There are several ways to produce mobile apps. For Android as well as for iOS and Windows devices. They include
The main advantages of native apps are that they have direct access to all the language features and are usually faster than the alternatives. The disadvantages are that these languages are generally reckoned to be difficult to learn and, of course target only one platform..
The main problem with Cordova is what development environment to use. At present the main options, for free environments, at least, are the Command Line Interface (CLI), Android Studio, NetBeans, Visual Studio, Eclipse and PhoneGap Desktop.
Cordova and PhoneGap are essentially the same framework. PhoneGap is the Adobe version of Cordova and both are completely free. However PhoneGap Desktop is a separate application associated with PhoneGap Build which builds the apps in the cloud.
The main feature that makes hybrid apps different from web apps is that they can incorporate native components in the form of plugins. So Android Cordova apps can include Java code, which would not run in a browser.
Overall, the CLI approach is the most reliable although it does need a separate code editor. So it is not an Integrated Development Environment. You have to install the software piece by piece and if necessary set the environmental paths in your computer.
You can then create a new app from the Cordova CLI and debug it by running it in an Android device.
You debug the app by test running it in a browser, an emulator or an attached Android device.
And you can add any plugins that are required to obtain specific native functionality.
Finally you can distribute your app or publish it in the Google Play store or the Amazon App Store.