Flutter vs. Native: The right technology to go for in 2022

Published on Nov 01, 2022

By Georgy Ummachan

Mobile App Development

Flutter Development

Cross-Platform App

The App Ecosystem

Mobile phones are increasingly becoming an essential and indispensable part of our everyday lives. We have become used to doing everything on our mobile phones. Be it keeping alarms, taking notes, staying up to date with news, investing, or shopping, mobile phones are our evergreen companions. For businesses and brands, mobile apps provide a great way to connect directly with customers and users. The app ecosystem is rapidly growing and has been doing so year after year. The mobile app market currently holds immense potential for businesses of all sizes and industries alike. It is not just the large organizations like Amazon, Meta, etc., which can grow through mobile apps. The app market presents equal opportunities for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises. To make the best out of this opportunity, one must have the right app which is both relevant to users as well as technologically sound. However, entering the app market has some development challenges that must be overcome.

The challenges in mobile app development

Mobile apps have immense potential and can unlock new scopes and markets for businesses of all sizes and industries. However, the main challenge for small & medium businesses is that mobile app development is time-consuming, costly, and requires the right expertise. Building separate applications for Android and iOS takes up a lot of development time and budget investment. Most small businesses don't have the strategic capacity to invest nearly a year or more in developing a mobile app. The longer the app development takes, the longer it will take to become profitable. Hence, this time delay can be detrimental to businesses and their objectives. Also, the initial investment required to develop multiple operating system-specific native applications can seem a bit daunting for businesses looking to enter the app market. Google addresses this exact challenge with its innovative SDK, Flutter.

Basic overview of Flutter and Native app development

Native applications, as the name suggests, are applications that are native to a specific operating system. A native app and its codebase will only function on the particular operating system it was designed for. Thus when going for native app development, a developer will have to build two or more applications for Android and iOS, respectively. Popular Native technologies are Swift for iOS development, Kotlin for Android development, React Native, etc.

Flutter is a specialized Software Development Kit built and released by Google in 2018. However, it has been constantly upgraded to fit developer and user needs. Check out our blog on Flutter 3.0 and its features. Flutter has gained immense popularity in recent years and has been used in the development of well-known apps such as Google Pay, Alibaba, ByteDance, eBay, and many more. Flutter is used to create hybrid mobile apps that can run on both android and iOS operating systems using a single codebase. This saves the very precious time & cost needed to develop multiple native apps, as a single Flutter app can run on both Android & iOS.

To know more about Flutter development, visit our detailed blog on how you can enhance your web development with Flutter.

Flutter vs. Native comparison

No technology and framework are objectively better than the other, and each one has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This makes deciding on a technology even tougher, especially for new entrants in the app market. In general, Native applications are considered to be ideal as they provide better native performance and better integrations, can better leverage the power of pperating system & hardware, and provide more scope for customization than hybrid apps. However, developing Native apps might not be so ideal for all businesses, especially new entrants to the app market, for many reasons. Let's explore what these reasons are in detail.

Time to market delivery

Native app development is a time-intensive process that can take up months for the end product to be delivered. This is particularly challenging as business objectives are time bound. Unlike large businesses, small businesses often don't have the capacity to invest in an app that will only be delivered after months or a year, as the longer the development process, the longer it will take for the business to start getting returns from the application. Flutter solves this challenge as it does not require the development of 2 different apps. Instead, a single app with a single codebase can run seamlessly on both Android & iOS, thus enabling a speedy app development process.

Development cost

It is simple logic that the more you build, the more it will cost you. Developing native applications can be very expensive as developing two apps requires hiring dedicated developers with expertise in developing applications for both Android & iOS. Moreover, developing separate OS-specific functionalities and even testing each app differently takes up a lot of the budget. Whereas, Flutter requires a much shorter development time and a smaller development team as compared to Native. This development efficiency that Flutter provides automatically reduces the cost of development as you pay for lesser resources and lesser hours.

Unified app development

Having a unified app development can greatly benefit businesses, especially if you are trying to create a brand image. Consistency is one of the most essential things in branding, and your app should reflect this. This is also important when you want certain functionalities & UI to work the same across all platforms. Flutter’s cross platform app development helps in this through its unified code development. Be it Android or iOS. Your app will work exactly the same across all platforms. This can be a little tricky to be achieved in native apps as one can not always configure different platform apps to behave and perform exactly the same.

Code maintenance & upgrades 

The time and cost investment factor that applies during initial app development stays relevant even during maintenance or upgrading of the app. Maintenance and upgradation of two different codebases in the case of native apps are time-consuming and require more skilled resources, more budget, and a lot more effort. As in the case of Flutter, this process is much simpler and straightforward. Coders only have to take care of a single codebase which will then apply to both platforms. This helps conserve a lot of time, effort, and cost.

Who should use Flutter & why?

Flutter has gained a lot of popularity in a very short span of time owing to its unique advantages, which makes it an ideal technology for new mobile apps. However, Flutter is not a replacement for Native apps. Instead, it has opened up a new segment by providing a solution that helps overcome certain challenges of the app development process. Before we conclude, let's take a quick look at who should use Flutter for app development or what are the reasons for choosing Flutter development.

Reasons to use Flutter.

  • To create an MVP(minimum viable product) with custom features & responsive widgets.
  • If you need to release your product within a short deadline.
  • Build a smooth design with a great user experience.
  • Develop an app with a single codebase back-end and front-end functionalities.
  • For easier app development, maintenance & upgrade.
  • To get the best quality scalable product with less budget and time.
  • To build native apps with modern cloud services.
  • If you wish to build an exceptional cross-platform experience.

To sum up

Flutter is not a complete replacement for Native apps, and there are certain aspects of an app, like performance, integration, etc., which Native apps currently do better than Flutter. But, native app development is a much more complex process, and if it is your first time developing an app, then going native might prove to be a wrong choice. However, Flutter is the perfect choice if you are looking to enter the mobile app market or if you are a small or medium-sized enterprise that will be greatly affected by the various challenges of the mobile app development process. No matter which technology you use, it is absolutely necessary that you have the right team of developers that has the capability to deliver the right product at the right time. If you wish to hire a team of dedicated developers or hire expert flutter developers, then Zignuts is the perfect partner for you. Contact us today to get free guidance on your app project.

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