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Xamarin vs PhoneGap – Which Cross-Platform Solution Works For You?

11 May 2016

The smartphone industry is really fragmented into different devices and OS ecosystems. iOS on iPhone was the first modern smartphone platform after Palm and Blackberry. Adding to iOS, Android and Windows are the other widespread mobile operating systems today. For any successful application, developers are required to build native apps for each mobile operating system. That’s where cross-platform development frameworks are a blessing for developers.


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A survey on cross-platform mobile development shows that it will grow by more than 250% in 2016. Considering this surge, businesses have started using the best cross-platform app development tools like Xamarin and PhoneGap. These tools allow developers to create basic native apps using a single codebase which in turn saves their time, energy and money.


But in order to develop complex mobile applications where multiple iterations and scaling of the app are required, choosing the right platform becomes essential. In such instance, a comparison of PhoneGap versus Xamarin will make it easier for developers to choose the right technology. So, let’s first consider what each platform offers and later move onto the comparison.


Xamarin: Recently acquired by Microsoft, Xamarin cross platform mobile application development solution works on its own IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and uses C# for .Net framework. The application can be created using the APIs and UIs of various other platforms. Xamarin includes Xamarin Form platform to share and convert the user interfaces of different platforms. Also, it lends support for platforms like iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry as well as for Google Glass, Firephone and Android Wear.


PhoneGap: PhoneGap is an open source cross-platform development framework that uses Web APIs. The web application is stored in the native app shell but allows the native shell to work on different platforms. While leveraging PhoneGap mobile application development, apps are written as web pages which makes coding relatively easier. It supports all the major mobile operating systems – iOS, Android, and Windows. The whole app development functionality works on a cloud-based service called ‘Built’ and has the ability to compile the app in any platform with an installed SDK. HTML5, JSP, and CSS can also be used for PhoneGap.


Below is a brief comparison of these frameworks to help you decide the cross-platform technology that will be useful for your upcoming mobile app development:

Xamarin vs PhoneGap Comparison

Comparison Factors Xamarin PhoneGap
Native Performance The performance of Xamarin on iOS, Android, and Windows devices is stable. Although it works slow, it is worth using for older Android devices and iPhone4.
Native User Interface It provides the ability to create the individual user interface for different platforms. The user interface here is general. It does not have native UI for different platforms.
Native Features It supports all native features which can be easily implemented without having to use additional skills or resources. Additional native features are written in native languages like Objective C or Java. So, no need of good programming skills or additional resources.
Data Amount It is possible to display a large amount of data. It is difficult to display a large amount of data in lists.
Launch Time It gives an opportunity to perform high-speed launching. It usually takes a long time to launch the app on a device.

Both these frameworks have different specifications and set of features that are efficient for cross-platform mobile app development. However, you can decide whether you want to choose Xamarin or PhoneGap considering the requirements, scope and available resources for your app development.


Rishabh Software is highly experienced at developing cross-platform mobile applications using multiple technologies like Xamarin, PhoneGap, and Titanium.

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