Google is abandoning APKs on the Play Store

The openness of the Android platform has always revolved around the APK format. An acronym for Android Application Package, the file format is easily sharable and installable on Android devices. Unfortunately, Google seems deadset on killing APKs.

Why Google is killing APKs

In order to make the Google Play Store more friendly for larger downloads, Google is killing off APKs in favour of App Bundles. Come August, Google will require new apps listed on the Play Store to be published as an AAB instead of the already established APK.

Introduced in 2018, Google created Android App Bundles to combat large file downloads on mobile. Instead of downloading a massive app with every file, the Play Store can dynamically deliver the files a particular device requires. This would make sure every app only downloads the assets each user needs.

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Is this an issue?

At the time of writing, only Google has support for Android App Bundles whereas everyone has access to APKs. The openness of Android as a service means that there are far more services than just the Google Play Store. Essentially, Google is pushing developers to their software format.

With APKs becoming a huge feature for the next iteration of Windows, will Microsoft's new OS already be behind? After all, that service will rely on Amazon's App Store for a lot of it’s content. As it stands, Amazon doesn't have access to Android App Bundles.

Thankfully, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Android App Bundles are open source, and some game engines are slowly starting to adopt the technology. However, this does prove a dangerous precedent as to how much power Google holds over the future of Android.

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