For many developers, 2014 may be the year that native applications go the way of the dinosaur. Quite simply, as Microsoft, Google, and Apple continue to vie for control of both the mobile and traditional computing markets, many developers are fed up with having to spend so much time and energy building separate applications, whether for listening to music or reading news, for each operating system. Instead of focusing on building separate applications for Android, iOS, and Windows platforms, many developers are considering a move towards hybrid development.
“Native” is Passé
Just as the last few years have seen web developers move away from the separate development of websites built specifically for mobile and desktop users, so, too, are app developers considering the move to hybridization as a way to cut costs and improve adoption of their software. Like responsive web design, hybridized app development allows a single application to be accessed on PCs, smartphones, and tablet computers, ensuring that, whether it’s the latest version of Angry Birds or a new health app, a dev can build one version of software that works everywhere.
“I think native applications are always going to have their place, but I don’t think that they will retain the same share of the market that they currently have,” says Kim Ikovic, Marketing Manager at Drupal Geeks.
A Matter of Money
Of course, just as the rise of responsive web design did, hybridized app development begs the question of why developers don’t just switch to the most popular platforms completely. Google’s Android, for example, currently controls just south of 80% market share in the mobile world, almost four-times the space that Apple controls. That being the case, why not ignore iOS and Windows and just develop for Android?
Just as web developers would have been crazy to abandon the PC market once it became clear that mobile would eventually render that computing medium obsolete, only in-house app developers at Apple, Google, or Microsoft can afford to cut out the huge potential for profit that the other platforms represent. Hybrid app development, like responsive design before it, is a way for developers to have their cake and eat it.