Skip to main content

‘App Bundles’ set to make Android apps smaller, more dynamic, and possibly instant

During the I/O 2018 Developer Keynote, Google announced a successor to the APK format that will bring wild new features and improvements to the Android ecosystem.

One big problem with Android apps today is that they’re, well, big. Over the years, Android apps have greatly increased in average size, and conversely, statistics have shown that the likelihood of a user to install an app decreases with its size.

Launching today in Android Studio 3.2 is the ability to do something about it, by creating what’s called an ‘App Bundle’ that separates your app into different components like language, screen DPI and more. When serving an App Bundle to a device, the Play Store will analyze the device and download only the portions of the bundle that are needed, reducing both the download and total installation size. This process of only downloading the minimum required is called ‘Dynamic Delivery.’

This reduction in APK size will be felt across the world, especially in countries where bandwidth is restricted, with some developers finding size reductions over 50%. Excitingly, App Bundles are compatible with 99% of all Android devices.

The excitement doesn’t end there though, as the App Bundles page indicates incredible new possibilities. Once an app has been broken down into a bundle, it becomes possible to add features after installation. Using the Dynamic Delivery system, Google Play can serve up additional capabilities to your app as you need them. This feature is currently in closed beta testing.

Lastly, and still in development, App Bundles will one day enable developers to make any of their existing apps ‘Instant’ without necessarily creating a dedicated ‘Instant Apps’ version. Once an app has been made instant, it can be opened via a link without any installation. How this will look and feel to the average user is yet to be seen.

9to5Google’s Take

Interestingly, we’ve discussed the possibility of similar instant app and dynamic features support being in the works for Google’s in-development Fuchsia OS. Regardless of platform or OS, these changes are really going to take tomorrow’s smartphones into the realm of ‘magic’ and I’m very excited to see that take place.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel



Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

Got a tip or want to chat? Twitter or Email.

Kyle Bradshaw's favorite gear