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May 19, 2016

What are Android Instant Apps and why do they matter?

by John_A

Google announced Android Instant Apps during its Google I/O 2016 developer conference. They represent a big change in how apps are managed, as well as how many apps you might end up having on your phone in the future.

Android Instant Apps will allow users to access certain elements of a particular app, without having to install that app on your phone. Sounds great right?

How do Android Instant Apps work?

Android Instant Apps allow users to access a piece of an app to get straight to the feature or service they want, without having to install the entire app. 

For example, if you want to pay for parking but you don’t want to download the parking app for the one time you plan to park there, Android Instant Apps should mean you’ll just be able to tap and pay and be on your way, and avoid the delay of installing an app you don’t really need.

To work, Android Instant Apps will require developers to modularise their apps in order for users to be able to access and download the one particular section of an app that’s needed.

Once they have done this, which might take a while to implement depending on the structure of the app, Google Play will be able to access the section of the code it needs within the app without the app needing to be installed on the user’s device. Google has demonstrated Android Instant Apps accessed via a web link, NFC and through Google search. 

Why are Android Instant Apps useful?

Android Instant Apps should make some actions a little easier and quicker.

You won’t be downloading and installing unnecessary apps that you’ll only use once or twice. This will help ensure you’re not clogging up your internal phone memory with pointless apps.

Android Instant Apps will also make doing certain things quicker, whether that’s paying for that parking or finding a recipe on Buzzfeed, for example. It’s in its infancy now, but over time, it could very easily change the way we use our devices.

They will streamline processes to a couple of taps, where now they involve downloading an app, installing it, navigating it and finding what you need, which is a lot more than a couple of taps.

What devices will Android Instant Apps work with?

Google has said Android Instant Apps will work with Android devices running Jelly Bean and above so it isn’t just for new devices.

When will Android Instant Apps appear?

Google has said Android Instant Apps will arrive later in the year. It is currently working with a few partners including BuzzFeed, B&H Photo, Medium, Hotel Tonight, Zumper and Disney.

Google has said it will gradually expand access for developers.

You can watch the video below for more information on Android Instant Apps and what Google has to say about them. 

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