Google has declared that beginning in August of this year, apps under the Google Play store will be required to utilize the Android App Bundle rather than the standard APK format.
Google initially launched app bundles at 2018’s I/O. Bundles allow developers to distribute their software by breaking up different components of their apps and having the Play Store only send consumers the bits that their specific phones or tablets require. This change drastically reduces app download sizes, enhances security, and provides greater control over feature and asset distribution to downloaders.
Additionally, the new App Bundle format should allow developers to push out updates faster thanks to the in-app updates API.
According to Google, “There are now over 1 million apps using app bundles in production, including the majority of the top 1,000 apps and games on Google Play such as Adobe, Duolingo, Gameloft, Netflix, redBus, Riafy, and Twitter.”
Developers looking to publish their new apps on the Google Play Store will have to go the Android App Bundle way, but that brings some complications.
For starters, Android App Bundle is a format solely used by Google Play, which may complicate app distribution on third-party app stores.
Additionally, at the ‘What’s next for Windows’ event, Microsoft announced that its new OS, Windows 11, will have tight integration with Android apps with the ability to sideload Android apps as APKs. Google’s decision to switch from APK to App Bundle will surely have consequences for Windows, which we’ll learn more about as the OS starts rolling out.
Source: Android Developers Google Blog