Android developers of the world can rejoice on the good news that Google has finally increased the maximum file size of apps on the Android Market. The app size was previously pegged at 50MB, but now, it’s been significantly upped to a total of 4GB. While the APK itself is still limited to 50MB, developers can now attach two expansion files to it, each with a maximum size of 2GB.
How will the max size bump benefit developers? Aside from giving them more space for creativity, it can also mean significant cost savings for devs. Currently, when an APK is downloaded from the Android Market, users are often prompted to download additional data, which can go up to several gigabytes in size. Since the Market won’t host the additional files, developers are forced to host these large files, on third-party servers, at their own expense. This bandwidth cost is what ultimately hurts developers the most.
As for users, the increase of maximum app size will mean less hassle when downloading apps from the Market. We will no longer be fooled by the seemingly small size of an APK listed on the Market, only to be prompted later to manually download 2GB of additional data. From now on, all that data can be fully integrated into the APK and the expansion files. Moreover, installing apps from the Android Market is arguably safer than downloading data from a developer's server.
With Apple AppStore clocking in its 25 billionth download recently, Android Market is under constant pressure to play catch up with Apple's platform, despite the fact that the two app stores were established at about the same time, back in 2008. According to Google ‘s most recent report from January, 11 billion apps have been downloaded from the Android Market.
With a less restrictive file size for apps, and an ever increasing customer base, we can only hope that more and more quality apps will become available on our Android devices. Especially now, when we have all these amazing quad-core Android phones to put apps to the test.