Google, as it stands is making some heavy changes to the Android OS. These changes are meant to take effect in August and here is the catchy part:
Firstly, Android OS will no longer use the popular APK (Android Packages) which we all know. Instead, Google will deploy a new method which is AAB (Android App Bundles).
Google actually claimed that maintaining the APK structure hasn’t helped Android OS scale faster and bigger (this analogy is sick to me though), and therefore the switch in Architecture is needed and that’s why they want to move forward with AAB.
Secondly, for those who are familiar with the Android system very well, I’m pretty sure y’all know something called OBB in the Android file system which in layman’s terms I’d say handles data compression, especially for large apps and games.
This is noticeable when you download a heavy game like Call of Duty or PES mobile. You’d notice that the main file on the play store might be around 150MB, but the additional data needed for the game to work might amount to like 2.5GB or something within that range thereby creating a scenario where the Android phone would need to fetch the compressed data in OBB folder before being able to run the app or game.
So here’s what Google plans on doing with the App Bundles (AAB), the company will create a scenario where a new feature will entirely replace the OBB system in Android and the feature is called Play Asset Delivery.
What this new feature will do is very simple. It will just ensure that downloads for apps and games are faster, better data compression and dynamic delivery strategies, create a scenario where future updates will be smaller in the sense that it won’t download all new assets of an update but only what changed between different versions of the assets.
This is more like saying, if I want to download Call Of Duty, for instance, I can simply go to the Playstore, download the bundle file, and once the download is complete, I can start playing the game instantly without the phone needing to download additional gigabytes of data unlike what we currently have now all cos the system has been tweaked to only download what is needed at every point in time. This for me is a good point as it will sincerely make Android faster.
The point where I have issues is that; every asset is now stored in and downloaded from Google Play rather than some CDN hosting provided by developers on their own.
This means every Android developer out there can no longer decide to host package files on Playstore which is compulsory and then host assets and data on another cloud server like AWS, Azure or something else entirely. This isn’t really good though.
Another thing is that since all features and assets will now be on Playstore only, most folks won’t be able to download apps outside of Playstore anymore.
This means we won’t most likely be able to sideload apps anymore as we all have to go to Playstore to download the apps.
There’s also a bit of disadvantage for Android folks that depend on using apps like Xender and the likes to share/send apps.
This new move will actually or maybe for a while cripple easy app sharing since APKs won’t exist anymore but instead, there will now be something new called AAB which really every Android smartphone will now have to get used to sooner or later.
At this point, it now looks like we need a fresh mobile OS entirely different from Android and iOS cos everything doesn’t look like it will be fun anymore.