Amazon’s Appstore has been around for a long, long time, but it recently came under the spotlight with Microsoft’s Windows 11 announcement. It will be the platform that will enable installing Android apps on Windows PCs, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions, especially regarding technical implementations. The Amazon Appstore itself hasn’t exactly been renowned for its advanced features, but the e-commerce giant is now making a public commitment to bringing it up to speed with Google’s next-gen Android App Bundle format.
APKs has always been Android’s standard package format and will remain to be so even with App Bundles. In a nutshell, Android App Bundles is a new publishing format that will generate APKs that are specific to a device, without any of the parts that are applicable to other devices but not to yours. It aims to make packages smaller so that they download faster and also includes provisions for downloading other parts of the app, like game assets, for later.
Google promised that AABs don’t really take away the ability of developers to create APKs for distribution on other app stores, but the App Bundle format and features seem quite specific to be used with Google Play Store only. That’s why it comes as a surprise that Amazon is announcing that it is working on supporting Android App Bundles. This means that those publishing on Amazon’s Appstore will be able to take advantage of those same benefits without having to publish on Google Play Store only.
It will be interesting to see how Amazon will manage this feat, and it isn’t giving any hard dates to avoid getting developers’ hopes up. It will also be completely optional even for new apps, unlike on Google Play Store where new apps need to use App Bundles, no questions asked.
If Amazon manages to pull this off before Windows 11’s stable release, it will definitely help push its Appstore to the forefront of the Android ecosystem. Depending on how it’s implemented, it could also become Google Play Store’s biggest competition, allowing Android developers to target not just phones but also PCs and wooing them towards Amazon’s app ecosystem and away from Google’s.