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Differences Between Native, Hybrid And HTML5 Apps

Natasha Singh | June 4, 2020


With Blue Label Labs’ extensive experience developing apps, we can assist with determining which app works best for you and your needs. We have developed hundreds of apps in over a decade of operation and have experience dealing with the different app types. We understand the capabilities of each app and can help with development.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is about the differences between Native, Hybrid and HTML5 apps. Choosing which type of app – HTML5 vs. Native app vs. Hybrid – to use is an important aspect of the app development process.

Native App

A Native App is written for a specific platform like iOS or Android. Simply put the app is written in the coding language used for development on that platform (Objective-C for iOS;  Java for Android).


  • Best Graphics and User Interface of any type of app
  • The usability is better and allows for full device hardware access


  • The code is less portable across operating systems
  • Usually the most expensive development option

Blue Label Recommendation:

If you plan to start a true, revenue generating app-based business, this is the only viable option. There’s just no question in the comparison of an HTML5 and Native App, that the Native App wins. Fortunately, as this blog will explain below, creating a native app now offers additional benefits not previously available.


Hybrid App

A Hybrid App is a form of web app that is deployed to a native platform like an iPhone or Android phone inside a native shell. This shell is usually little more than a web browser view (to display the HTML5 content) and a few other features that aren’t available inside a typical mobile web browser– eg., push notifications and in-app purchases.


  • Shells improve code portability
  • Allows developers to push app out to multiple platforms quickly


  • Usability is diminished and graphics are subpar

Blue Label Recommendation:

In comparing the differences between Native and Hybrid Apps, this option is only viable for simple, lo-fi apps that are heavy on text and images, but don’t need much functionality or user interface.

HTML5 App:

A HTML5 App is essentially a website with Javascript code written to allow the app to perform dynamically. It works interactively to feel like an app, but is actually running in a web browser. The HTML5 difference is that the coding of the app is similar to that of a website. So, it is confined to what is possible within a mobile web browser.


  • Supports multiple platforms with the same/app codebase
  • Removes the need for the app approval process


  • App will not be discoverable in app stores
  • Will never feel like a true app, will feel like a web browser
  • Limited access to software functionalities of the phone

Blue Label Recommendation:

It is our recommendation that this option is only viable for view-only content where users are not expected to interact in any meaningful way within the app. If you’re choosing between HTML5 vs. Native Apps, opt for Native. 

The Importance of React Native

Choosing the right coding language and framework is key to developing a strong app. In 2020 and when choosing between an HTML5 and Native Apps, React Native is absolutely the best option.

The benefits of React Native are numerous. Essentially, React Native is an open-source framework for app development. It allows developers to create a single native version of a mobile app that can run across multiple platforms. For example, in the past, if you wanted to save time (and money) developing an app for both iOS and Android users, you might have created a hybrid app. This would unfortunately have all the limitations described above.

That no longer needs to be the case. Now you can efficiently create an actual native version of an app for more than one platform. 

Understanding the Argument: Hybrid vs. HTML5 vs. Native Apps

Why does the HTML5 vs. native app or hybrid app debate matter? Quite simply, there are many key differences between a Hybrid, HTML5, and Native app. Primarily, however, because Native Apps are designed for their specific platforms, they deliver a superior user experience. Compared to HTML5, the difference is that they run more quickly and smoothly. And, the Native framework allows the app to more easily leverage a given platform’s features. 

These are all key reasons that in 2020, you should coordinate with React Native app developers if your project requires cross platform development. Read the guide to React development for more information.

Natasha Singh
+ posts

Senior iOS Developer at Blue Label Labs

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