Google is constantly improving its digital marketplace, the Playstore, to distribute its apps better than app developers.
Google has reportedly announced that it will be moving away from the APK (Android Package) to the AAB (Android App Bundles) format. Google says it aims to address key issues with the packaging format of current APK applications and reduce the size of Android apps by 15%.
Developers have long used the APK (Android Package) format to package codes, assets, and other features contained in apps. However, according to a recent announcement by Google, Android App Developers will have to use Google’s new Android App Bundles (AAB) packaging format for apps released from August 2021.
Why switch from APK to AAB?
The new App-Packaging model aims to reduce the size of Android applications, such as faster downloads and access to apps with less storage for users with less accessible devices.
Launched in 2018 by Google, Google says more than a million Playstore apps, including Adobe, Netflix, Twitter and Duolingo, are already using AAB (Android App Bundles) instead of APK. Apps must be at least 150MB in size in order to distribute apps in this enhanced AAB format.
For apps and games larger than 150MB, developers will need to use the new Play Asset Distribution (PAD) system to provide External Resources to users. Developers currently use OBB to provide additional assets to users who use large apps and games.
However, the PAD (Play Asset Distribution) system uses Dynamic Delivery Strategies (Dynamic Delivery Strategies) with fast data compression to speed up downloads, even when playing a game or running an app.
Although the AAB Packaging format fixes issues with the APK format, the ABB format is only available for apps in the Google Playstore, and developers can also upload it to the Amazon App Store (for Windows 11), Xiaomi Get Apps, and other third-party stores.
As a result, developers switching to AAB will not be able to deliver the same package to other App Stores and Sources. Developers will eliminate the possibility of side-loading apps unless they maintain a separate APK version of their apps.
The new AAB format will become the standard for Playstore apps from August 2021, so developers will have to use the AAB format for new apps. However, existing apps as well as private apps released for managed Google Play users are currently exempt from this requirement.
You can check out Google’s official blog to learn more about Android App Bundles.