After first being announced at Google I/O in May 2016, Google is finally beginning to test Android Instant Apps out in the wild. The company revealed today that a few select developers have launched apps in the Google Play Store made with this new SDK, which will allow users to access them without having to download them to their device. Previously, the company said Android Instant Apps will become available by the end of 2016, so it appears that Google had a few issues getting it to work before today’s announcement.
Google said that apps from publishers like BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, and Viki will be testing Instant Apps to collect user feedback. This will enable Google to get more info on how these apps work in a real-world environment so that more of them can launch to a greater number of Android users in the near future.
Since it’s been awhile since we’ve talked about Android Instant Apps, here’s a quick rundown. Once a user taps on an Android Instant Apps link, the Google Play Store will begin to deliver only enough code for the app to run on the Android device. This concept seems like it’d be really helpful, especially if you’re only planning on using an app one time to handle a certain task. Android Instant Apps can also be downloaded via an NFC connection, in case you need to buy a ticket directly from a concert hall kiosk or if you want to pay one of those internet-connected parking meters.
Google says that even though a few Android Instant Apps are currently available from a limited number of developers, the ones that are not involved in testing can go ahead and prepare their apps now. When the full SDK is released, developers will be ready to quickly update their apps to support Android Instant Apps. Google says the full dev tools will be made available sometime in the coming months.