Google Play dumps APKs for the extra Google-controlled “Android App Bundle”

Android’s app file format, the APK (Android PacKage), has been with us for the reason that 2008 launch of Android. It is transportable, simple to create because it’s only a structured .zip file, and broadly supported by a wide range of instruments. Home windows 11 is even going to assist the format as a part of its upcoming Android compatibility. Google, although, does not need APKs to be the way in which to publish an Android app anymore. Google’s Android Developer Weblog recaps how, beginning in August, new apps being uploaded to the Play Retailer might want to use the brand new Android App Bundles (AAB) format to distribute apps. This appears like just the start, and Google says that App Bundles “will exchange the APK as the usual publishing format.”

Android App Bundles had been launched to the Android ecosystem in 2018, and I wrote a giant part about them within the Android 9 overview. The fundamental gross sales pitch is that Android units have loads of totally different {hardware} and language combos that apps should assist, and transport all of that code to each particular person system is a waste of house. Android helps over 150 languages, 4 totally different CPU architectures (ARMv7, ARMv8, x86, and x86_64), and a number of other display decision buckets. It’s normal to pile all of this right into a single APK (although typically they’re cut up up by CPU structure), however doing so means every system will get loads of code and assets which are irrelevant for its particular mixture of CPU, locale, and display dimension. Whereas this waste of cupboard space does not matter a lot on high-end telephones with good Web connections, it may be a giant deal for cheaper, storage-limited units and in locations the place speedy Web is difficult to return by.

Google’s answer is the Android App Bundle, which turns Android app distribution from a monolithic, common APK to a set of “cut up APKs” that may be particularly doled out by the Google Play Retailer for every particular person system. Because the title suggests, these “Cut up APKs” aren’t whole apps. They’re elements of an app, every concentrating on a selected space of change, that mix to type the ultimate app. With App Bundles, in case you have a high-resolution, ARMv8 system with a locale set to English with App Bundles, the Play Retailer will spit out a set of Cut up APKs that helps solely that system kind. In case your pal has a low-resolution, ARM v7 cellphone set for English and Hindi, they’re going to get one other set of APK that helps precisely that. Google Play can generate bespoke APKs for each consumer, giving them solely the code they want and nothing extra. Google says the consequence are apps which are 15 % smaller than a common APK.

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