Google announces the death of the APK on the Play Store in August 2021, place at the AAB
In a blog post, Google said it is accelerating the transition from APK to AAB. The historical format of Android applications is doomed to disappear in favor of the App Bundle, which is lighter and more secure. In reality, the Mountain View firm wants developers to favor its platform to the detriment of third-party stores.
APK is over soon, at least on the Play Store. Google has been moving away from this historic format for some time now. Android 11, in particular, has made it very difficult for users to install apps that are not from the Play Store. And for good reason: in 2018, the firm presented Android App Bundle (AAB), a new format deemed to be more in line with Google’s quality requirements.
Until now, developers wishing to offer their application on the Play Store still had the choice between the two formats. This will soon no longer be the case, as the editor explains in a blog post. As of August 2021, all new applications posted on the platform must be in AAB format. Those already present on the store are ” for the moment “ exempt from this new policy, although Google seems determined to force developers to make the transition sooner or later.
Why Google wants to replace APK with AAB on the Play store
Even if you don’t realize it, when you download an application from the Google Play Store, it comes to you in a single compressed file with the extension APK (for Android PacKage). The main advantage of the thing, apart from its reduced size, is that the format is open and not limited to the Google Play Store alone. It can be found on alternative stores, which allows the most recent Huawei smartphones to take advantage of the Android software library.
But the APK format is doomed to disappear, replaced by the AAB. To justify this decision, Google advances the argument of efficiency. On average, AAB files are 15% lighter than APK files. This difference allows, among other things, to reduce download time for users. According to the firm, this will lead to “More installs and less uninstalls”. What’s more, this new format enhances application security thanks to the Google Play App Signing process, which limits the risk of malware infection.
Android – how to install or uninstall an APK file
Would Google want to stifle alternative blinds?
Users should therefore gain, but the situation is complicated on the developer side. There are those who have already started their project in APK and who will need to making the transition to AAB along the way. But above all, it adds a programming format for those wishing to offer their application on various devices.
In addition, download shops like Aptoide or APKPure, whose specialty is precisely to offer APKs for free download, will have to review their offer. Unless they make APK coexist with AAB, which may cause some confusion among users. And on the developer side, there is nothing to say that they will continue to submit both formats. With each store imposing different APIs, it is likely that the majority of developers will end up opting for the Play Store, more popular than its competitors, to ensure the success of their work.
Source: Android Developers