Gartner Research

Mobile Applications: Native, Cross-Compiled, Custom Container, Hybrid, or Web

Published: 14 December 2011

ID: G00218680

Analyst(s): Kirk Knoernschild


Organizations are struggling to decide which type of mobile application to deliver to their users. The decision often involves a trade-off between delivering a native experience that is rich and interactive or favoring portability that allows them to deliver a more cost-effective solution that targets multiple platforms. But other factors also influence the decision, such as manageability, discoverability, and maintainability. In this Decision Point, Kirk Knoernschild provides a structured decision framework that guides organizations through this decision.

Table Of Contents

Decision Point

Evaluation Criteria

  • Requirements and Constraints
    • Native Experience
    • Cost of Development
    • Market Drivers


  • Native RMA
    • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of Native RMA
    • Support for Evaluation Criteria
  • Cross-Compiled RMA
    • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of Cross-Compiled RMA
    • Support for Evaluation Criteria
  • Custom Container RMA
    • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of Custom Container RMA
    • Support for Evaluation Criteria
  • Hybrid RMA
    • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of Hybrid RMA
    • Support for Evaluation Criteria
  • MWA
    • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of MWA
    • Support for Evaluation Criteria
    • Comparing the Alternatives

Future Developments

  • Multichannel
  • Evolution of Web Technologies
  • Consolidation

Decision Tool

  • Step 1: Prioritize Your Requirements
    • The Portability and NX Trade-Off
    • Additional Requirements
  • Step 2: Compare Prioritized Criteria With the Capabilities of Each Alternative
    • Mobile App Assessment Scores
    • Individual Score Sheet Explanations
    • Alternative Assessment Tool
    • Gap Analysis
    • Kiviat Worksheets
  • Hypothetical Scenarios
    • Scenario 1: Conference Planner Application
    • Scenario 2: Claim Filing Application
    • Scenario 3: Banking Application

Decision Justification

  • Develop a Native RMA
  • Develop a Cross-Compiled RMA
  • Develop a Custom Container RMA
  • Develop a Hybrid RMA
  • Develop an MWA

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