To put it simply, the key distinction between hybrid and native apps is that hybrid apps are developed to work across multiple platforms, whilst native apps are created for a single operating system. It’s the difference between having a separate build for each smartphone operating system and having an app that works across all platforms.

Native app development relies on a programming language that has been defined by the operating system. Android makes use of Kotlin and Java, while iOS uses the Swift programming language.

Hybrid app development makes use of frameworks, i.e., React Native, Xamarin, Flutter, and others, that would ultimately run inside the smartphone device’s browser engine to render the code base and access native APIs.

An illustration of how Hybrid Apps work

 So how do the two compare 

Native Apps Hybrid Apps
They are language-specific, as defined by the platform (Android/iOS). Not language-specific, a single code base can be deployed on multiple platforms.
The performance of native apps is far much more superior in comparison to hybrid apps. They execute faster and consistently, access to the device’s native features is almost guaranteed. They execute at a relatively slow speed and in some cases, the developers would have to come up with custom wrappers when accessing the device’s native features.
They are relatively expensive to build as each platform (Android/iOS) would require its own code base. This also means that the development time will be slightly longer. They are relatively cheaper to build as one code base can be used for multiple platforms. Development time for hybrid apps will be shorter in comparison to native apps.


At the end of the day, the choice between the two has to be based on the business requirements and expected outcome the mobile app is to have.


Symatech Labs is a Software Development company based in Nairobi, Kenya that specializes in Software Development, Mobile App Development, Web Application Development, Integrations, USSD and Consultancy.