Google wants to impose the AAB format on Android TV and Google TV instead of the traditional APK. A format that will prove very useful on our televisions.
Android TV // Source : Google
On our smartphones, it is not uncommon to find storage space up to 512 GB, or even 1 or 2 TB. Enough to store a large number of applications without worrying about their size. On televisions, the problem is quite different.
Even today, in 2022, the majority of TVs are limited to 8 GB of storage. With the proliferation of video and audio streaming platforms, add one or two cloud gaming apps and your TV’s memory is full. This forces you to juggle by uninstalling – sometimes temporarily – on the fly the applications that you use less often.
App Bundles to the rescue
To solve this problem, Google thought of the Android App Bundle (AAB) format, presented in 2018 and pushed more and more by the Mountain View company. Unlike the legacy APK format, the AAB format is smaller, faster, and therefore more convenient in many ways.
While an APK is universal and contains a large amount of data to adapt to any device, the AAB format allows installing only the data necessary for proper functioning on the targeted device. So, if you have a smartphone running Android 13, for example, you won’t need to download all the data that’s still required for it to work properly on Android 10. On average, that’s 20% disk space saved per application.
The AAB format allows you to download only the necessary data // Source: Google
This format is also used to archive an application. An archived application then takes up 60% less space and can be unarchived very simply, without having to configure everything again afterwards. Obvious ease of use.
A mandatory format on TV in 2023
In order to further push its format, Google has therefore imposed on all applications wishing to appear on the Play Store of Android TV and Google TV to offer an AAB format. From May 2023, apps that only offer an APK will be “hidden” on these platforms. According to Google, adapting an APK application to AAB format would take an engineer no more than three days.
Remember, however, that this is a more closed format than the APK and that some developers are afraid that this will force them to adopt Google’s vision without saying a word. Time will tell if they are right…
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