The front-end part of every hybrid application is purely native. It is a thin native container that can be developed using any of the mobile application programming languages. Mobile developers need to build a different container for different platform. For example, Android supports native apps finished up with apk extension, iOS with ipa extension, and Windows Phone with xap extension. These are the formats of executable files that can be downloaded from app stores of Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
A hybrid mobile application can use almost all the native features of a device. It can use camera, notification, contacts, calendar, offline storage and geo-location. It also supports the swipe, pinch and spread features of a touch-screen display. It can also simulate the look and feel of native application. For graphics, it can use HTML, Canvas and SVC. Depending on the type of a hybrid application, it can also work offline. For example, an online pool game app can also have an offline game practice feature.
Unlike web applications, hybrid applications can be distributed through app stores like Google Play, App Store (iOS), Windows Phone Store, etc. The native container of a hybrid app is published to be downloaded by users.
More and more app inventors or investors are choosing hybrid technologies to build mobile applications. A recent press release of Gartner predicted that by 2016, more than 50 percent of mobile applications will be using hybrid technology. The complete story is available in the press release "Gartner Says by 2016, More Than 50 Percent of Mobile Apps Deployed Will be Hybrid".
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