Google has announced its plan to switch away from APKs to its existing alternate app-packaging format called Android App Bundles. It aims to solve major issues with the current APK app packaging format and reduce the size of Android apps by 15%.
Now, for the unaware, developers have been using the APK (short for Android Packages) format to package codes, assets, and other elements of apps for a long time. However, as per a recent announcement, Android app developers will require to use Google’s Android App Bundles (AAB) packaging format for new apps, starting from August 2021.
The new format requires apps to be less than 150MB in size for improved distribution. For apps and games that are more than 150MB in size, developers will have to use the new Play Asset Delivery (PAD) system to deliver external resources to users. Currently, apps and games use OBBs to deliver additional assets to users. However, the PAD system uses faster data compression and dynamic delivery strategies to enable faster downloads, even while already playing a game or running an app.
The new app packaging format will become a standard for Play Store apps from August 2021. So, developers will have to use the AAB format for new apps. However, existing apps, as well as private apps being published to managed Google Play users, are currently exempted from this requirement.