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Native or hybrid app development

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Native or hybrid app development

When you want to develop an app, one of the first questions is if the app is going to be developed as native or hybrid. As experienced app developers, we would gladly guide you in the right direction when making that choice. Are you going to choose a native or hybrid app? In this article, we are going to explain the difference between native and hybrid app development.

What’s in a name

The meaning of the word ‘’native’’ is related to a specific place. Meaning that it is part of a closed group. A native app is in that case also a ‘’closed group’ or in other words: platform-specific. A native app is developed for one specific platform, for Android or iOS.  

The word ‘’hybrid’’ is probably already recognizable from the ‘’hybrid’’ cars. With hybrids, two techniques are combined. For hybrid cars, the engine uses two technologies to stimulate the engine: electricity and fuel. Does this mean that hybrid apps also make use of multiple techniques? Correct! A hybrid app utilizes techniques that are compatible with both platforms, Android, and also iOS to publish them. 

What is a native app?

Native apps are made for one specific platform so they are developed in one specific computer language. Apps for iOS are developed in Swift or Objective-C, while Android apps are programmed in Java or Kotlin. Because native apps are developed for one specific platform, they operate perfectly and act exactly how the user expects it. So: do you want a native app for iOS and Android? Then the app should be developed twice in two different computer languages. 

The advantages of a native app

  1. Native apps are user-friendly because they are specifically developed for one platform
  2. Native apps have in general a higher performance. They often have direct access to hardware which leads to better performance.
  3. A native app has access to all functionalities of a smartphone. Think about things like the camera, GPS, notifications, Bluetooth, or microphone. 
  4. Native apps have good integration possibilities and exchange data with other apps.
  5. Native apps have to meet the safety regulations of the chosen platform, which makes native apps safer in general compared to hybrid or web apps. 

The disadvantages of a native app

  1. A disadvantage of native apps is that there is one app developed per platform.
  2. Because there has to be development for two operating systems, the starting costs of native apps are higher
  3. You have to know at least two computer languages to maintain the app.

An example of a native app developed by DTT is the VoNo app. VoNo lets its users make memos in the fastest way possible: text memos, audio memos, voice-to-text memos, foto memos, and reminders on the agenda. VoNo focuses entirely on the user-friendliness and speed, the native technology helps to create the best results for the VoNo app. Because of the native technology, we can use the microphone, the camera, and Bluetooth to its full potential. Later on, it will be possible to voice record memo’s with a Smartwatch. When choosing the right technology, it’s important to look further into the future. You want to prevent having to build your app from scratch again because the chosen technique isn’t compatible with your future plans. Curious about other native examples? Check out the native portfolio of DTT.  

What is a hybrid app?

Hybrids are at first glance very similar to native apps. Just like native apps, you can download them in the app stores, the biggest difference however is, hybrid apps aren’t written in the native languages. Hybrids are written in a separate language (via framework), which is understandable for iOS and Android operating systems. 

The advantages of a hybrid app

  1. A hybrid app operates on iOS and Android devices.
  2. There is no need for two separate developed apps, these reduce the development hours and makes it cheaper.
  3. Hybrid frameworks usually support popular computer languages.  This makes the code easily transferable for future development. 

The disadvantages of a hybrid app

  1. With a hybrid app, you are completely dependent on third parties to maintain the hybrid framework, fix bugs, and update for new operating systems. Maybe you are still familiar with the hybrid framework ‘’Phonegap’’. This platform used to be super popular, but now the framework has ‘’ died off’’. This makes clear that when you own a Phonegap project, you can’t develop it further. 
  2. A hybrid app is always months behind a native app. There are regular updates for Android and iOS, including updated hardware, new functions, and modernized design. Google and Apple allow access to the native community for the functions of these new releases. The hybrid community can only change things after the update, which can take months. 
  3. Hybrid platforms usually use old native frameworks to ensure compatibility. It is hard to work with these frameworks and they are less safe because Apple and Google no longer update them. This can result in safety problems
  4. A hybrid app can, depending on the used framework, have limited offline usages
  5. Hybrid apps have a lesser performance than native apps. Under the right circumstances, hybrid can be the best choice. Based on a good discussion and with the right insight, a choice can be made between hybrid and native.

An example of a hybrid app made by DTT is the King Penguin Greenpeace AR game. This hybrid app is developed to create more awareness for the protection of the Southpole sea, the habitat of the penguin. Another example of a hybrid app made by DTT is the Edu Play Book app.  Edu Play Book takes children on an educational adventure and consists of educational mini-games, an educational report, more than 100 audio stories in 10 different languages, and an interactive bedtime story: Sleepy Night. Because of the use of Unity, the app has beautiful and vibrant animations. Curious about other hybrid examples? Look at other hybrid apps made by DTT.

What is the best option for your organization? 

After reading about native- and hybrid apps, you’re probably wondering which one is better? Native or Hybrid? Multiple aspects play a part in that decision and the choice between native or hybrid app development isn’t that simple. It’s a question best answered by an expert. Compare it with taking out a mortgage, when visiting a mortgage expert. DTT is such an expert when talking about (native or hybrid) app development. We are specialized in both and will advise you accordingly.

Are you interested in a native app? Then read this article about the difference between Android and iPhone for app development. Do you want to know more about a Progressive Web App (PWA?) Then read this article about the pros and cons of Progressive Web Apps (PWA). 

Are you curious if a native or hybrid app is the right choice for your organization? Feel free to contact us!

Read more articles by DTT

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Making money with apps? It’s possible. Developing an app can be very lucrative, but you do need a strong concept with the complimentary revenue model. Which revenue model fits the best with your app idea? In this article, we’re going to list all the possibilities. 

Can you make money with apps?

The smartphone’s prominent role in our life keeps increasing. Meanwhile, about half of all Dutch people use their smartphones in bed and are on their phones for more than 2 hours per day, this is more than a month per year (Simyo, 2019). This increase is also visible in the market, the app market is a booming business. The demand for apps keeps growing,  whereby we also see an increase in the demand for mobile solutions. The increase in use and market growth offer potential. 

Selling an app in the app stores

It’s good to know that the app stores (the Apple App Store and the  Google Play Store) always get 30% of the selling price, the remaining 70% is for you. 

Different types of app revenue models

What is the best way to earn money with your app idea? Below, we mention the most popular app revenue models. 

Free apps

Maybe it sounds odd, but free apps are valuable. An app can be a great platform to serve as a promotional tool for services or products. App development is a good investment that enables you to promote your product or service uniquely. This could possibly lead to new revenue that in return covers the money that went into the investment. 

An example of DTT is Koning Pinguïn - Greenpeace AR app. This app was developed to raise extra awareness to protect the Southpole Sea, the habitat of penguins. 

In-app advertisements

Earning money without the user paying for your app, that’s possible with in-app advertisements. This model is used for example with games, they show ads in between levels. This is possible with little banners on the bottom of the screen or with ads that pop-up on the screen for a few seconds. Every time a user watches an ad (views) and clicks on the ad (clicks), the owner of the app gets a small compensation. A banner in general renders fewer views and clicks in comparison to video- or interactive ads. With this revenue model, the user experience is a tradeoff. Besides, ads have an impact on the overall visual design. Middleground would be to combine ads with a premium revenue model. users can download the app for free but they have to buy the premium subscription to remove the ads. 

Paid apps

With paid apps, the user has to pay for the app itself, without payment they are unable to download the app. An obvious revenue model and before even very popular, but it also knows disadvantages. Only 10% of apps these days ask for payment beforehand, and this percentage keeps descending every year (Statista, 2020). Only a part of users are willing to pay before they can download your app: users are more likely to buy your app if they can test it first. Hereby, the popularity of alternative revenue models has grown and apps most of the time go for a more forgiving model that lets users test the app first. 

However, this revenue model is for some apps still successful, how is that possible? When users are already familiar with the brand or platform, this makes them willing to pay to download the app: popular examples are the Procreate app from Apple (€10,99) and the Minecraft app (€6,99). DTT has also had successful experiences with this revenue model, the KNHS Dressuur- en Menproeven app (€5,49) has meanwhile been rated more than 2000 times in the app stores.  

Freemium apps

Where paid apps ask for money to download the app, the freemium models’ principle is ‘’try before you buy’’. Users download the app for free (Free) and then pay for functions they want to unlock (Premium). The freemium revenue model is accessible and doesn’t require an initial payment, this makes downloading the app accommodative, which results in more users. The advantage of a freemium model is its flexibility, you pay when you want to, this can mean an add-free version of the app or for example extra chances to play a level in Candy Crush. The income of this revenue model is variable because users can use your app with this model, without ever making one purchase, but don’t be mistaken! Every download of your app is valuable, downloads give you data, analytics, ratings, and reviews, which results in feedback, insights, and organic growth. With this information, you can improve your revenue model. 

DTT has applied the freemium revenue model to its apps as well, for example, the Doula Bevallingcoach app. The Doula apps offer support when having contractions, all of this for free. Users can unlock different functions such as breath coaching or different types of background music or unlock the complete version in one go for €2,99.

Subscriptions 

Subscriptions are unremovable from our daily lives, almost everybody these days has a Netflix or Spotify subscription. With a subscription, you pay periodically a fixed price. This causes a fixed income source, which results in security and liberty to further develop your app. In the first year, you pay 30% per user, but after the first year, you only pay 15%. This way app developers are stimulated to optimize their apps to keep their users as long as possible. The subscription revenue model is also combinable with the freemium model. 

An example from DTT where we make use of the subscription revenue model is applied to the Edu Play Book app. Children can play free mini-games and listen to stories with the Edu Play Book app. For unlimited access to all stories or games, enthusiasts can pay for a subscription. 

What is the best app revenue model? 

As you have read, there are a lot of ways to make money with apps, but what is the best revenue model? The answer often lies in the middle and is dependent on what strengthens your concept. To decide what revenue model best fits your app, we will define your target group, the marketplace, and determine how profitable it will be. Drawing up a business plan for an app idea is the first step to figuring this out. At DTT we often get called by people with nice app ideas, but often don’t know how to make money out of it or if it’s even profitable. Would you like to know more about the costs of making a solution? Read our article ‘’What does it cost to make an app?’’

Curious about the best way to make money with your app idea? Feel free to contact us.

Are you still doubting about what kind of app or on what platform you want to release your apop? Then read one of our otther articles:

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    [introtext] => When stepping onto the train, when stepping into a waiting room, or during lunch break, one thing is very noticeable: (almost) everyone has a smartphone in their hand. 
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You see them everywhere: smartphones. When stepping onto the train, when stepping into a waiting room, or during lunch break. One thing is very noticeable: (almost) everyone has a smartphone in their hand. 

Android and iOS operating systems own 99% of the market in 2020. This means that organizations that want to develop an app have to choose between these two platforms or create an app that is compatible with both. In this article, we’ll further discuss the consequences and differences between Android and iPhone for app development. 

Differences between iPhone and Android 

There are clear differences between the two big players in the smartphone and app market: 

1. Market share

The clear market leader of the two is Android: the open-source operating system of Google. The power of Android is its affordable entry-level model and its operating system that functions on multiple smartphone models and manufacturers. Manufacturers of smartphones, including for example Samsung and Huawei, don’t have to pay license costs to Google. This is the reason why the Android operating system is on 60% of all smartphones in the Netherlands. The second place goes to iOS, this has to do with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad. Together, Android and iOS own broadly 99% of the smartphone market (Statcounter, 2020)

2. Users
As mentioned above, Android has a bigger market share. However, iOS-users in general have a higher income and educational level. Besides, iPhone-users are more active on their smartphone. 

3. Revenue generation 
iPhone-users spend on average more time on apps and are more willing to spend money on them (New York Post, 2018). Android-users compensate for this with their market share.

 

The consequences for app development 

There are five differences between iPhone and Android when talking about app development: 

  1. The operating system: iPhone makes use of the closed operating system iOS and Android makes use of the open operating system Android. 
  2. The programming language: for iOS native you program in Swift or Objective-C and for Android Native you program in Java or Kotlin.  
  3. User Interface (UI) elements: iOS has stricter regulations compared to Android on what can and cannot be done with the UI. 
  4. Screen size and resolution:  iPhones have three different types of resolutions, while Android devices come with a big scale of screen sizes with a broad scale of screen resolutions. 
  5. Navigation: iPhones in comparison to Android don’t use a ‘’back button’’, whereby users can return to the previous page. 

Difference between the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store

Android-users use the Google Play Store to download apps while iPhone-users use the Apple App Store to download apps. There are many differences between the two app stores and each platform has its pros and cons. The cost for launching an app in the App Store costs $99,- per year while in the Play store you pay a one-time fee of $25,-. Besides, it takes longer to launch an app in the App Store than in the Play Store. The reason for this is that all apps are being checked manually. When the app doesn’t comply with all guidelines, it has to be resent to Apple after processing feedback, which takes time. Apple follows a 48 hour review time when the app is live after acceptance. In the Play Store, you have an answer in 24 hours, usually, this takes 2 to 3 hours. 

Native Android and iPhone apps

A challenge when developing a native app for Android and iOS is to make sure that the app has all the same features on both platforms. Because of the differences between the two platforms, it is important to develop the apps in the specific characteristics of iOS and Android. Apple has established more rules with its iOS platform about what is and isn’t allowed. This makes that certain User Interface (UI) elements are limited in their appearance. For example, the standard keyboard of iOS or the way the time and date is selected. 

The app development for an Android device is the complete opposite. Instead of one specific User Interface and associated functionalities, Android only gives advice and instructions on how UI-elements should look and operate. The disadvantage of the flexibility of Android is that the platform is fragmented by different smartphone models and different types of operating systems. The challenge that comes with developing an app for Android is to make sure that the app appears and functions the same on every device. 

With the 99% rule in mind, it’s logical to choose for a native app on Android and iOS. There are multiple opportunitoes for the development of the Android operating system as well as the iOS operating system.

The advantages of a native Android or iPhone app 

Native app development offers multiple advantages:

1. User-friendliness 
Native apps are specifically developed for one platform which makes them perfectly compatible with the platform itself. When making a native app you can use the user interface elements from Apple and/or Android. This way users will get used to the app quickly. 

2. Strong performance 
Because the app is already downloaded, there is almost no need for it to load which increases its speed. Besides, native apps are programmed for one specific platform with its own programming language. This causes native apps to be very fast.

3. Offline availability 
Because the app is downloaded in the app store beforehand, a lot of data will be available offline as well.

4. Maximized functionalities 
A native app can be used with all features of a smartphone. For example, the camera, GPS, notifications, Bluetooth, or microphone. 

5. Integration possibilities
Native apps offer good integration possibilities with other apps to exchange data. This makes for example that contacts from the users’ phone can be read and external data can be loaded. 

6. Safety
Native apps have to meet the safety regulations of their platform. This makes a native app, in general, safer than a hybrid or web app. 

7. App Store Optimization (ASO)
With App Store Optimization (ASO) you can make sure your app will appear in the spotlights. 

The disadvantages of a native Android or iPhone app

Despite the many advantages, native apps also have some disadvantages:

1. Separate development per platform (iOS and Android) 
The biggest disadvantage of native apps is that the app has to be developed in two separate program languages and development environments. 

2. Costs
Because development for multiple operating systems is necessary, the starting costs of developing a native app are often higher.

3. Dependence on Google Play and App store 
Native apps are dependent on the Google Play Store and the App Store because they have to approve the app before it appears on the platform. Furthermore, updates also have to be approved. 

Android and iOS app development 

Our conclusion is that app development for Android and iOS does not fit the narrative of ‘’one size fits all’’. To develop a successful app on Android and iOS it is important to adapt the design to the characteristics of the operating system. This way, apps will become better eventually and will be usable for a longer period of time. Qualitatively developed apps will give you, the client, the results you desire. 

Best case scenario, you would like to develop an app for Android and iOS to reach the most users. Sadly, this is not always possible, in case of a deficiency of budget or time. In that case, a hybrid app or a PWA (Progressive Web App) could be a solution. Read more about hybrid apps or PWA’s

Do you want to know if a native app is the right choice for your organization? Feel free to contact us, and we will gladly talk with you.

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The possibilities in the current digitalizing world seem limitless. These new possibilities also apply to medical devices, software, and apps. Digital applications vary from simple medical applications to software that is used in hospitals to monitor patient flows, such as the Ziekenhuisbedcheker. Examples of simple medical applications are the BreathBalanz app which helps users control their breathing or the Middin sex education app for obtaining specific information. Other examples of medical aiding applications are the Doula labor coach, JellinekMinnesota, the RIVM Tickbite awareness app, and the EFOX Parkinson’s exercises app

All medical software and applications are categorized under the heading; 'e-health'. The aim of e-health is to improve healthcare, which may concern the quality of healthcare and patient safety, but also the speed of a specific process in healthcare. E-health seems to be very effective in most cases, for this reason, it is rapidly gaining popularity. However, there are also some risks and consequences associated with the use of e-health. For example, 'Immature' technology or faults in the network connection can create obstacles. To limit these risks, good control is important. The control of medical devices is organized in Europe through a CE(‘’Conformité Européen) -certification. A CE-mark is mandatory for all medical devices within Europe.

What is CE-certification 

What is CE-certification? A CE-marking is a mark that indicates that medical devices, among other products, meet the European requirements in the field of safety, health, environmental, and consumer protection. For all medical devices in the European market, CE-certification can be used to check whether they meet the European requirements, which ensures transparency in the e-health market. A medical device containing a CE-marking is a strict requirement from the Health Care and Youth Inspectorate (IGJ), however many users and developers of e-health are not aware of this. What is CE-certification? A CE-certification is a mark, not to be confused with a quality mark. It only guarantees that a product meets the European requirements for safety, health, environmental, and consumer protection. This does not mean that a CE-certified device is by definition a high-quality device, but that it meets the European requirements and therefore is qualified as safe.

The regulations of ‘’Conformité Européen (CE) are described per product group/sector in various European directives and regulations. For medical devices, these are described in the Medical Device Regulation (MDR). For in-vitro diagnostic research, the Medical Devices Regulation for in-vitro diagnostics (IVDR) applies.

CE-certification and the associated guidelines are there to ensure that medical devices are safe. This means that the devices must not be harmful to your health, must function properly, and it should be clear how they should be used. If you as an organization implement or produce medical devices without a CE-marking, there are consequences. These consequences are imposed by the IGJ and range from an instruction or warning to a fine or order for the company to end their production of medical devices. 

Do I need a CE-certification for my app? 

To find out whether a tool or app needs a CE-mark, you can take the following steps. First, it must be determined in which risk classes the medical device or app is located. The MDR distinguishes risk classes I, IIa, IIb, and III. The IVDR makes a distinction in risk classes A, B, C, and D.

MDR:

Low: risk class Middle: risk class IIa and IIb High: risk class III
All medical devices that do not fall in risk class IIa, IIb, and III. Medical devices with the purpose of making decisions based on diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, other than the software that is classified under risk class III. Medical devices with the aim of making decisions with the possible consequence of death or irreversible deterioration of a person's health.

IVDR:

Low: risk class A Middle: risk class B High: risk class C en D
Among other things, aids for collecting and storing human specimens for in-vitro diagnostics (tests with which samples from the human body, such as blood or urine, are examined outside the body). All devices qualified under IVDR that are not classified under risk class A, C, or D. Among other things, tools for the purpose of analyzing blood and detecting therein for the presence of a transferable reagent or blood group determination in order to guarantee the immunological compatibility of the blood intended for transfusions.

After reviewing the above-mentioned schemes, there are three different follow-up steps possible: 

1. Doesn’t fall in any risk class - No further follow-up steps
The app is not a medical device, CE-certification is not required. Nevertheless, you remain responsible and accountable for providing a safe resource.

2. Low-risk class - Certification without  a notified body
The app is a medical device with a low-risk class. You can certify the app yourself and do not have to have it done by a certified body.

3. Middle/high-risk class - Certification through a certified body
The app is in the middle- or high-risk class. A certified body must fully CE-certify the app.

How do I obtain a CE-mark for my software?

By determining the risk class, it has become clear whether a CE-marking applies to your device and how you must obtain it. Certification can be done by yourself or through a notified body. You can assess this yourself if the device is of a low-risk class, but for a medium or high-risk class, this must be done by a notified body. When your device is low-risk, you can draw up a technical file yourself. When the device is medium or high-risk class, the technical file must also be drawn up by a notified body. Based on this file, an EU declaration of conformity can be drawn up (a statement that the medical device meets the applicable requirements). On the basis of this statement, the CE-marking can then be obtained via Farmatec (part of CIBG). Starting May 2021, the ‘EUDAMED’ (European Databank on Medical Devices) will take care of this. After obtaining a CE-marking, the mark must be visibly, legibly, and indelibly affixed to the medical device.

After obtaining a CE-mark, it is mandatory to continuously check your medical device according to the established requirements. You do this by regularly checking the performance, quality, and safety of your device and reporting any incidents. If you want to change something, you have to update the technical file and if you have arranged your  CE-certification through an external party, you must report it to your notified body as well. In case of major changes to the medical device, re-certification is necessary. Major changes could be for example, adjusting the use of the app or expanding the result of the app. 

Your CE-marking for app or software 

Do you have a good idea for a medical app? DTT has extensive experience in developing medical apps. We are happy to help you start the developing process and further develop your medical app. Do you already have a medical app and does your device fall into the middle- or high-risk class, but are you looking for a notified body to have your device certified? DTT is happy to help you! DTT has a wide network of partners who can help you with this. If you would like to have a medical app developed, or if you have any questions about the development of medical app software, please feel free to contact us.

Has this article made you curious to find more information about related topics? Read our other articles: Healthcare apps - 17 examples, and 7 tips for securing an app. Afterward, take a look at our healthcare app portfolio

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Joost Gunterman

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Please contact us via phone or e-mail. We will be happy to help.

Joost Gunterman

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We have received your request for an appointment and will call you back in max 2 business days.

In a hurry? Give us a call +3120 331 5848

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