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Home Technology Google is killing Android APK recordsdata: What’s good, what’s not and all...

Google is killing Android APK recordsdata: What’s good, what’s not and all details – Times of India

APK recordsdata or Android PacKage file format has been there since 2008, when Android working system got here into existence. It has been a key file format for all Android apps which are current on Google Play retailer or on different third get together app shops. In reality, you might additionally obtain apps in APK format from web sites and run them on any Android smartphone.
The huge Android ecosystem is backed by APK recordsdata however Google desires to kill it and substitute it with one thing referred to as Android App Bundles (AAB). The search big had talked about AAB in 2018 for the primary time in 2018. Now, Google has introduced that Google Play will begin requiring new apps to be revealed with the Android App Bundle beginning August 2021. For new apps beginning August 2021, AAB will substitute the APK as the usual publishing format.
Google has clarified that the AAB customary solely applies to new Android apps. “Existing apps are currently exempt.” While this may occasionally sound like a reduction to all Android builders for now, it goes with out saying that it is only a matter of time that all Android– outdated and new–will be required to comply with the app bundle requirement.
How is the Android App Bundles customary higher than APK?
Since the time Google launched Android App Bundles in 2018, outstanding app builders have been engaged on it. So, what’s the fundamental distinction between Android App Bundles and APK recordsdata? With Android App Bundles your cellphone will get codes which are supported by your cellphone and will probably be utilized by you. This will result in smaller measurement apps and extra importantly will assist Google get monetary savings on bandwidth.
Given the vary of {hardware} and languages accessible for Android OEMs, app builders want to supply help for every of them. For instance, Android comes with help for over 100 languages, completely different CPU architectures like– ARM v7, ARMv8 together with Intel x86, and completely different display screen resolutions. Now, an app developer must bundle help for this huge vary of combos into one APK app. This means your cellphone incorporates so much of pointless codes from each app that you simply obtain which leads to larger apps and additionally consumes extra cupboard space.
While for many smartphones with good web connection this may occasionally not be an issue, folks utilizing low-finish Android telephones could get a laggy expertise.
With Android App Bundle (AAB), Google will use “split APKs” and Google Play retailer will roll out the precise required APK to your system and will not present something additional. If your system is based mostly on ARMv8 CPU structure, with AAB Google will solely present the bundle for ARM v8 whereas downloading a selected app and not your entire APK file consisting of help for ARMv7, ARMv8 and Intel x86 architectures.
Android App Bundles is extra about Google and much less about you
There’s little doubt that changing the APK format with the AAB customary will give larger management to Google to control Android. AAB is open supply however a non-Google app retailer must have the power to course of apps on the cloud and ship to finish customers accordingly. For Google, this is simple because it has its personal “bundletool” open source app to help in the process but a third-party app store will need put in place its own cloud infrastructure and pay for servers and also deal with app signing. App signing ensures that only the real publisher of the Android app gets to provide updates to the app and not some other random developer. It also ensures that financial data from apps aren’t leaked.
In simple words, instead of developers, it is the app store that will decide which APK files gets downloaded on which phone. More importantly, app stores will also have to host the developer app signing key of every app. Google is doing this through “Play App Signing” where Google will store the app signing key “securely”.
“Play App Signing is required for app bundles, protects your app signing key from loss by using Google’s secure infrastructure and offers the option of upgrading to a new, cryptographically stronger app signing key,” explains Google.
What could go bad?
For Google Play Store, App Bundles may work out fine. But for third-party app stores, it is like giving too much responsibility. With app stores having access to signing key, there’s always a risk of rogue players or the government forcing the app store owner to change a particular app. Google is fighting this concern by offering something called a “code transparency” feature that will let developers check that users are getting what they want to provide. But for non-Google app stores, there’s always this uncertainty.
For Google, it makes a lot of sense. With App Bundles Google is expected to save petabytes of bandwidth every day. But for the end users, they look at a maximum storage saving of 15%. So, instead of a 100MB app, with App Bundles, it will be reduced to 85MB. It may not matter much for the end user but for developers it would mean giving a lot of control to Google.

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