Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Google boosts maximum Android app size to 4GB

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It’s a darn good thing most Android phones ship with a microSD expansion slot. Why? Because now that Google is allowing developers to submit Android apps and games up to 4GB in size, you’re going to need a little extra space.

The maximum size of a .APK hasn’t changed — they’re still limited to 50MB to “ensure secure on-device storage,” according to Google. The additional 4GB can be passed along in the form of two expansion files using whatever file type the developer chooses. When you browse an app in the Android Market that takes advantage of this expanded storage, you’ll see its total size displayed. That way you won’t be surprised when a 50MB .APK starts pulling down another couple of gigs after you install it.

Google also notes that newer devices will automatically grab the expansion files when the .APK download finishes. To support older devices, they’ve provided a download library that developers can utilize. It will download files when an app is first run — which means you could be looking at a hefty delay before being able to play that incredible new game you downloaded on your phone. Hopefully Google will offer some specifics as to which phones count as “newer” and which don’t, so that we’re not left guessing which group our devices fall into.

So why the massive increase? It’s no secret that Google wants to make sure Android offers a very compelling gaming experience. With Google TV’s latest incarnation looking a bit more polished and Android hardware more capable than ever of playing high-quality games, those extra megs and gigs will offer developers a way to do something on Android that they can’t on other mobile platforms.

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