Raccoon, the APK downloader for Google Play, now supports App Bundles
During Google I/O 2018, Google introduced a new app packaging model called Android App Bundles. An Android app bundle contains all of the app’s compiled code and resources, but defers APK generation and signing to Google Play. The Google Play Store, through the Dynamic Delivery serving model, uses this app bundle to generate and serve optimized APK’s depending on the user’s device configuration, ensuring that the user downloads only the code and resources needed for the app to run on their particular device.
This packaging model is for the convenience of those users and developers who have to deal with large APKs as it worked towards dramatically reducing application size to help improve user retention in data-conscious markets. The developer does not need to build, sign, and manage several different APKs to support different device configurations, and the user benefits from smaller and more optimized downloads. App Bundles and Dynamic Delivery also made it possible for developers to exclude additional functionality from core app functionality and download the extras later if/when needed.
While App Bundles and Dynamic Delivery will work for the benefit for a large number of Android users, they do pose certain difficulties for distributing apps outside of the Google Play Store, a.k.a. sideloading. Android Police has a good article detailing the effect these changes have on sideloading, as it affects how their sister website APKMirror handles app distribution.
Raccoon, an APK downloader that lets you download Google Play apps straight to your desktop, has now been updated to v4.40 with support for Android App Bundles. Raccoon comes with a wide range of features revolving around Google Play Store access, such as the ability to download free and paid apps, bypass device and country restriction, as well as ADB integration to directly install apps to your device.
Changelog for the v4.4.0 release is below:
- Added support for Google’s new publishing format: App Bundles
- Added a download booster feature to cut down download time
- Use the app Icon from Play, if one cannot be extracted from the APK (e.g. because it’s a bundled app).
- Bumped the default device profile again to support App Bundles.
Do note that installing an app bundle is only possible through ADB, as this is an inherent Android limitation.