Native mobile apps are those that are downloaded to your mobile phones and are used from there. They are generally coded in a specific programming language such as Java for Androids and Objective C for iOS. They are known to provide greater performance and a high degree of reliability. They can be developed to make use of the phone's various features such as camera, GPS and address book. However they are generally expensive to develop as they are tied to a single technology and the developers need to re-code for other platforms.
Although there is quite a buzz about hybrid and web applications for mobile devices, native apps are still the ones that provide customers with the greatest user experiences. Mobile users expect a lot more from their mobile phones than plain calling and texting. This is exactly where native mobile application development comes into picture. If user experience is of top priority, this is exactly what you need.
If performance of the business application is a criteria, this is the way to go. Web apps have various other dependencies such as the speed of the internet connection or data speeds of the mobile carriers.
These apps go through the app store screening and are hence built with careful coding. They are tested a number of times before they are uploaded.Thus they are generally bug free and provide users with the stability to work with rather than buggy ones that crash!
Use of the phone's features
Native apps are more powerful as they can make use of the phone's features such as camera, GPS and address book. They can also be built to run in offline mode and sync once the use is connected. Web applications need you to be online for them to operate.
The tradeoff here is that the developers need to create separate codes if the app needs to be supported on various platforms.
This would definitely mean a significant development cost and significant time to market.
Web applications however are known for their cost savings. These applications however do not have the luxury of using the smartphone features and the entire experience they provide is a little inferior in comparison. The programming language used is common and hence the development costs are also low. The user will also need a reliable internet connection to be able to use these applications effectively.
They are preferred by businesses because they are always present on the customer's phone and a user does not have to remember a web address to access them.
Native apps have definitely given mobile application development a new meaning and more and more businesses are adopting them for their businesses.