At MarsDevs, we will analyze your customer sentiment and behavior cues to offer highly tailored experiences. Contact us for support on app building at competitive rates. 


  1. Give some examples of cross-platform development frameworks

Ionic, Flutter, Xamarin, NativeScript, and React Native are some popular cross-platform development platforms.

  1. Where are the areas that native Android apps score over cross-platform apps?

Security, offline functionality, and smooth interactive UI/UX are a few advantages of native apps over cross-platform apps.

  1. What are the disadvantages of cross-platform apps?

Security risks, a larger digital footprint, and the inability to utilize the device functionalities are some disadvantages of cross-platform apps.

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