Google is constantly improving its digital marketplace, the Google Play Store, to help developers distribute their apps in a better way. The company has announced plans to switch from APK to an existing alternative app package format called the Android App Bundle. It aims to solve a major issue with the current APK app package format and reduce the size of Android apps by 15%.
Developers have long used the APK (Android Package) format to package app code, assets, and other elements. However, according to a recent announcement, Android app developers will need to use Google’s Android App Bundle (AAB) package format for new apps after August 2021.
Reasons to switch from APK to AAB
The new app package format aims to reduce the size of Android apps. This speeds up end-user downloads and reduces storage requirements. Introduced by the company in 2018, Google says more than a million apps from the Play Store, such as Adobe, Netflix, Twitter, and Duolingo, are using app bundles instead of APKs.
The new format requires the app size to be less than 150MB to improve distribution. For apps and games larger than 150MB, developers will need to use the new Play Asset Delivery (PAD) system to deliver external resources to their users. Currently, apps and games use OBB to deliver additional assets to users. However, the PAD system uses faster data compression and dynamic delivery strategies to enable faster downloads, even when you’re already playing a game or running an app.
Currently, app bundles solve the problem of APK package format, but there is a big problem for developers. The Android App Bundles format is only available for apps on the Google Play Store, unlike APKs that developers can upload to third-party marketplaces such as the Amazon App Store (also included with Windows 11) and Xiaomi’s Get Apps.
As a result, developers switching to AAB The exact same package cannot be delivered to other app stores And source. This eliminates the possibility of sideloading your app unless the developer maintains another APK version of your app.
The new app package format will be the standard for Play Store apps from August 2021. Therefore, developers need to use the AAB format for new apps. However, existing apps and private apps that are open to managed Google Play users are currently exempt from this requirement.
For more information on the Android App Bundle, see Google’s official blog post. In addition, watch the Google for Games Developer Summit 2021 on July 12th to learn more about Google’s future app development plans.