Everyone loves mobile apps. Today, businesses think it is imperative to channel their market offerings through mobile apps in order to connect and engage their users. From the user’s perspective, apps mean ease, simplicity and fun. Among many, factors such as functionality, user-friendliness, purpose and benefits decide the fate of a mobile app.
If, as a business owner, you have decided to come up with an app that gets your users hooked on the go, the next question should be if it’s going to be a native app or you want to make it available on multiple platforms. Where a native app is best for targeting a niche market, cross-platform app would be a better go-for option if your business has a large audience to cater to and it’s dispersed between different platforms. Before we get into the debate of pros and cons of cross-platform apps, let’s just discover what they are.
What Are Cross-Platform Apps?
In mobile app development, the term cross-platform app is used for those apps which are compatible with a number of mobile operating systems. Most common operating systems (OS) include Android by Google, iOS by iPhone, Windows by Microsoft and BlackBerry OS by BlackBerry. Where each of these platforms has its own native apps that are only compatible with their operating systems, numerous others are also available that cater to multiple platforms.
Cross-platform app development usually involves a single environment that allows the app to be sent on various native platforms. Owing to their compatibility to different mobile platforms, cross-platform apps are very popular in app development and are often preferred over native apps for a single platform. Coming up for a mobile app (native or cross-platform) depends on a lot of factors including the business philosophy, customer needs, industry trends, costs and benefit analysis and lot more. However, it is often considered that launching a cross-platform mobile app has more pros than cons for businesses. Let’s have a look on some of the advantages of cross-platform mobile apps:
1. An All-in-One Solution
Cross-platform apps present an all-in-one solution for connecting with the users that are spread over different platforms. You don’t have to invest in a native app for each platform; a single app can get the job done. Hence cross-platform apps become a smart choice for businesses that are planning to take their business on mobile.
2. Ease of Development
3. More Coverage
If you have a cross-platform app for you business that means you have better chances of a greater market reach. The number of users using multiple mobile platforms is definitely bigger than that on a single platform. This way, you have a wider scope of marketing your propositions to a large audience than only focusing on niches. If the whole idea of your business is based on exclusivity and niche needs than going for a native app might be the right choice. For that, a solid database of your customers is a prerequisite to the decision of going mobile-ready.
4. Cost Effectiveness
Since cross-platform apps make use of a standard codebase, they need lesser funds for development than those that need a new codebase every time. In addition, a cross-platform app covers different platform at the same time which allows you to cater to the masses instead of generating niche messages. This means saving of time and money which can be pretty much everything in business.
Cross-platforms apps are easier to manage. You can maintain a consistent look and feel on different platforms that will help you give out a coherent message. If the app is going through a change or up-gradation, the development team will induce the changes smoothly in all platforms. Updates available on the app will automatically be synced across all devices and platforms which will eventually minimise costs and efforts on the development team’s part.
However, just like any other proposition, cross-platforms have some drawbacks as well. Platform limitations, integration issues and discrepancies in user experiences are some of the challenges posed with the decision of enabling a cross-platform mobile app. A clear understanding of these is a must to realise business goals, both efficiently and effectively.
Conclusion / Summary
Cross-platform mobile apps are most popular in mobile app development and present a viable solution to businesses intending to go ‘mobile’. Less complex, easy to put together and manage, cross-platform apps prove to be a smart option to tap audiences on multiple platforms.