Android Instant Apps: The New Trend You Can’t Ignore
Google Instant Apps first appeared in 2016 at Google’s I/O 2016 developer conference and since then they’ve been gaining its popularity among developers and its users. They represent a dramatic change in how apps are managed and the way we interact with mobile software.
Users can have an app preview by accessing its main functionality without installing it on their mobile device. Such apps already have great advertising potential in commercial and gaming industries. In the near future, experts expect Instant Apps to spread wider among other sectors, therefore, it’s worth considering if you need to make your app instant.
What is Google Android Instant App?
Instant Apps are the next great step in mobile app development. At first sight, they don’t differ much from the traditional mobile apps, they look and function just like any other app. The big main difference is that you don’t actually need to install them on your mobile device.
Instant Apps provide their users with access to a portion of an app’s code with the necessary functionality. And if the user likes the app after testing out its main functions, he can install the whole app from the Google app store.
Instant Apps appear:
- in Google search results, all you need to do is to tap a URL and instantly get into the app;
- in the Play store. Some apps have a “Try it Now” button;
- through NFC (Near Field Communication) wireless technology which allows mobile devices to accept the data from the nearby data transmitters;
- someone may send you a link with an Instant app.
Early adopters of Instant Apps are BuzzFeed, Skyscanner, Onefootball, Red Bull TV, UN’s ShareTheMeal app, and many others.
Why You Should Start Using the Instant App Feature?
Instant Apps create a seamless experience for their users. They don’t need to wait for an app to download and get installed on their devices, neither to enter Google Play and search for the needed app in long app lists. With Instant Apps users are one click away from putting them into action.
This feature can be useful for those users who don’t intend to keep an app on their mobiles for long. Therefore, it helps to avoid cluttering device memory with hardly ever used apps. For example, a user travels to a new town and uses a taxi there once or twice, so they don’t need to have an installed app on their mobiles. The same thing works with parking or other local services.
E-commerce businesses greatly benefit from Instant Apps. They provide their users with instant experience of their products. It means that users don’t need to search for an app on a company’s website or in Google search, which significantly increases brand awareness and quick demo encourages users to download the app. Therefore, Instant Apps are widely used by retail sites, mobile game developers, real-estate sites, taxi and city guide sites, and many more.
How to Develop an Instant App
Although Instant Apps are a whole new feature in the mobile app world, their development process doesn’t differ much from building a traditional app. All the software developers need to do is to modularize their apps so that they allow access to a particular code section. It means that users don’t need to download the whole app but only the part that developers decide to share with them.
Moreover, if software developers already have their apps being in use, they don’t need to build a new Instant App to meet the market demand. As they can customize the existing applications by refactoring the app code.
Instant Apps Specificities
Each app module shouldn’t exceed the size of 4MB so that the users can download them quickly. The size of 4MB put a certain level of limitations on Instant App software development. For example, developers can’t add diverse multimedia elements into the app’s samples, like inserting heavy 3D games or full HD videos, at least for now. Instant Apps have great potential for the very fact that they support OpenGL ES 2.0 which is a cross-platform API for 2D and 3D graphics rendering.
Another Instant App-specific is to prevent malicious use of these apps by third parties, Instant App developers restrict them from supporting background services. This ensures that an Instant App won’t send any push notifications, access to external storage, or change device settings without a user’s awareness.
In October 2017, Google released its Android Studio 3.0 which was updated to 4.0 in July 2020. It facilitates building Instant Apps by providing a full out of the box support. It equips software developers with Android Instant Apps SDK and App Links Assistant that allows building mobile solutions from scratch or transform the existing ones into Instant Apps.
At 2016 Google’s I/O developer conference Google said that Android Instant Apps are compatible with any Android devices that run Jelly Bean and above. It means that this feature can be launched on devices starting from Android 4.1 without being installed.
Android Instant Apps represent a tech breakthrough in the world of mobile apps. They allow their users to utilize their functionality in one click. This feature creates new opportunities for businesses to advertise and present their products, placing them at users’ fingertips.
If you decide to build your own business app, using Android development services, you should also consider making it instant. This way you’ll make your product easier to reach for potential buyers while increasing their customer experience.