Google’s announcements during their annual I/O developer conference demonstrate the company is beginning to shift the focus away from traditional download-and-install apps.
Downloading, installing, logging in or setting up an account, and navigating the app to find the content we’re looking for is a process many of us have gone through for decades. When you think about it, the process is cumbersome and overdue for modernisation.
There are several paradigm shifts in technology going on at the moment including the rise of VR/AR, voice-based digital assistants, and bots. Each of these requires on-demand content for a seamless experience – nobody wants to look at something in VR/AR and be presented with a download bar, or wait for an app to be installed when you ask your digital assistant for something outside its built-in capabilities.
Google is leading in this area with ‘Instant Apps’ which allow apps to not only be launched instantaneously by streaming just the relevant part to a user’s device; but also to a particular area of the app to get the information or features users need quickly as and when they’re needed.
Standard apps can be replaced entirely in some particular scenarios. Take for example when someone visits a theme park or a museum, they could an improved experience with instant access to an app’s features without downloading and installing something they’ll probably delete shortly after leaving.
The SDK to get started with Instant Apps on Android has already been released. To get started, you only have to go to developer.android.com and download the latest preview of Android Studio 3.0 and the Android Instant Apps SDK.
Jonathan Karmel, Product Manager at Google, said: “You’ll continue to use a single codebase. Android Studio provides the tools you need to modularise your app so that features can be downloaded as needed. Every app is different, but we’ve seen with our early partners that with the latest tools, instant app development typically takes about 4-6 weeks.”
The more developers adopt Instant Apps, the less need there is for large amounts of local storage which could help to reduce the cost of hardware. Consumers have been able to stream music, videos, and even some games, it’s about time apps caught up.