A native application (native app) is an application program that has been developed for use on a particular platform or device.
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Because native apps are written for a specific platform, they can interact with and take advantage of operating system features and other software that is typically installed on that platform. Because a native app is built for a particular device and its operating system, it has the ability to use device-specific hardware and software, meaning that native apps can take advantage of the latest technology available on mobile devices such as a global positioning system (GPS) and camera. This can be construed as an advantage for native apps over Web apps or mobile cloud apps.
The term "native app" is often mentioned in the context of mobile computing because mobile applications have traditionally been written to work on a specific device platform. A native app is installed directly on a mobile device and developers create a separate app version for each mobile device. The native app may be stored on the mobile device out of the box, or it can be downloaded from a public or private app store and installed on the mobile device. Data associated with the native app is also stored on the device, although data can be stored remotely and accessed by the native app. Depending on the nature of the native app, Internet connectivity may not be required.
See also: hybrid application
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