By abandoning APK, Google officially introduced AAB as the standard format of Play Store

By abandoning APK, Google officially introduced AAB as the standard format of Play Store

By abandoning APK, Google officially introduced AAB as the standard format of Play Store

News unit Since Android was created, Android applications They are always available in APK format. APK is short for Android Package and means “Android Package”. In 2018, Google unveiled a new format for Android applications called AAB – short for Android App Bundle – at the Google I/O event. Since then, thousands of applications with this format have entered Google Play. But according to the news on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 (8 July 1400) on the official blog of Android developers released, AAB format is going to officially replace APK. In this way, from the beginning of August this year, only applications with AAB format will be allowed to enter Google Play.

According to Google, currently more than 1 million of available applications They are developed in Google Play with bundle format. Among the popular apps and games that are among the first thousand of Google Play, most of them – including Adobe, Gameloft series, Duolingo, redBus, Netflix, Riafy and Twitter – have a bundle format. Now, the question that arises here is, what are the advantages of the AAB format or the bundle, compared to APK, that Google has officially said goodbye to APK with this decisive decision? In response to this question, Google mentions some of the advantages of AAB:

– Smaller volume, faster download

Google Play using bundles, Creates and optimizes APK files for different configurations and languages. In this way, the final size of the AAB file is on average 15% smaller than the APK file and its download will be faster. This can encourage more users to install the app and prevent uninstalls.

– Google Play signature

Google Play signature is required for all AAB format applications. According to Google, this feature prevents the loss of your application’s signature key thanks to the use of the company’s security infrastructure and offers you the option of upgrading to a new signature key (with stronger encryption).

– Play Feature Delivery

More than 10% of Top Google Play applications in bundle format benefit from Play Feature Delivery. This feature allows you to determine which feature modules are offered, when, and to which devices.

– Play Asset Delivery

According to this waiting time feature And the size of the package provided to the user is reduced by removing irrelevant items. For example, if the graphics and processing set of the device does not support some features in advanced games, there is no need to download these items from the user’s side, thus saving internet consumption and valuable internal memory space.

– Future Improvements

Google Play App Signing or Play App Signing will soon launch the fourth version of the APK Signature Scheme for some selected applications, which That is, applications can optionally access the future features of newer devices.

According to some sources, thanks to the bundle format, developers have more control over the distribution of updates, and this can make the process of updating applications faster and more effective. Another interesting feature of the bundle is that an application can be divided into several pieces. For example, imagine a game app where most users don’t even get past the first stage. So what is the need to download all the content of the game application (up to the giant of the last stage!) at the very beginning? Thanks to the Play Asset Delivery feature, the next stages of the game can be downloaded when needed.

It should be noted that, in addition to the positive points said about the AAB format, there are two important – and perhaps challenging – issues surrounding this new format.

Firstly, developers who intend to In addition to Google Play, to present their application in other distribution channels – such as Amazon App Store or Huawei’s App Gallery – they must inevitably output the APK version of their application. Of course, it’s not that difficult for a developer to do this, but it means that if a developer wants their app to be offered only on Google Play, they have that power. In such cases, users will have to extract APK from AAB format by themselves, because files with *.aab extension are not compatible with other app stores.

The second issue is related to the Google Play signature issue. In order to export an AAB app as an APK, developers must provide their app signing key to Google. This puts Google in a position of power. The application signing key is actually what proves that a particular developer has created a particular application. Although it seems unlikely, on paper it is possible for Google to sign an app on behalf of a developer. Also, it is possible for someone to gain access to this key and then sign the application in their name. Having said that, some developers may be reluctant to use the bundle format.

At the end, it should be mentioned that, although from the beginning of August, applications can be registered in Google Play only in bundle format, but this rule is only for new applications and previous applications – which are present in Google Play in APK format. found – they can continue their presence on Google Play with the same format as before.

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