Until recently, applications hosted by the official Android Market have been limited to a maximum size of 50MB. While this has been a non-issue for most applications, larger applications have required an initial download from the Android Market and then additional files had to be downloaded from an external source. If you paid for an application, the refund period started when the portion hosted on the Android Market was loaded – not the entire file. Policy has changed, and for the better. Applications may now scale up to 4GB, and the refund period won’t start until the download is complete.
The announcement comes from the official Android Developer Blog and will be a welcome change for both app developers and the consumer. The size of the initial download is still limited to 50MB, but up to 4GB (in 2GB increments) can be stored on-site by the developer. For developers whose works pass the 50MB limit, this will mean decreased costs as they will no longer have to pay for hosting and bandwidth for the larger portions of their programs.
The size of your APK file will still be limited to 50MB to ensure secure on-device storage, but you can now attach expansion files to your APK.
- Each app can have two expansion files, each one up to 2GB, in whatever format you choose.
- Android Market will host the files to save you the hassle and cost of file serving.
- Users will see the total size of your app and all of the downloads before they install/purchase.
On most newer devices, when users download your app from Android Market, the expansion files will be downloaded automatically, and the refund period won’t start until the entire download completes. On older devices, your app will download the expansion files the first time it runs, via a downloader library which we’ve provided below.
While you can use the two expansion files any way you wish, we recommend that one serve as the initial download and be rarely if ever updated; the second can be smaller and serve as a “patch carrier,” getting versioned with each major release.
- Android Developers Official Blog
Resources are already available to help developers make the changes needed to use the new hosting and download system. Sample code and libraries are available in the Android SDK Manager.
- In the Google Market Licensing package, an updated License Verification Library (LVL). This minor update mostly adds the ability to obtain expansion file details from the licensing server.
- From the Google Market APK Expansion package, the downloader service example. The library makes it relatively simple to implement a downloader service in your application that follows many of our best practices, including resuming downloads and displaying a progress notification.
- Android Developers Official Blog
Transition from self-hosted additional files to Google-hosted additional files should be seamless to the end user and require no work on the consumer’s part beyond loading an updated file pointing to the new content hosting location. The refund period not starting until all ancillary files have been downloaded and installed will make many end users happy, as larger content has taken longer to download and install than the refund period lasted.
We’re interested in hearing what you think about this. Developers, will this affect your current projects and how you decide to make decisions in creating larger applications in the future? Consumers, are you happy to have the refund window rolled back until you actually get to try your super-sized games and applications? Let us know in the comments below!]]>