Google TV and Android TV are Switching to Space-Saving App Bundles

As awesome as devices like the Chromecast with TV and NVIDIA's SHIELD units may be, one of the downsides to each is the limited amount of on-device storage both come equipped with out of the box. The issue with a small amount of storage is the fact that you could run out of room in a hurry if you tried to load up more than a handful of apps. I'm not sure why I said that as if it were a theoretical issue, because in reality, this does happen all of the time with these devices.

Today, Google announced a plan that should help with this situation some, since the smart TV devices aren't likely to increase storage amounts any time soon. After all, price is such a key selling point for these devices and adding storage would only increase that.

Google's plan is to force App Bundles onto TV devices in the same way they did for phones back in 2021. Android App Bundles (AABs) are the publishing format that replaced the ol' APK file. These AABs create an average of 20% total size savings compared to an APK, they allow apps to be archived instead of fully uninstalled (for quicker re-installation), and they make for streamlined delivery by developers. All-around, they are a big win.

The transition to Android App Bundles for Android TV and Google TV will start in May 2023. Google thinks this is plenty of time for app owners and developers to comply with the change, as they figure it should only take a single engineer about 3 days to migrate an existing TV app from an APK to an AAB. If companies don't migrate their apps, Google may hide them from the TV surface.

Google believes that Android App Bundles “bring a delightful experience” to both developers and users, “especially in the living room.” What a happy way to describe such a change. Lovely.

Speaking of lovely, the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is down to just $40 for Black Friday. Buy one.


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