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8 High Performance Apps You Never Knew Were Hybrid

Khyati SehgalKhyati Sehgal

The ‘hybrid vs native’ debate has been going on for a while but we may finally have a verdict.

Some of the topmost brands have recently ditched native and gone the hybrid way. With the new hybrid frameworks like Ionic, Phonegap etc becoming more mature, one cannot assume that hybrid apps perform worse anymore. In fact, a recent Gartner report says that by next year more developers will be going the hybrid way and by another account, the average end user ratings of hybrid apps are already 12 percent better than native apps.

So where are all the hybrid apps? You use them a lot, probably without even realizing that you’re actually on “the web”. Well, that’s the beauty of it!

Here are 8 very popular hybrid apps that you could never have imagined to be, hybrid:

Amazon Appstore

Amazon App Store

Amazon App Store (Source)

For Ethan Evans, VP of the Amazon Appstore, the most compelling reason to incorporate HTML5 in the appstore was not interoperability, but agility to update the app without requiring an update.

Amazon also uses HTML5 in the Kindle Cloud Reader, Amazon MP3 Store, Kindle for Windows 8, and even the Dictionary Lookup on eInk Kindles.



Evernote (Source)

Evernote is a truly high-performing hybrid mobile app especially popular for its intuitive design as a productivity app. But what makes it legendary is its seamless, multi-device sync capability. The Evernote experience and interactions are so fluid that it is often mistaken as a native app to the untrained eye.


Twitter App

Twitter App (Source)

For the amount of traffic that Twitter sees, it’s extremely surprising (or perhaps not!) that the developers chose to build it as a hybrid. This just goes on to show that performance is no longer an issue with the hybrid apps.

Apple App store

Apple App Store

Apple App Store (Source)

The creator of the ‘native platform’ itself  has made no secret of its love for HTML5. Today, the app store is one of the most cited examples of a hybrid app. It uses native elements for the top search and bottom navigation toolbars. However, app search results are web views that seamlessly reload with every search.


Gmail for Mobile in HTML5

Gmail for Mobile in HTML5 (Source)

Google has long been a pioneer in the HTML5 arena, and it gave more developers good reason to rethink their app strategy. The company’s confident march towards HTML5 has worked great for its users who enjoy enjoy offline access in all its apps among many other things.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy iPad App

Khan Academy iPad App (Source)

When John Resig, creator of jQuery library himself creates an app, you bet it’s on HTML5 and it’s beautiful. Thanks to its creators, Khan Academy got the best of both worlds and went on to become the first mobile learning platform to be hybrid.



Uber (Source)

Yes, Uber is a web app. And a pretty awesome one at that. The mobile app basically runs on which basically provides a webview on its app. This helps the app be sleek and fast to load irrespective of the platform. A direction that makes sense for an app with a simple aim to rapidly connect users with drivers.



Instagram (Source)

Although Facebook has gone back to being a native app, it has let Instagram be a webview app. This is a good example of knowing your target audience and understanding what works best for the product. By going hybrid, Instagram gets the support of HTML5 that supports offline data as well as rich media, such as its signature short videos. It makes sense for a photo-sharing app to work with a technology that lets users access it even when the device is offline, or at the very least, show an error message.

Today native app development could look like more fun as there are ways to write code using tools and features like injection. But that’s not going to be the same going forward. For example, Android has already released the first binding tools to display data with having developers to write only a few configs for screen. With the growing popularity of the hybrid app, developers will need to be familiar with the hybrid environment and at least one native platform.

The tech world’s love for HTML5 is only growing. That should tell the hybrid app critics to take a step back.

Are you currently devising your app development strategy? Do you think creating a hybrid app will answer your concerns? Whether you’re a CXO or an app developer, we would love to hear from you. Join in to the conversation with us at Twitter and let us know what you think.

Khyati is a technology expert at VenturePact, helping businesses find premium software firms to develop their products and scale their teams. If you have any questions about outsourcing your next technology project Khyati is happy to help.

  • Alex

    Thanks for that article. It’s amazing how native’s solutions are branded the same way as luxury products… I’ve build Backseat, a ride sharing app, with a full stack javascript solution.

    There was no way we could have build our solution with 1 dev (backend and apps), and target iOS and Android.

    I particularly love hybrid for there unique capability to push hot code, and faster dev lifecycle. The Appstore explicitly made it “legal” and unique.

    • vipin agrahari

      Hi Alex How much time did it take you to build this app?

      • Alex Girard

        The MVP took about 3.5 months part time

  • Kevin Zhang

    Are they phone gap / Cordova app as well?

    • Pratham Mittal

      Some of them maybe, but I think its mostly custom HTML5

      • Kevin Zhang

        Agreed, they may use some webGL technologies like Famous did, but they did not open source

  • Michal Ursiny

    Sorry, but Uber is not a web-app; it’s totally different expertience in mobile browser, where map is sluggish opposing to native app experience, where everything is fluid

    • emmanuel buah

      Thanks Michal. I think people are going to read this post and believe everything without fact checking. Unless these companies assert these assumption, I have learnt to be skeptical about “popular app x is hybrid” without fact checking sources. I’m not saying they are right or wrong. I’m saying they need to back up their claim with concrete fact checking resources.

      • Saiful Azhar

        The thing is, as a hybrid app developer myself, building high performance production hybrid app, I would want to agree with you. Why? Because we don’t even want you to know that the app we build is hybrid in the first place. It is a compliment if you see the app is as good as native. Cheers.

    • Pratham Mittal

      The browser experience can be very different from a HTML 5 app. Using a web view doesn’t necessarily mean that the app will open a website.

      • Aislan Maia

        Exactly!! Apps hybrids can look exactly like a native app nowadays.

    • poonani

      Thats because they take the web view and wrap it in phone gap to make it feel like a phone app lol IT IS A WEB-APP

    • Saiful Azhar

      Building a hybrid app using webview, you actually can opt to use either javascript based map, as in google map.. or use phone native map, embedded into the web view.. usually, we work with both api, such as providing live search feature through web api, while manipulating the native map.. we have bigger options..

  • Danijel


  • caiotoon

    The link for you “12 percent better” rating source is broken. Can you please point us to the proper one?

  • poonani

    All they did was adapt it using a phonegap plugin for menu.

  • Frank Wang

    This is a very misleading article. Most of claims from that website is definitely incorrect. Uber has 60 iOS developer so far. Instagram is also native, because it supports Touch3D and author is Ryan Nystrom (Check him out), Khan academy is done by the best iOS engineer in the industry (Andy Matuschak). Do some simple Googling, you will find out Twitter and Gmail is done natively as well. I would say they all have mobile site for people who don’t want to download app or some page within the app might be a Web View.

  • Sebastien Sbln

    This article is a fake one ! All of the apps you are talking about are native one man. How can you say bullshit like that?!

    • neopixl

      Agreed. Such misleading articles should be banished from the web. Please give your sources so that everyone can check how wrong your article is.

      • Frank Wang

        agree. this post should be banned. It has its personal propaganda.

    • Natasha Bradford

      Exactly!! Apps hybrids can look exactly like a native app nowadays by @aislanmaia:disqus
      And, he is true

  • Rodrigo BDHiv

    twitter hybrid? i dont think so…

  • Chabane REFES

    Purhaps, it’s coded with hybride and compiled to a native app

    • Natasha Bradford

      It is technical comment.

  • Ashok Kumar

    Evernote is a Hybrid app

  • Natasha Bradford

    Amazing, the one application by Khan Academy is Hybrid.