One of the most important decisions a company must make when it comes to developing a mobile app is what approach they want the developers to take when building it.

Why is this important?

Because the approach selected plays a huge role in how users will ultimately experience the app.

Currently, companies must decide between two popular developmental approaches:

  • Native
  • React Native

A Native Application is basically an application that is developed for a specific platform. 

Currently, there are two mobile platforms that stand out from the crowd and are more popular than other platforms. Those two platforms are Android and iOS. 

If a company wants to develop a Native App for Android it would develop it in the Android studio with Java and Kotlin as the languages. 

If a company wants to develop a Native App for iOS, the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) would be Xcode and the language could be both Objective-C and Swift.

On the other hand, React Native is open source framework from Facebook that works with both Android and iOS. 

React Native brings concepts from web development into mobile development. With React Native, the same code base can be used for both Android and iOS, and it even transforms the graphical elements to match the platform. React native apps are developed in JavaScript.

Let’s now take a closer look at both approaches so you can make an informed development decision.  

React Native

Facebook released React Native in 2015 as a solution to the time-consuming problem of having to create separate apps for Android and iOS.

This solution relies on the JavaScript framework to create a dynamic and powerful user interface. More specifically, it’s based on React, Facebook’s JavaScript library for building user interfaces. In this case, however, the library is being used to target mobile platforms instead of web browsers.

So to put it another way, React Native allows developers to write mobile applications that look and feel “native” while using a JavaScript library that they are already familiar with.

And since most of the code that is written can be shared between platforms, React Native makes it easy to simultaneously develop for both Android and iOS.

Not only does React Native currently support both iOS and Android, it also has the potential to expand to new platforms in the future as well.

Native Apps

A Native App is a smartphone application that has been specifically coded to work on a specific platform, such as Android or iOS. For example, an app would be created in a specific programming language, such as Objective C for iOS or Java for Android.

Native apps are known for delivering fast performance along with a high degree of reliability.

These apps can also provide optimized performance and take advantage of the latest technology, such as a GPS, compared to web apps or mobile cloud apps developed that are required to be generic because they are being used across multiple systems.

Now that we understand the two approaches better, let’s look at some sample apps that were created using a particular approach.

React Native Apps

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This was the very first cross-platform application created with React Native. The technology allowed the development team to make the most of code sharing across iOS and Android.


React Native played a big role in the upgrade of Instagram’s mobile application. The whole transition process was smooth and free of serious issues. React Native also allowed engineers to save their efforts due to significant code sharing (85-99% depending on products).

Native Apps

Google Drive Suite says this about Google Drive – it is a cloud storage solution available on Android where all new users get 15GB for free permanently upon signing up. You can, of course, buy more if needed. What makes Google Drive special are the suite of Android apps that are attached to it. They include Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Photos, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Keep. Between the office apps, the Photos app (which allows unlimited photo and video backup), and Keep for note taking, you have apps for practically anything you need to do in terms of productivity. Some of the features of these apps include live collaboration, deep sharing features, and compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. Microsoft Office has a similar setup with OneDrive and Office. However, Google’s solution is easier to use, according to AndroidAuthority.

Google Maps

Android says Google Maps virtually owns the navigation apps scene and it remains one of the best Android apps ever. It gets frequent, almost weekly updates that seem to only add to its incredibly generous list of existing features. Aside from the very basics, Google Maps gives users access to places of interest, traffic data, directions to things like rest stops or gas stations, and they even let users have offline maps now (albeit temporarily). 

The bottom line is the choice between a native app and a React Native App is both a difficult one and an important one for companies.

There are many things that you must consider including cost, time, user experience and more. When you properly weigh these factors then the right decision will become clear to you.

Here are some things to keep in mind

React Native is a good solution for anyone who wants to develop a not too complicated app for both platforms with a smaller budget and/or with a team that has a lot of web or React experience.

If you have access to an experienced developer, particularly when it comes to iOS, then a Native App build will provide your users with a better experience.

If you decide on a React Native build then you must also be aware of the rapidly changing and developing React Native environment.

You should schedule time to make React Native updates toward the end of your build to ensure you won’t be left behind by updates and advances. 

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