Android Market welcomes multiple APK applications

Google made a move that many people may not see the importance of at present, but one that represents an exciting new future for Android developers. The APK file format is used by Android devices, and stands for 'Android Package Kit'. It is roughly the same as a .exe file on Windows. The benefit of allowing multiple APKs to be listed under one name is that Google will now be able to download the most suitable version of an application to your device. Google's official Android Developers blog also explains the change and the benefit it brings to developers.

TechCrunch describes it with an Android user who wants to download a game entitled Fruit Ninja. The game is listed twice in the Android Market, as 'Fruit Ninja', and 'Fruit Ninja THD'. The 'THD' version of the game is intended for Android tablets, which tend to run on the Tegra processor. As would be expected, it has been optimized for that one processor, and therefore may not have the same performance on any other processors. It also may have issues with different screen resolutions. The company that makes Fruit Ninja, Halfbrick Studios, would now be able to list the game once and let the Android Market identify your device before selecting the version most suited to the device it is downloading to. Halfbrick Studios embraced the change extremely quickly and used the opportunity to release a free version of the game. 

Google has always encouraged developers to try and use one APK file across all Android devices, though as time progresses, it becomes clear that this is an extremely difficult task. Android is known for having been fragmented over the course of time, due to the large number of devices that run it. Many of these devices have different internals, which make the OS handle differently on different devices.  Another positive of the new change in the Android Market is that developers will be able to draw all user reviews under the one application, further making the Market more easily navigated and read.

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thealexweb said,
I can see Angry Birds and Angry Birds Lite being folded together now

This isn't for that kind of use, to my understanding. From what I have read, a Dev can submit multiple APKs to the market, to be used on devices with differing abilities. When someone wants to download an app that uses this, the Market sends their device the APK that is best suited for that device

thealexweb said,
I can see Angry Birds and Angry Birds Lite being folded together now

I don't. Angry Birds is the free full game on Android where as Lite was the beta test.
This is talking about rolling up different versions of the game that support different resolutions/processors etc so you have one entry to download and get the right game for your device.

Sraf said,

This isn't for that kind of use, to my understanding. From what I have read, a Dev can submit multiple APKs to the market, to be used on devices with differing abilities. When someone wants to download an app that uses this, the Market sends their device the APK that is best suited for that device

multiple APK for multiple version and abilities.

Each apk contain a manifest of the habilities they need. you can put a single with the new market change.

thealexweb said,
I can see Angry Birds and Angry Birds Lite being folded together now

That's not how it works, plus Angry Birds is free. It's more like Angry Birds and Angry Birds HD (even though Angry Birds looks great on Honeycomb) but you get the point.

It would be even better if they expanded this to include free and pro versions in one entry and simply add a 'Pro' tab or the like. However that would cut a serious chunk out of the marketplace number of apps so it probably wouldn't happen.

Hollow.Droid said,
It would be even better if they expanded this to include free and pro versions in one entry and simply add a 'Pro' tab or the like. However that would cut a serious chunk out of the marketplace number of apps so it probably wouldn't happen.

we call this in-app purchase...

but that's to the dev choice, that's the same for the Apple Market.

This is really just a patch on a major problem with Android, that of splintering. Android appears to be going down the same route that unix did.

Yeah, i hope they can cut out these "X Free" and "X Pro" crap now. I know it's mainly about different resolutions and/or screen size and all that (tablet vs phone) but still!

SHoTTa35 said,
Yeah, i hope they can cut out these "X Free" and "X Pro" crap now. I know it's mainly about different resolutions and/or screen size and all that (tablet vs phone) but still!

In app purchase just like in iOS.

Microsoft_Bob said,

Actually it's not. For one thing it's not executable. It's actually a compressed archive similar to a .deb or .rpm file, which contains the application and its data, and all the information needed to install it correctly.

Um, last I checked, a .exe file can also be a compressed archive too.
Plus, a .rpm and .deb file ARE executables, as they instantly install software upon opening them.

PlogCF said,

Um, last I checked, a .exe file can also be a compressed archive too.
Plus, a .rpm and .deb file ARE executables, as they instantly install software upon opening them.

Calling rpm & deb executable is like calling a txt file an executable because it executes notepad to display its contents... Get a clue.


TechCrunch describes it with an Android user who wants to download a game entitled Fruit Ninja. The game is listed twice in the Android Market, as 'Fruit Ninja', and 'Fruit Ninja THD'. The 'THD' version of the game is intended for Android tablets, which tend to run on the Tegra processor. As would be expected, it has been optimized for that one processor, and therefore may not have the same performance on any other processors. It also may have issues with different screen resolutions.

This right here just shows how much of a ****ing fragmented mess Android is. I just hope that this kind of programming (without object-orientation and with hardware dependency) doesn't become the standard for future mobile operating systems...

PlogCF said,

This right here just shows how much of a ****ing fragmented mess Android is. I just hope that this kind of programming (without object-orientation and with hardware dependency) doesn't become the standard for future mobile operating systems...

Getting a tad bit emotional there over a phone OS..?
Did you read the article this is one step closer towards defragmentation

danisflying527 said,

Getting a tad bit emotional there over a phone OS..?
Did you read the article this is one step closer towards defragmentation

Unfortunately it is only going to defragment the userside of things more then the dev. Although it will be easier on developers to upkeep one market page instead of several, they still have to go through the work and making sure it works on all or most devices.

The whole thing is silly anyway. Anyone remember back when you could buy an app for your nokia, then upgrade to a better nokia to find out it didn't work with that model? We have come a long way.

This should drastically reduce the number of complaints about fragmentation. If it can be done server side and transparent to the user, all the better!

Not ust that.. buy one copy get for all devices..... I hate having to buy HD for my Tab AND Non-HD for my phone.. I don't want to have to buy the same game twice!!!!

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