begins live testing of Instant Apps that load without installation

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 24 Jan 2017

At last year’s I/O conference, demonstrated a sneak peak of an exciting new initiative that lets users interact with pieces of an app without needing to go through the whole download process. Called Android Instant Apps, it was designed to streamline the process of installing apps,  now is finally ready to let us try it out.

ile only available in a “limited test” with just four developers—BuzzFeed, sh, riscope, Viki—Instant Apps could dramatically change the way we interact with apps on our phones. For example, under the current system, if someone sends you a link to an item for sale in the sh app you don’t have it installed on your phone, you would be first redirected to the ay Store, where you would need to download install the app, find it on your phone, open it, type in the item, hit search. th Instant Apps, tapping the link would automatically bring up that page in the app, whether it’s installed on your phone or not. From there you could buy it or save the link to your home screen, all without needing to go through the whole tedious download process.


th the sh Instant App, you can view pay for an item without downloading the full version.

Furthermore, demonstrated a situation where a user could feed a parking meter without needing to waste time or data downloading the app first. Of course, if you wanted to download the full app, you could, but the process is designed to remove friction from what should be quick interactions. It’s kind of like opening web apps or Chrome Custom Tabs, but with much more power behind it. As explains, the experience isn’t watered down or minimalized in any way. Rather, the user will be using the full app, just targeted to the specific bit they requested:

“To develop an instant app, you’ll need to update your existing Android app to take advantage of Instant Apps functionality then modularize your app so part of it can be downloaded run on-the-fly. You’ll use the same Android As Android Studio project.” 

promises that full Instant Apps SDK will be available “in the coming months.”

Instant Apps will work on Android versions going all the way back to lly Bean, but It’s unclear how widespread the rollout for testing is or how will be soliciting feedback from users. en we tried to open a sh link, it still sent us to the ay Store to download the full app.

The impact on you at home: Android Instant Apps have the potential to truly revolutionize the way we use discover apps on our phones, especially those with limited space or running older versions of Android. Developers are constantly looking for ways to reach more users with their apps, Instant Apps is the perfect way to do it, offering a lightweight, universal experience that doesn’t require the download of an app you might not have space for.