Google announced a new format for Android apps that incorporates all the collated codes and resources of your files but defers signing to Google Play and APK generation.
The app serving framework of Google play known as the Dynamic delivery then leverages your app bundle to produce and deliver enhanced APKs for each client’s device set up. This will help users download the resources and the lines of code they require to run the app.
There’s no point in building, signing and managing several APKs to support multiple gadgets. Also, users now get small and optimized downloads. Thousands of apps today such as Netflix now publish using the Android App bundle. We’ve compiled a list of reasons for you to build your app as an app bundle:
Get Your App Lighter
This is especially important for those apps that have big assets that are not actually needed for running the app (initially). For example, if you are developing a game with high-quality graphics and many different levels, you could use the app bundle to provide the user with those assets that are needed to start with. Several apps have seen a notable reduction in size. Mobile app developers who migrated have witnessed about 20% reduction in app size on average when compared to a universal APK. These savings on size have culminated into about 11 percent higher installs, fewer uninstalls and optimized update rates.
Another issue directly related to APK size is uninstalls. We all love to have the latest device with huge memory space, but the truth is the Android market is not very homogeneous and you can find big segments of users with storage limitations, especially in emerging markets and economies. Users tend to choose bigger apps when tidying up their phone storage since this will create more free storage. If your app is light, you’ve got fewer chances of being the chosen one.
With app bundles you can tailor your app to work exactly as you want in each device since you can have different splits that shape your app to each device’s needs. This should result in a better experience on the user side, which then should translate into higher retention and even more profitability. Of course, these factors are not that as easy to measure as your app’s size, but they are actually as important as that.
One Single APK
Distributing several APKs is a nightmare, everybody knows it. First of all, building each one of them is time-consuming, but if you take into account the QA process for each package, you can be sure you’ll spend quite a long time to get everything ready. It also multiplies the chances of protentional crashes since you’ll have to split your time and attention into different APKs. On top of that, it’ll not be easy to gather and analyze the metrics of your app when being distributed in different APKs. You’ll end up with different data for each one of the packages that you’ve got to add to understand relevant information such as downloads, retention or even crashes.
With app bundles you create only one package, comprised of APK and different splits. This makes the app distribution process much easier. In Catappult compatibility is taken one step forward, and the one single APK motto is even applied to several app stores, since you can distribute your APK in Aptoide, MiStore or Multilaser, among others.
Dynamic Features Are the Future
Parts of your app can be download into the client only when the user actually needs them; literally on-demand. They’ll be present as modules in your project and that’ll contribute to reduce the APK size, therefor improve download speed. You’re basically giving the user what they need without compromising their experience in terms of download and storage. From different languages to complex assets, you can limit the size of your APK to just what’s needed.
It seems everything is perfect about this technology, right? Well, we will, of course, find the usual issues that we encounter with any new development: lack of compatibility (actually, some web-based app stores are not able to distribute app bundles), or Android developers who are not aware of this yet (keep your team well trained!). But we believe, app bundles are here to stay, especially in such a fragmented ecosystem as Android.