This is great news for Android app developers because it will allow them to offer apps on a wider array of the company’s hardware. This new change is one of Google’s major efforts to tackle the problems that have been experienced with fragmentation. Multiple versions of the same app can now be combined into one Android Market listing. The previous rule only allowed for one APK per product listing. The benefit to uploading multiple versions of an APK are that each version can address a different niche of your customers. The different versions share the same package name, but contain coding that targets different versions available on the Android platform, various screen sizes and GL texture-compression formats. The correct APK is delivered to the customer, based on the signatures and characteristics of the users device.
Initial reports of this new market apkzoom device detection surfaced last month on the web version of Google’s Android Market. Users just go to the web browser and sign in, then select the app they wish to install. This system then checks the compatibility of the selected app and the hardware that is specified in the settings of the user. Approved apps will then receive a green message that says “this app is compatible with your device” or a yellow message that says “this app is incompatible with your device.”
Now Android app developers will have the capability of providing bonus versions that are compatible and within the same offering, instead of cluttering up the marketplace with multiple listings that end up confusing the user. Multiple APK support will give the developer more options for controlling their app distribution. Most notable, a developer can create a separate APK for smartphones and tablets under this same listing. Taking advantage of new API’s or hardware capabilities without drastically effecting your customer base should be viewed as a major benefit to giving the Android Market a try for app developers.
There has not been a date set for the release of the new-look Android Market app, but leaked versions have been cropping up online for download and installation. Google did announce plans to unveil a completely new Android Market app that allows for customers to purchase books or rent movies from their tablets, smartphones and devices. Android Market has gone through a new overhaul that is embodies more of a Windows Phone 7 “Metro UI” look, as opposed to the previous Green and White motif.