On June 29, Google announced that starting in August 2021, Google Play will require new apps to be released using the Android App Bundle, which will replace APK as the standard release format.

Why did Google choose to use Android App Bundle (AAB) instead of the traditional Android application Bundle file format APK? What’s so special about AAB? Dom Elliott, product manager at Google Play, has more to say about this.

Launched in May 2018, the Android App Bundle format has the advantage of making application files smaller and saving storage space. Google says that since the launch of AAB, the developer community has enthusiastically embraced the new release format and has benefited from its simplified release management and advanced distribution capabilities. There are more than a million official apps that use the AAB format, including most of the top 1,000 apps and games on Google Play, such as Adobe, Duolingo, Gameloft, Netflix, RedBus, Riafy and Twitter.

So why the AAB format instead of APK? Google says the goal is to bring the benefits of AAB to more users and promote modern Android distribution techniques that benefit all developers.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of the AAB format and how the new rules will affect Google Play apps.

AAB: Modern Android application distribution technology

The AAB format has the following four advantages:

  • Android App Bundle: Google Play uses App Bundle to generate and optimize APKs for distribution for different device configurations and languages. This approach results in smaller applications (15% smaller on average than a typical APK) and faster downloads, which in turn leads to increased installation and less uninstallation.
  • Play App Signing: Distribution as an App Bundle requires Play App Signing, which uses Google’s security infrastructure to avoid App signing key loss and can be upgraded to a new App signing key with stronger encryption.
  • Play Feature Delivery: More than 10% of the top apps using AAB are using Play Feature Delivery. With it, users can customize which functional modules to deliver to which device, and when. Play Feature Delivery supports three modes of delivery-on-installation, delivery-on-condition and delivery-on-demand.
  • Play Asset Delivery: Dynamic Delivery of large resources reduces user wait times while reducing Delivery costs. Games using Play Asset Delivery can use the texture compression format as a Delivery condition so that users only get the resources appropriate for their device and avoid wasting space or bandwidth.

In addition, Play App Signature will soon be rolling out APK Signature Scheme V4 to suitable applications, giving them access to upcoming performance features on newer devices.

What changes will AAB’s new rules bring from August?

After a month, all new Google Play apps will have to be released using AAB. After years of Android APK popularity, this is not a small shift. So what will be the impact of this rule on Google Play apps?

As shown in the table above, new Google Play apps will use the AAB format instead of APK, but this rule will not affect updates to existing apps. In terms of the install free experience, Google Play will enable install free AAB instead of install free app ZIP.

According to Google, AAB’s requirement only applies to new apps. Existing apps and private apps targeted at specific Google Play users do not currently have to comply with the requirement.

Refer to the link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/9D… https://android-developers.go…