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One of console gaming's best features could be coming to Android

Google's new file system could enable you to play games and use apps while they're still being downloaded.

Published onFebruary 18, 2020

A future version of Android could support the Incremental File System for using apps while downloading.

From PUBG and Fortnite to Call of Duty Mobile and GTA: San Andreas, mobile games can be pretty big. And you’ll need to wait until they’re fully downloaded before you can play them.

Now, XDA-Developers has uncovered evidence that Google is working on a brand-new file system for a future Android version. And this so-called Incremental File System would allow apps and games to run while they’re still being downloaded to the device.

According to Google documentation spotted by the outlet, the Incremental File System is a “special-purpose Linux virtual file system that allows execution of a program while its binary and resource files are still being lazily downloaded over the network, USB etc.”

Google specifically mentions that this file system will allow “running big Android apps before their binaries and resources are fully loaded to an Android device.”

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We’ve previously seen Microsoft and Sony offer similar functionality in their consoles, allowing you to play a section of a game before it’s fully downloaded (e.g. tutorials, first levels, specific modes). Google’s implementation suggests that you might still see loading screens when an app reads something that isn’t downloaded yet. But the firm says “hot blocks” can be loaded instead to keep the action going.

XDA adds that Google is currently testing this on a Pixel 4 XL, and suggests that the feature will likely miss Android 11 in favor of Android 12 instead. There’s no word if developers will have to specifically update their games to take advantage of the Incremental File System, but it will definitely make Android gaming a little more convenient.

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