Android TV will require App Bundles in 2023, should minimize app size by 20%.

Android TV will require App Bundles in 2023, should minimize app size by 20%.

The Future versions of Android TV will be less storage-hungry. Google declared that Android Program Bundles (AABs), a space-saving app file structure for Android, will finally become the norm for Android TV. Google will mandate the transition to the new file format, which can reduce app storage requirements by 20% by May 2023, or six months from then.

Storage for Android TV is a constant challenge because hardware makers strive to provide smart TV and set-top-box hardware as cheaply as possible, which sometimes entails shipping with little to no storage. According to Google, “smart TVs have an average storage size of 8GB in 2022, although smartphones frequently have a minimum storage size of 64GB.” The Google Chromecast with Google TV ships with only 8GB of storage, making Google itself a major offender in this case. Unfortunately, that is far from sufficient, and even with the absolute minimum of content apps installed, many users run out of storage on the new Chromecast. There are 10,000 Android TV apps available, some of which are 10GB+ in size; however, most Android TV users cannot install them.

Android App Bundles won’t solve the storage and poor design issues on poorly designed smartphones, but every little bit will help. Android Program Bundles were introduced with Android 9 in 2018 as a solution to reduce device storage requirements by dividing an app into modules instead of a single, massive APK containing all conceivable data. Numerous languages, display resolutions, and CPU architectures are supported by Android apps, although only a small subset of those parameters are required for each given device to function.

The Play Store and Android Apps Bundles build a dynamic delivery system for each module. The Play Store receives information from your phone about the modules it needs and Google’s servers package and sends the necessary files to your device. It’s also possible for developers to combine some infrequently used software features into a bundle that users may instantly download when they need them.

Software Bundles essentially shift much of the burden for app packaging to the cloud, specifically Google’s cloud, which results in many Google lock-ins. To have their apps compiled into potentially over 100 modules, developers must upload their app-signing keys and codebase to Google’s servers. Now, the Play Store is in charge of figuring out what a phone requires to offer those modules instantly. Even while a new app shop might be able to duplicate everything, likely, developers won’t want to give their signing keys to a million separate stores.

According to Google, Android App Bundles typically take up 20% less space than a monolithic APK, which will be quite helpful for these storage-constrained devices. They have been a prerequisite for phones and tablets since 2021, and TV applications will follow suit in six months. The sooner developers transition, the more likely their TV apps will be buried from search results. According to Google, “it will probably take one engineer roughly three days to move.”


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