Google’s Android development team has just introduced a new Android Market publishing feature targeted at app developers–support for multiple APKs. The new feature now allows an app developer to upload several APK files–each one intended for a specific target device or set of devices–to only one product listing.
An APK (Android Package) file is the file format used for distributing and installing components to an Android mobile device.
Prior to the new feature for multiple APK uploads, app developers were allowed to upload only one APK file for every product listing. That has resulted in multiple listings of a single product, with each listing targeting a specific platform version, screen size, or chipset. Multiple listing of the same product also made it hard for developers to bring together the reviews, ratings, branding, screenshots, and comments about their products.
With the support for multiple APK, developers can put several APK versions for the same product into just one listing, with the different APK versions intended for various customers. So, for instance, if you have an app called AA Mobile App, with an APK version for devices running Gingerbread and another APK for devices on Honeycomb, you won’t need to keep two separate listings for distributing the same app. Just place the APKs under the same product listing, and the Android Market will choose the right APK to push to the user based on the the characteristics of the user’s device.
Under such a scenario, all details and information about your product app (e.g., ratings, reviews, comments, screenshots, aggregated download statistics) will fall under one product listing. From an app downloader’s perspective, the new feature will also make it easier for downloaders to locate apps and not wonder whether the apps have separate versions for tablets or for specific Android devices or for specific chipsets.
What do you think of this update to the Android Market?