Last year, Google introduced Android Instant Apps – a feature that allows Android users to use applications without downloading from the Google Play Store.
This move was meant to solve the issue of users downloading an app only to find that it does not quite fit what they expected. With Instant Apps, users would be able to experience an app without fully downloading it. This would be possible through links. After clicking a link, Google Play Store will download a few small parts needed for a brief experience, after which, users can decide if they want to download the whole app or not.
A few Instant Apps have been available for a while now (like BuzzFeed and Periscope) as a trial run, but now at this year’s Google I/O, Google has made Android Instant Apps available to all developers.
To make an app Instant, developers need to make it modular and compatible with deep links, so users can click on a URL and end up in exactly the part of the app they’re looking to use. The Instant App needs to be under a certain size, so developers take note of that.
At the moment, Instant Apps are available for devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above, although support for Android Lollipop is underway. It is reported that Android O will bring major improvements to Instant Apps such as the ability to search for and launch Instant Apps from the launcher, as well as add Instant Apps to your home screen.