Top 5 Successful Hybrid App Examples

Marlena Walburg

Choosing the right mobile application development approach – whether to go for the web, native or maybe a hybrid solution – is not a simple matter. Each of the methods offers several possibilities and advantages. Excellent user experience or performance speaks for the native app, cross-platform accessibility, not taking up space on the device, and others are pros of web solutions. What if we combined the best features of the two? That is how we get a hybrid application. This approach is gaining more and more attention and approval. From a business point of view, it is highly cost-effective, developing quickly and reaching recipients. Users also get convenience and other benefits. Many applications that you use daily are hybrids; you probably do not even think about it or do not know about it. So let’s see examples of top hybrid applications. To begin with, however, you should start with an in-depth study of the hybrid’s features. Perhaps it will be your choice for your next project.   

What is a hybrid app?

Hybrid applications are, as the name suggests, a particular combination, a blend of solutions. And it really is – hybrid apps combine native and web features. The core of the hybrid is an application written in web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. However, instead of displaying the application in the user’s browser, it is launched from within the native application and its own built-in browser, which is essentially hidden to the user. This code is then embedded in the native application wrapper using a solution such as Apache Cordova, Ionic’s Capacitor, or another, depending on the technology used, that uses the mobile WebView object. These solutions create a native shell application which is the web view component of the platform where it will load the web application. Thus, it opens the possibility of creating and publishing real native applications sent to any app store, unlike purely web apps.

Many wrappers also have a plug-in system that allows you to go beyond the limitations of the browser and access the capabilities of the user’s mobile device. This fantastic option gives hybrid applications the look and feel of a native application, which is very important to gain audience engagement. These plugins are constantly created by many developers and supported, and the possibilities are constantly growing. Given the speed of development of hybrid applications with their high usability and native-like user experience, this is an innovative business solution. Hybrids are installed on a device just like any other application. 

How do you make a hybrid mobile app?

Assuming you have an idea for an app, know its purpose, what you want to achieve and what the app is supposed to do, there are a few other vital decisions to make. Knowing that you want to develop a hybrid application, you need to choose the technology stack for the job. This type of app is cross-platform to build a solution available for iOS, Android, web or desktop with one codebase. You have some incredible technologies at your disposal. Xamarin, Ionic, React Native and Native Script is popular. Each of them has many advantages and disadvantages. For example, Xamarin has a similar performance to native products but is based on an expensive license. On the other hand, Ionic relies on AngularJS, which is both his salvation and a curse – it gives many possibilities, but developers must be excellent JS specialists. 

Ok, so if you have a chosen technology (which is worth relying on your developers/tech consultants in this process), you also need to address a few other issues. Preparing a solid UX/UI is especially important in the case of a hybrid application. Since you aim for the best user experience imaginable, as close as possible to that on a native application, this part needs to be carefully cared for and refined. Your UX/UI designers will probably be up to the task to create a great, concise but platform-specific experience.

The application architecture is also essential, as it is usually developed in the early stages of application development planning. The functionality of your app will depend on it. As we have already mentioned, hybrid applications are actually web applications enclosed in a native container. Using plugins, you can significantly expand their capabilities, so developers will have to add an appropriate amount of them depending on your requirements and needs. Wrappers also provide a set of user interface components for creating a native interface. Developers write one code that can be used on multiple platforms, making getting your application to market much faster.

What are the best hybrid mobile apps?

Hybrid apps are more common than you think. Many well-known companies, even giants of the market, changed their mobile strategy and switched to a hybrid or built it from scratch at the right moment. Among these apps, by far one of the best is the adored Instagram. The application without which many cannot imagine a day has gained a lot from the hybrid approach. The main advantage of the hybrid that Instagram uses is its ability to load content and read it later offline. The HTML5-based application handles data this way, giving you unlimited access to functions and multimedia with and without internet access. Besides, the app obviously has multiple other features that have won over so many users.

Another hybrid application that has gained recognition is Evernote.

If you don’t know what an app is yet, this is a tool for storing and organizing notes, creating lists and archiving. Evernote is an application available on multiple platforms, including smartphones, and has options to sync across devices. In addition, it has an accessible interface, is efficient and gives the impression of a native app. Among productivity apps, this one is one of the most attractive but more pricey than the competition.

Can hybrid apps work offline? 

First thought – hybrid applications are web-based at their core, so how are they supposed to work offline? However, we do not forget about their native page, which is packed with web functionality. So, can hybrid applications run offline? It is possible because of its native infrastructure. While offline data obviously cannot be updated on the fly, as with the internet connection, users can still load the app and access previously loaded data. There is a lot of talk about the development of offline-first hybrid applications. It is an essential feature of many applications that users are demanding. While you obviously need an internet connection to load data or other functions, more and more can be done offline or with a poor connection.

What is an example of a hybrid app?

Gmail comes first as a great example of a hybrid application. You might not even realize it was an app of this type. Obviously, this is one of the best-known email tools used by millions of users, including business users. It is part of the Google ecosystem and therefore allows various integrations with other Google applications. The company has successfully combined HTML web technology and native elements to make the application more meaningful with hassle-free performance. Google has redefined the user experience by improving its application available for mobile devices. It is distinguished by handling multiple accounts, automatic spam blocking, huge space for storing messages and data, or categorizing incoming messages. 

Is Amazon a hybrid app?

The Amazon App Store is often mentioned among hybrid applications. It is an Android app store from the e-commerce giant. The application is based on HTML5; it works smoothly and quickly. The choice of a hybrid approach was intended to give a solid user experience. The user interface has been refined and engages users. The number of applications is quite large, and they rarely coincide with the applications from the Google App Store. The application is available in over 200 countries.

Is Uber a hybrid app?

It is the most popular taxi booking app that needs virtually no introduction. The Uber app is, similarly to Amazon App Store, a hybrid app. It has an intuitive, simple user interface, simple navigation; it is accessible. Ordering a vehicle in the app is very easy, which was undoubtedly crucial in reaching so many fans. The app uses the user’s location to help drivers pick up the customer’s location easily. In turn, the passenger can follow the vehicle route using Google Maps, find out the vehicle’s details, and pay using the digital wallet, credit, and debit card. The application works great on both iOS and Android. 

Is Facebook a native or hybrid app?

The Facebook app has come quite a long way and has evolved over the years. For some time, the company relied heavily on web technologies, which Mark Zuckerberg commented at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco was Facebook’s biggest mistake. At that time, work was also underway to create a universal (at least in the company’s opinion) technology, i.e. React Native. Initially only for Facebook, React Native conquered the mobile market by being a great cross-platform framework. Using React Native, a web app can share the same logic as mobile apps while maintaining consistency across platforms. So the Facebook social app has been rebuilt into React Native, a framework for building hybrid apps. React components wrap existing native code and interact with native APIs via React’s declarative UI paradigm and JavaScript.

How long does it take to build a hybrid app?

First, there are many factors involved in the development time of such an application. Mostly, the duration will depend on the individual characteristics of the project – the complexity, the number of functions to be implemented, the technological stack, the size of the development team, the number of platforms for which the app is created, integration, the scope of access to the device, distribution method. There can be more of these factors, depending on how dedicated and unique the app is. In the case of a hybrid application, which is also cross-platform, the duration is much lower than native development. The main feature of this is the use of one codebase for development for all selected platforms. So you don’t need separate developers for iOS, Android etc. It means that the hybrid app can be released to the market faster.

What is the future of hybrid app development?

Hybrid applications combine the advantages of websites and native applications. They strive to give the best experience without being a massive app that takes up a lot of space on the device. Besides, their great power is the cross-platform nature that allows the use of one code base for all application versions. Such a combination gives hybrid applications an advantage in terms of speed and development cost. There is a lot of talk about hybrid applications being the future of mobile application development. Their ability to work even with a weak Internet connection and even offline, high responsiveness and speed of operation can give you a market advantage. Of course, this is not a solution for every business. However, many industries are leaning towards hybrid applications. In Fintech, for example, where it is essential to perform with a weak range, hybrids can be a great solution. It can be a plus for currency exchange apps. Social media, which already use a hybrid approach in many cases, are likely to continue to do so. Also, any application requiring real-time responsiveness, such as in on-demand services, will benefit from the hybrid selection. Another market that gains from the benefits of hybrid application is the music industry. Music streaming applications use forward buffering to play music even in the absence of the internet. 

As you can see, there are many use cases, and more are constantly making their way to this list. We must bear in mind that the needs are different and are continually expanding. We do not know whether hybrid applications will cover them all. However, with a solid development strategy, subsequent distribution and maintenance, hybrid apps can generate a lot of revenue for your business.

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