The new Android App Bundles will have a .aab file extension. Image: Google
Google will start imposing a change that would clamp down on the Android apps distributed through the Play Store. This week, the company announced that beginning in August, developers will have to publish apps as a proprietary Android App Bundle rather than the standard APK publishing format.
The requirement only applies to new apps, however. Existing apps are currently exempt, as well as private apps published to “managed Google Play users,” wrote Google in its blog. Developers have about a month to reconfigure their apps to the Android App Package, or .aab file extension.
Google originally introduced the Android App Package in Android 9 to help alleviate the bloat associated with app distribution. There are so many different hardware and language combinations within the device ecosystem that shipping code to accommodate it can lead to hefty apps. A high-end flagship device doesn’t usually have an issue parsing through all that. But low-budget and mid-range devices struggle to sort through large amounts of data due to their limited processing power and they have limited storage space.
The Android App bundle essentially splits the APKs from an archived file that contains it all into a mass of “Split APKs” installed individually by the Google Play Store, depending on the corresponding device. Ars Technica has a nice breakdown of how Split APKs work with different configurations:
As the name…