Android TV and Google TV will require App Bundles instead of APKs soon

A lot of households now have smart TVs and most are powered by Google's operating systems or their variations. While the hardware has become commonplace, these really aren't high specification devices in most cases and the average storage capacity is around 8GB, which is quite low compared even to budget phones we see nowadays. However, not everyone can be expected to replace TVs on short notice - some may not even see the need for additional storage capacity - so Google is making a software-level change in order to tackle this problem.

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Starting from May 2023, Android TV and Google TV will require apps to be packaged in the Android App Bundle (AAB) format instead of the current APK format. This requirement is already in place for Android smartphones.

Google says that there are multiple advantages to this approach. AAB apps have a 20% smaller footprint on average and users are less likely to uninstall them since they allow apps to be archived, which reduces storage use by around 60%. Moreover, Google has emphasized that AAB apps are "helpful" for all Android form factors because they are delivered in a more streamlined way through the Google Play Store.

As such, Google believes that AAB is the way forward. Although the six-month duration may sound quite bleak, the company says that it would take a single engineer around three days to repackage their APK app as AAB. Google has warned developers that if they do not adhere to these timelines, their apps may be hidden from TV devices. You can refer to Google's documentation here to figure out how to repackage your TV app.

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