What is Cross-Platform Mobile Development?

mobile app development

The era of designing mobile apps for a sole operating system is long gone. Today, the mobile market is evenly wedged between iOS and Android-based smartphones. Each takes 48% and 52% of the US consumer market. 

As a result, startups would have to develop separate software native to Android and iOS. Which isn’t possible owing to the large development costs it would involve. Subsequently, cross-platform development emerged as a much-welcome solution.

So, What Is Cross-Platform Development? 

Developers designed cross-platform apps to run on multiple platforms. Unlike native apps, they are simultaneously compatible with numerous operating systems. Windows, Android, or iOS can enjoy the app without OS restrictions. 

Native apps require a code base for Android and another one for iOS. Cross-platform apps can share a single code system and deploy it across different OSs. This means companies can launch apps faster and cut development costs while reaching a wider audience– a convenience not guaranteed with native apps. 

In this article, Emphasoft mobile app development company examines the different types of cross-platform applications. 

1. Hybrid Applications

A hybrid app combines features of native apps and web apps, although to certain extents. Like native apps, it can manipulate device features and hardware, including GPS, phonebook, camera roll, push notifications, calendar, etc. 

Native apps are deployed in a native container that runs a WebView object. This WebView is a browser that stays inside the OS. Thus, enabling web content to display as soon as the app is opened. 

When starting a software company, developers create hybrid apps using languages like CSS, JavaScript, HTML5, etc. 

2. Progressive Web Applications

These are web applications built on websites but provide native app-like experiences. It is created using web frameworks like CSS and JavaScript. It’s also published on web browsers. But unlike traditional web apps, it can be downloaded on Play Store and App store. 

PWAs can work offline. However, it needs an internet connection to store information and manipulate its full functionalities.

3. Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Apps

UWP apps are intra-functional across every device in the Windows ecosystem. Thus, Windows smartphones, PCs, tablets, Xbox One, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices can use these apps. 

4. Cross-Platform RMAD

Rapid Mobile App Development is an automated software development framework that uses low code or no code to make apps functional across multi-platforms. That is, a single RMAD app can work on Android and iOS. 

What Are The Upsides Of Cross-Platform Apps? 

Let’s face it; most software startups run on a meager budget. Sometimes, they’d have to rely on angel investors and crowdfunding to fund their app idea. In such a situation, native apps aren’t ideal. Because it gulps large capital 


Multi-platform applications, rather, use a single codebase. Once you develop the code, it can work on Android, iOS, and Windows platforms. This saves you much-needed cash to spend on more pressing needs  – perhaps app marketing, QA testing, maintenance, etc. 

Limited Talent Pool

Even if you have enough capital, there would be problems with the limited talent pool. A commercial app takes at least 4 developers to build. You’d have to find Swift experts for iOS and Java developers for Android. You’d need up to 8 coders– 4 for each operating system. 

With an increasing shortage of qualified developers – you may not find 8 quality experts to work with. Even if you do, that doubles hiring costs. 

But Cross-Platform mobile app development ensures you only need 4 developers expert at JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. And you’re good to go! 

Maintenance And Upgrades

Imagine you want to incorporate a key feature that would revolutionize how you operate. You must input these features into two separate code bases – android and iOS. That’s another double spending on both servicess. 

But cross-platform development saves you the stress and cost. Once new upgrades are needed, you only have an app to implement such changes. 

User Experience

Although cost-effective, Cross-Platform apps offer a decent user experience. Plus, UX patterns are easier to maintain on a single application than on two different codebases. 

Cross Platform App Development Also Has Its Limitations 

What cross-platform apps have in development, it forgoes in performance. Here are a few downsides of cross-platform mobile app development.

Poor User Interface

PWAs and hybrid apps can access smartphone features to certain extents. It can use the phone’s microphone or GPS but can’t access its advanced graphics. 

Hence, the app layout and design are low-quality compared to native apps. Meaning developers can’t create heavy 3D games, animation, or apps with advanced graphics. 

Update Delay

Cross-platform apps can’t access new operating system updates like native apps. Once iOS or Android gets updated, native apps download them immediately. 

But hybrid apps and PWAs need to adjust their cross-platform framework to the new changes. Update delays may induce a bad user experience. 

Dependency on Browser

Hybrid applications depend on browser speed. In comparison, PWAs demand browser functionalities to run. That is, a web application can’t work on a browser that doesn’t support its functionalities. 

Integration Problems

Even though it is possible, it’s not easy to integrate your cross-platform app with local settings ie. phone settings, push notifications, GPS, etc. 

Slow Coding

Yes, cross-platform apps are easily deployed because it requires a single codebase. But it isn’t as easy to write as people think. 

Developers have to abide by numerous cross-compliance frameworks when building them. It complicates the developer’s job and might turn into sluggish code, becoming a painfully slow application for users. 

You Make The Decisions, Of Course.

Cross-platform mobile app development provides solutions functional across different services. But forgoes key native app features in the process. To determine whether it’s adoptable, you must define your business goals. 

Cross-platform development is suitable when 

  • You don’t need 3D design or advanced user interfaces on your app.
  • You want to develop an MVP to gauge market response, get funding and build a fully-fledged native app afterwards.  
  • Your solution doesn’t require access to all devices or OS features. 
  • You want app solutions as soon as possible to capture the whole market. 
  • You have a limited budget that can’t create a native mobile app software. 

Otherwise, it’s advisable to develop native applications. It gives you more chances to satisfy users. And satisfactory user experience boosts your app retention rates and makes the solution successful long-term. 

Fast Track Your Success

By now, you could have made decisions about whether to adopt cross platform development. But if you haven’t, Emphasoft software development agency can guide you through decision making. It also offer software development for startups. Book your consultations now. 

Cover Photo by Yura Fresh on Unsplash

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