Android Instant Apps Starts Initial (Limited) Live Testing
At Google I/O 2016, Google previewed Android’s “Instant Apps”, a project that would allow users to effectively “stream” applications via partial code downloads. With Instant Apps, Google attempted to minimize the installation friction and allow developers to reach wider audiences through the web.
Instant Apps are essentially a deeplink you can trigger from, for example, a Google Search result — instead of linking you to the specific website, though, it can instead take you into the company’s application, right into the instance matching the web result. Instant Apps can deeplink straight to the relevant Android activities as your phone only downloads the necessary code to display such activity, which is compartmentalized in a module dictated by Google’s guidelines. After the app is split into modules, only the relevant components get downloaded and executed, allowing the user to accomplish their task – say, looking at a recipe or purchasing a product – in fewer taps and with the better UX a polished application can offer.
Moreover, Google’s demos showed that users would be able to use proper seamless payments and authentication via Android Pay and Google services, including access to location, identity, and Firebase. The Instant App instance also offers a shortcut for the user to download the full application if he or she is pleased with the experience, too, and Instant Apps were said to work with Android versions ranging back to Jelly Bean.
While the Instant Apps feature is a very interesting proposition by Google, the company did say that they’d open up testing in 2017, as they had decided to start with a small set of developers and show those who were interested how to set up their app to work with Instant Apps (Google claimed it could be less than a day’s work, but they haven’t released the SDK yet). We haven’t heard much else about Android Instant apps since then, but today we finally hear news regarding the ambitious feature: according to the Android Developers Blog, Android Instant Apps has begun initial live testing!
Google tells us that starting today, a small number of applications via Instant Apps will be available to Android users in a limited test, including many of the sites we saw demoed in videos and screenshots — Buzzfeed, Wish, Periscope, and Viki. Google is hoping to collect user feedback and iterate upon the product to expand the service to more apps and more users.
Here are some important steps to prepare your app for Instant Apps support. You’ll need to modularize your app for it to be downloaded and run on-the-fly, using the same Android APIs and Android Studio Project, but Google says the full SDK will become available in the coming months.
Source: Android Developers Blog