Google is in the process of making a huge switch that will affect app developers. Apps posted to the store will no longer be in the APK format. In a recent blog post, the company stated that it will be moving over to the Android App Bundle format (AAB).
Only new apps will need to be in the Android App Bundle format
This doesn’t mean that there will be a huge overhaul of the apps currently on the Play Store. Apps that are currently on the Play Store can remain in their current format. This change affects apps that are to be posted in the future. Most developers can breathe a sigh of relief.
There’s still a bit of a gray area, however. developers who are still in the process of developing their apps have a limited amount of time to change the format of their app. Google states that they will bring down the hammer come August. This could be, at the very least, extremely tedious to developers who are well on the way to completing their app in the APK format.
There are some benefits to using AAB format
With a newer format comes some benefits. On the top of the list, Google states that AAB files are 15% smaller than APKs overall. This, of course, leads to faster download speeds. The company added that this will lead to more installs and fewer uninstalls.
Play feature delivery gives you more control over the feature modules that are sent out. You can control which feature modules are delivered to which devices with install time, conditional, and on-demand delivery mode. According to Google, 10% of the top apps that use AAB benefit from Play Feature Delivery.
Google outlines other benefits to using the Android App Bundle format on the blog post. We don’t know yet if these will have any real tangible benefits in practice.
The AAB format has been around for a few years
This may seem sudden, but it’s not quite as “out of the blue” as it may look. Google introduced this format back in 2018. The company states that it’s been a pretty popular format, with over a million apps utilizing it. Companies like Adobe, Duolingo, Gameloft, Netflix, Riafy, redbus, and Twitter have embraced this new format.
We’re not sure if this is a move to help apps run better on Android 12 or on Windows 11. The timing may point to one of those being the reason. If you have any questions, it’d be wise to go and check out the blog post. It may mean the difference between getting your app on the Play Store and running into a roadblock.