What is a hybrid application?

A software application that combines the elements of both web applications and native apps can be termed a Hybrid application. A hybrid app is essentially a web app but it is given a lightweight native application container to leverage the features of a native application that a web application cannot access. Hybrid applications are built with commonly used frontend languages and technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Hybrid applications are popular because they allow the developers to write the code of a mobile application and still be platform-independent. However, hybrid apps are slightly slower when compared to native and web apps because they add an extra layer between the source code and the target platform. To create a seamless user experience, hybrid apps have specific features and they are:

  • 1

    Integration with the mobile device’s file system

  • 2

    An embedded browser to improve dynamic online content’s access

  • 3

    Integration with web-based services

  • 4

    Function smoothly even if the device isn’t connected

Native application vs. hybrid application

The main difference between a native application and a hybrid one is that native apps are built from the ground up for a specific operating system while hybrid applications support cross-platform compatibility. Other differences can be defined as follows:

Native application Hybrid application
Time and Cost

To develop a native application compatible with multiple platforms like Android and iOS, a large amount of budget is required.

The cost incurred while developing a hybrid application is comparatively very low as they require less development time.

User Experience

Native applications are best used when you wish to provide the best user experience.

Hybrid applications aren’t the best choice when you wish to provide the best user experience.

Languages Used

Swift, Java, and Kotlin are the languages used to develop native applications.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the languages to develop hybrid applications.


Multiple codebases are available in a native application.

The single codebase is available in a hybrid application.


Native applications require installation which gives them more performance and security.

These applications do not require installation.


These are high-maintenance applications.

They require very low maintenance.

Regular Updates

To update a native mobile application, you need to make use of the Play Store or App Store.

On the other hand, these applications ‘updates are fully centralized.

Platform Dependent

Native Applications are very OS specific. They are either developed for iOS or Android.

Hybrid applications are functional on various platforms. It means they can be operated on any OS be it iOS or Android.

Popular companies and their hybrid applications

During the inception of hybrid applications, they were pretty slow. But, with the advancement in web technologies and frameworks, the performance gap has shrunk between a native and a hybrid application. The best examples high performing hybrid applications are:

There is no denying that these applications are gaining popularity with every passing day. It is the best idea for app developers to familiarise themselves with the deployment of hybrid applications while weighing their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Gmail


    Gmail needs no introduction as it is the most popular email client and a well-known app in the world. Gmail is the perfect blend of native and web app features combined into a hybrid application for a seamless user experience. The platforms used to develop Gmail are jQuery, JavaScript, AJAX, and Vue.js for the frontend.

  • Instagram


    The reason why Instagram can store all the data even in the offline mode is that it is hybrid in nature. Instagram’s timeline is a web view, which places it firmly in the hybrid application category. This social media platform is built with React Native.

  • Twitter


    The hybrid applications are truly ruling the world of social media. Twitter is one of the platforms that enjoy heavy traffic day in and day out. To be more specific, Twitter is a progressive web application (PWA) that boasts a frontend stack of Express.js, Node.js, and React Native. It delivers superior performance through progressive loading of UI layers that make sure that the core content of Twitter is even made available to the end-user during poor connections.

  • Uber


    Uber has a track record of loading at the fastest rate which is possible because it is indeed a hybrid application. Uber for its mobile application uses Base- a web React UI framework for the frontend. It runs on m.uber.com to provide a web view on your phone.

Why develop your app using hybrid application development?

The business requirements and user expectations influence the decision to develop mobile applications. However, there is no such thing as one-size fits all solution. Hybrid application development comes with a slew of advantages because of its adaptability across multiple platforms. Hybrid applications have astounded developers with their features like great performance, usability, functionality, and many more like:

  • High-Speed Capability

    High-Speed Capability

    A hybrid application runs smoothly even when used by many users because they do not rely much on the network for communication.

  • Attractive UI/UX Designs

    Attractive UI/UX Designs

    Consistent and smooth user experience and appealing design are the two key features that will attract users to your application. With hybrid application development, users do not experience low-performing issues or loading time issues which makes them more preferable in app stores.

  • Supports Offline Usage

    Supports Offline Usage

    Hybrid applications use the device’s API to keep useful data stored even if the internet connectivity is poor or off. This makes hybrid apps unique and amazes users to use the application offline without experiencing any difficulties.

  • Performance Enhancement

    Performance Enhancement

    Hybrid applications perform equally well when compared to native applications in terms of performance and speed. Even the applications with a larger user base perform better on all the devices, better than progressive and responsive applications.

  • Creative Concepts That Appeal To The Target Audience

    Creative Concepts That Appeal To The Target Audience

    Ordinary web applications aren’t intelligent enough that they can communicate with the built-in environment or device’s operating system. Hybrid applications are intelligent and slick as they combine the built-in environment capabilities with the device’s operating system without adding much burden and effort. This allows the developers to come up with creative concepts to appeal to the target audience.