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New Android Market Features Multiple APK Support

By - Source: Android Developers Blog | B 10 comments

Multiple APK support for the Android Market means there's a good chance developers will be able to offer apps on a wider range of hardware.

Thursday the Android Developers Blog was updated with news that Google's Android Market now supports multiple APKs. This new change is undoubtedly one of Google's efforts to tackle Android fragmentation by allowing developers to create various versions of the same app and combine them in one Android Market listing. Previously Google allowed for only one APK per product listing.

"With multiple APK support, you can now upload multiple versions of an APK for a single product listing, with each one addressing a different subset of your customers," the blog reads. "These APKs are complete, independent APKs that share the same package name, but contain code and resources to target different Android platform versions, screen sizes, or GL texture-compression formats. When users download or purchase your app, Android Market chooses the right APK to deliver based on the characteristics of the device."

Signs of this type of progression towards Market device detection initially appeared on the web version of Google's Android Market last month. Users simply sign in through the web browser and select the desired app to install. The system then checks the compatibility between the app and the hardware listed in the user's settings. Approved apps receive a green "this app is compatible with your [device]" message or a yellow "this app is incompatible with your [device]" message.

But now developers will have the ability to provide additional, compatible versions tucked away in one offering rather than cluttering up the entire Android Market with multiple listings. "Multiple APK support gives you a variety of ways to control app distribution," the blog reads. "For example, you could use it to create separate APKs for phones and tablets under the same product listing. You could also use it to take advantage of new APIs or new hardware capabilities without impacting your existing customer base."

The blog states that the Developer Console has been updated with controls for uploading and managing multiple APKs in a product listing.

Previously Google revealed plans to unleash an entirely new Android Market app that will allow consumers to rent movies and purchase books directly from their smartphones and tablets. The Market itself has received another visual overhaul, this time casting out the whites and greens and taking on a more Windows Phone 7 "Metro UI" look. The new Android Market app is expected to roll out soon, but a leaked version has already appeared on the Internet to download and install.

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  • 4 Hide
    becherovka , July 23, 2011 6:56 AM
    Good news!! Hope this encourages developers to make more tablet based apps. Maybe same leaner apps too.
  • 0 Hide
    brandonjclark , July 23, 2011 2:24 PM
    Very cool! Now if we just had something better to program with other than Eclipse!
  • -7 Hide
    chronicbint , July 23, 2011 9:56 PM
    More work for devs, yet another nail in the Droid coffin.
  • Display all 10 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    aaron88_7 , July 24, 2011 6:45 AM
    chronicbintMore work for devs, yet another nail in the Droid coffin.

    umm, have you seen the sales numbers for Android devices lately?
  • -5 Hide
    chronicbint , July 24, 2011 10:16 AM
    Android is free and thrown on every cheap phone in existence, of course it has big numbers.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 24, 2011 6:03 PM
    Well done Google, an intelligent solution to a complicated problem. Of course, everything has issues and this is no different, but it's a good idea at the very least.
  • 2 Hide
    x3style , July 25, 2011 10:48 AM
    chronicbintAndroid is free and thrown on every cheap phone in existence, of course it has big numbers.

    Because it CAN! :) 
  • 3 Hide
    kin3000 , July 25, 2011 12:55 PM
    chronicbintAndroid is free and thrown on every cheap phone in existence, of course it has big numbers.


    It's obvious you're an Apple fan boy. It seems you're not use to having multiple devices to pick from.
  • 0 Hide
    fishrule , July 25, 2011 9:18 PM
    Google should work on making Android a stable and not crap OS. I just got rid of my Android tablet, what a POS.
  • 0 Hide
    godmode , July 26, 2011 4:40 AM
    brandonjclarkVery cool! Now if we just had something better to program with other than Eclipse!


    meh, sure eclipse has it problems but its workable for me. i still agree that there needs to be more IDE's, i love choices...the more the better (apple's pet peeve).
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