Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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Google sunsets Android APKs for App Bundles as an alternative

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Andy Walker / Android Authority


  • Beginning in August 2021, Google would require all new Android APKs to land on the Play Retailer as App Bundles as an alternative.
  • It will invariably end in smaller file sizes and different boons for the end-user.
  • Nonetheless, it can additionally require app builders to push out APK variations of their apps to different non-Play Retailer channels, as they gained’t help App Bundles.

For so long as Android has been round, Android apps have been launched within the APK format (which stands for Android Package deal). Nonetheless, in 2018, Google launched a brand new format referred to as Android App Bundles, or AAB (with the filename *.aab). Google touted that this new format would end in smaller app file sizes and simpler methods to manage numerous facets of apps. Of the thousands and thousands of apps on the Google Play Retailer, 1000’s of them already use the AAB system.

At this time, Google introduced that the AAB format will now formally change Android APKs. Which means that beginning in August of this yr, all new apps submitted to the Google Play Retailer should come within the AAB format. Apps which are at present APKs can keep that method — no less than for now.

No extra Android APKs: Excellent news or dangerous information?

Ultimately, that is excellent news for the typical client. Android App Bundles might be as much as 15% smaller than Android APKs, for instance. Builders will even have extra management over how they distribute updates to apps, which can possible end in quicker and extra environment friendly app updates.

Nonetheless, there are two important points with AABs. The primary is that builders who need their apps to seem in different distribution channels — such because the Amazon App Retailer or Huawei’s App Gallery — might want to manually export APK variations of their apps. This gained’t require a lot effort on the dev’s half, however it might imply that any developer who wished their app to solely seem on the Play Retailer would have that energy. In these circumstances, finish customers would want to export AABs as Android APKs on their very own, as *.aab information wouldn’t work on different shops.

Associated: An introduction to the Google Play Console for Android Builders

The opposite concern is that builders might want to give Google their app signing key to export an AAB app as an APK. This provides Google fairly a little bit of energy. The app signing key’s principally proof {that a} particular developer created a selected app. Whereas it’s unlikely Google would ever accomplish that, it’s doable that it may signal apps on behalf of a developer. It’s additionally doable that somebody may achieve entry to this key after which signal apps for themselves. As such, some builders aren’t too eager on the App Bundle format.

The underside line, although, is that every one new Android apps on the Google Play Retailer will should be AABs. There’s no method round it. It is a daring new route away from Android APKs, however we’ll want to attend for the mud to settle earlier than we draw any conclusions.

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