#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 11°C Saturday 21 May 2022

The way you access apps on Android is going to change significantly

And it will remove the commitment of downloading an app.

DayDream is Google's next-generation VR platform, designed for Android.
DayDream is Google's next-generation VR platform, designed for Android.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg

ANDROID COULD END up solving a problem with app downloads and storage space as it changes the way they’re downloaded.

Instant Apps will roll out later this year and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Giving smartphone users access to an app straight away but how it does it and what it allows is far more interesting.

Instead of downloading the whole app first, it only downloads the part that you need or want to look at. In the example provided at Google I/O, the company’s developer conference, someone could send you a link to an app.

When you click on it, instead of downloading it, it just opens up the part that’s been linked. The app is split up in modules so Google Play only installs the part that’s necessary.

Think of it like this. If an app was a website, then Instant Apps only loads up the page you need instead of the entire site. If you like it, you can then download the entire app for use later. If not, you can still jump into the app again provided you have a link, found either through search or sent by someone.

Google instant apps Source: Google Developers/YouTube

It’s unclear whether this will work for all apps or just smaller, specific apps – the idea of jumping into a demanding 3D game immediately would be amazing if it works – but it would be very useful for those with limited storage space.

And the best part? The feature works on Android phones using software as old as Jelly Bean. That means phones that were launched back in 2012 will be able to take advantage of it.

That’s probably a good thing considering how fragmented Android’s userbase is as only 7.5% of Android users have the latest version, Marshmallow, on their devices.

Not that Google has anything to be worried about. More than 65 billion apps were downloaded in the past year while more than 200 million Android smartphones were activated in the same period.

New platforms

AS part of the developer conference, it also revealed a number of updates that will be included with the next version of Android.

Android N is already available in beta, something that usually happens after Google I/O, but some of the new features coming include split-screen mode, a feature appearing on many other phones, and quick notification options. By holding down on a notification, you can choose to make them silent or block them entirely.

The other major Android announcement concerned DayDream, a virtual reality platform running on Android.

As well as requiring a smartphone and basic headset – presumably fancier than Cardboard – it will also be using a basic motion controller to control what is on screen.

Google VR 3

The next generation of Android phones will be able to run DayDream and will work with a number of makers including Samsung, LG, Huawei, HTC, and Xiaomi.

Read: Forget taking over your phone, Google wants to take over your home and life >

Read: Microsoft just gave its biggest hint that it will be ending Lumia phones >

About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel