In May 2018, search engine giant Google had launched the new Android App Bundle (AAB) format. Since Android App Bundle made its debut in 2018, more than 1000 apps including big names like Duolingo, Adobe, Netflix, Twitter, and Gameloft have been using it.
Now, the firm wants to get rid of the Android Package file format and replace it with Android App Bundles. Android Package file format had been introduced in 2008 and since then all Android apps accessible on the Google Play Store or other third-party app stores used to be available in this file format. But, according to a statement that came from Google, it’s clear that beginning in August 2021, new apps will be required to be published with the Android App Bundle instead of the Android Package. In short, starting from August 2021, Android App Bundle (AAB) will replace Android Package (APK) as the official publication format for new apps. “existing apps are currently exempt,” said Google while confirming that the AAB standard only applies to new Android apps.
Followings are some advantages of Google’s decision to replace APK by AAB:
AABs are 15% quicker to download, as they are 15% smaller than APKs on General. Play Feature Delivery, which is currently being used by over 10% of the top AAB applications, will be available to AABs. With install-time and on-demand delivery modes, Play Feature Delivery allows developers to specify which feature modules are sent to which devices and when. AABs need Play App Signing, which uses Google‘s secure infrastructure to safeguard app signing keys from loss and provides the option of updating to a new, cryptographically stronger app signing key. As claimed by Google, with AAB file format, games that use Play Asset Delivery may leverage texture compression format targeting to ensure that consumers only receive assets that are appropriate for their devices, with no wasted space or traffic.
After having these wonderful features one may easily conclude that Android App Bundles are fantastic. They minimize data use and install size without requiring the user to take any action. However, after all these several developers, technological experts, and security researchers have expressed their concerns and said that the AAB is more about Google and less about users.