Both Android developers and users alike have been frustrated for quite some time with the way Google has required separate APK (Android’s application file type) files for different devices and OS versions. For a developer it has been a bit of nightmare as what can work perfect for one device can make another one break – this has led to some developers not even bothering to develop for every device.
This week’s update to the Android Market should put a smile on both parties faces as Google is now allowing support for multiple APK files for the same app.
With multiple APK support, you can now upload multiple versions of an APK for a single product listing, with each one addressing a different subset of your customers. These APKs are complete, independent APKs that share the same package name, but contain code and resources to target different Android platform versions, screen sizes, or GL texture-compression formats. When user download or purchase your app, Android Market chooses the right APK to deliver based on the characteristics of the device.
The fact that the Android market will now choose the “right app” should ease developers from deploying even more code and will definitely make the Android user experience much more pleasent in the end.
The Android market is growing almost 3x faster than the iOS and if it continues at this rate then it may overtake the installed userbase of iOS in the next year.
Here is a chart of the installations and activations of the Android OS (not a particular phone or device) versus the same for iOS:
These stats make it purely unfathomable that there are some key apps that may not run on some key devices. This latest news may not fix everything but it is surely a step in the right direction.