Since the 6Wunderkinder announced in September that they have rewritting their Android App to go native, there is quiet the buzz in the local mobile dev community as this being a strong case for going native in the first place. While actually it is the opposite.

Let me explain why that is. Looking from it as of now (rumour has it, they are thinking about rewriting the iPhone version, too, and their jobs page gives good reason to believe that), rewriting an existing technology seems expensive both in time and money. So not only a few argue they should have gone that way in the first place: building native apps right from the start saves you from rewriting them later. But that argument is totally missing the point.

When the Wunderkinder started they had only very limited mobile development experience and very small time to get something done. And while certain aspects in native development might make things easier to perform better (once you are experienced enough), technologies like Titanium and PhoneGap allow easy and quick prototyping even for non native developers. In fact it only requires Web-Development-Skills to develop a product like Wunderlist with these frameworks.

And if they had not gotten out those apps that quickly, using big parts of the same code base for the iPhone-Version, they would have been much slower and it would have costed much more money - money young startups don’t have. Instead using these technologies, they have been able to build a first iteration quickly and prove its market value. Which then allowed them to acquire more money from investors to build a native version.

So, yes, overall it costs more in development because you might throw away a big part of what you developed already. But if your product is not useful to the user you can find that out much quicker and cheaper if you build a first prototype with these Frameworks. As you can see, the story of 6Wunderkinder is actually an argument against starting your (startup) product on native…