4 Main Types of Mobile Apps With Examples: Which One Is Right For You?

4 min readMar 21, 2024


We bet few people can imagine their daily lives without mobile apps. Did you know that an average person spends over four hours a day on mobile devices, dedicating 88% of that time to apps? And here’s the kicker: that number keeps on rising.

If you want to ride this wave and enter the mobile app development market, you need to understand the main mobile app types and be able to pick the right one for your case. In this post, we’ll guide you through those types, each with its distinct advantages and drawbacks, and provide tips on how to make a foolproof choice.

The main types of mobile apps to consider

Let’s explore the main types of mobile apps with examples so that you can figure out which one is best for your future mobile project.

Native apps

Native apps are tailored specifically for each mobile platform, whether it’s iOS or Android. So, when you download a native app from the App Store or Google Play, you get a customized experience optimized exclusively for your device.

Technologies used in native apps: Objective-C, Swift, Java, Kotlin, etc.

Examples of native apps: Duolingo, Uber, Snapchat

Cross-platform apps

Cross-platform apps can adapt and run on multiple operating systems with a single codebase. This means that developers can write the code only once and deploy the app on both iOS and Android, thus streamlining the development process.

Technologies used in cross-platform apps: Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, etc.

Examples of cross-platform apps: Airbnb, eBay, Skype

Web apps

Web apps run on web browsers and are accessed over the Internet. They offer users a wide range of functionalities, from simple tools to complex services, without the need for installation or downloads.

Technologies used in web apps: HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, etc.

Examples of web apps: Trello, Google Docs, Canva

Hybrid apps

Hybrid apps include elements of native and web applications. While some people use the terms “cross-platform apps” and “hybrid apps” synonymously, it’s not correct as they are different types of apps.

Technologies used in hybrid apps: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flutter, Appy Pie, etc.

Examples of hybrid apps: LinkedIn, Gmail, Evernote

How to choose mobile app types that fit your needs?

We know the decision can feel overwhelming. Here are key factors to rely on when evaluating different types of applications:

Scope and complexity of features

When considering the mobile development approach, it’s essential to think about the features your app needs. For complex mobile apps that require advanced features, spotless stability, and security, native development is a good option. On the other hand, if your app is simpler and doesn’t need as many special features, cross-platform or hybrid apps are the to-go choice.

Target audience and their device preferences

Understanding your target audience is crucial when deciding on types of apps. Think about what devices your users prefer. Do they mainly use smartphones? Or maybe they prefer desktop search? Knowing your audience’s device preferences helps you determine whether to focus on mobile or web apps, or cater to all tastes by creating a hybrid app.

Development deadlines and budget

Imagine your mobile app development process in terms of time and financial considerations. Native apps generally take longer and cost more to develop because they require separate codebases for each platform. If you have a tight deadline or a limited budget, cross-platform, hybrid, and web types of applications can be a good alternative. Opting for one of them is your chance to reach users on multiple platforms without breaking the bank.

Scalability and maintenance

It’s essential to think about the long-term success of your app, ensuring that it stays up-to-date. If you want your app to grow and be easy to update, cross-platform and hybrid mobile app types come in handy. They are easier in post-release support because they use a single codebase. Native apps can be more challenging to maintain over time because you have to update them separately for each platform.

If you find yourself grappling with the decision of which mobile app type best suits your needs, you can always seek guidance from a trusted app development provider like SolveIt. With proven expertise and industry insights, it will be easier for you to navigate the tough choices.

Consequences of choosing the wrong type

We don’t plan to scare you right away, but we still should mention some risks that you can face when making a hasty decision for your tech idea.

Irrational overpayments

Learn more about the consequences of making an irrational choice regarding the type of mobile application with two practical examples of avoiding them here.