Instant Apps are a universal solution from Android to enhance the speed and power of a native app. With the immediacy they bring to a web app, they are the definite next step in-app evolution. They operate exactly like one of the apps that you use on your regular days, without the need for downloading anything. Android Instant Apps made it to the Play Store in 2017, and that opened a whole new range of possibilities for viewers and their utilities.
Several companies have already successfully developed and capitalized on the trend, such as Vimeo, the video streaming service. When an Android App has the instant-app feature, users can see the ‘try now’ button beside ‘Install’ in the Google Play Store. By clicking on the ‘try now’ button, a virtual app is installed.
Android Instant Apps allow users to get a taste of the App briefly before installing the entire application. If your app size is large, this feature gives you a peek into the elements of your App without actually downloading it.
History and Development
Google announced the launch of Instant apps at its annual I/O developer conference in May 2016. During the same meeting in the following year, Google made Instant Apps available to all Android developers. Google also released Android Studio 3.0 in October 2017 to provide support to the Instant apps.
Things You Should Know About Android Instant Apps
Now that we’ve established what an instant app is, and how helpful it can be for users and business owners, we shall move on to the benefits it provides, along with its restrictions. Instant-apps enabled app bundles can only use few app permissions, such as Access Coarse Location, Instant app Foreground Service.
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You should know that Instant apps need one of the following conditions to be true in order to interact with the installed apps:
a. At least one of the installed App’s activities should have the attribute android:visibleToInstantApps in its manifest file marked as valid.
b. The installed App must contain a CATEGORY_BROWSABLE intent filter.
c. The instant app feature is built on top of Android app bundles using a split APKs feature introduced in Android Lollipop. This is why developers need to change their app distribution to Android app Bundles from the traditional APK to work.
Like Progressive Web Apps, Instant Apps can be designed to work online. However, some of the features would only be accessible only when connected to a network. Google says almost any phone can run Instant Apps, though some phones may not be capable of displaying them.
Setting Up An Android Instant App
You need to enable Instant Apps for your account on your phone. You need to head over to your Settings App and find your Google Account Settings. Scroll down to Instant Apps, flip the toggle on and tap yes, I’m in on the next screen. The launch of an Android Instant App is just like a regular app and offers the same experience. But there are a few indications that would give it away. For one, most Instant Apps will include a link to download the full App at the top of the screen. Moreover, when you open an Instant App, the address bar will disappear when you click an ‘Instant’ link.
How Do Instant Apps Benefit Business Owners
Android Instant Apps are especially beneficial for the e-commerce industry and game developers. Discoverability is one of the significant benefits of these apps. Also, instant apps enabled the New York Times Crossword Puzzle to be particularly discoverable. In general, game developers can benefit from instant apps since users can play a particular game level without downloading the App. Once the user is intrigued by the game after reaching a specific level, users can download the full App.
Similarly, E-commerce organizations can benefit from this feature in a similar way. Users can easily find their company’s instant App through a Google search or a company website and be encouraged to download the full App, thereby increasing the overall business.
In all, the new update in Android Instant Apps has fixed the errors in the previous versions and made it easier for business owners to increase engagement on their App. Android’s new app publishing format, the Android App Bundle, also offers an altogether better experience with the Instant apps.