Freelance Technical Director. 15 years experience delivering web and mobile projects for digital agencies, international brands and startups.
This is a really common and interesting question. I run a team of native and hybrid developers, so it's very close to my heart. It doesn't have a black and white answer, even in 2015, but I'll try and help you move forward.
1. Camera and GPS functionality is now readily available to hybrid apps.
2. ionic (based on Angular and Cordova) is a good choice of framework to work with
3. In general, a hybrid approach is most viable for fairly standard content-driven apps with limited interactivity. If you are dealing with video, large images, endless lists, large data storage or complex interactivity, I would recommend native.
4. Performance issues often only become apparent on lower spec handsets and may be be masked during development by testing solely on new high-end phones.
5. Developers. Going hybrid will not magically solve your developer problems for you. If you have a great hybrid developer and you decide your app is viable, then by all means go ahead. But choosing hybrid simply to achieve faster turnaround is not going work. It's arguably harder to find a good hybrid developer, as they need to understand mobile performance and development on 2 platforms. Furthermore there is nothing inherently faster in the development process, where it saves time and money is in porting an app to a second platform. Since you are at an early stage of product development, I would consider a single platform launch while you finalise your business model, so the perceived advantage of hybrid is reduced even further.
To summarise - first and foremost, find a reliable mobile developer that you feel you can work with well. Provided your app passes points 3 and 4 above, at this early stage of development the technological implications of hybrid vs. native are less important than who you pick to join your team.
I'd be happy to discuss specifics of your app on call in more detail, please get in touch.
Best of luck,
I've been through this with a lot of clients and there is a very simple answer:
Essentially you are always ready. Iterating and validating go hand in hand. You can almost turn this on its head and ask "When should I stop validating and continue iterating?"
Iterating without validation is a risk because you are working in isolation and don't know whether your assumptions are correct. So validation should be built in as part of each and every iteration. That includes pre-MVP, when your startup is still just an idea in your head. In the early days that might mean discussing design drafts over coffee, in the later stages that might mean looking at analytics results and A/B tests.
Think of it as a continuous, ongoing process, a conversation with your target market, rather than a stop/go affair where you disappear into your office for a few weeks and then re-emerge, ready to validate.
Each stage continues until you start to hear the same answers and are not learning anything new. Then it's time to ask new questions and for that you most likely need to move on in your product development cycle.
It would be great to hear more about your product, feel free to get in touch.
Best of luck - Nils