Android Market Now Allows Developers to Upload Multiple APKs for the Same App


The Android Team is taking yet another step to help cut down on issues related to device fragmentation by introducing multiple APK support to the Android Market. Developers can now upload APKs targeting specific device elements such as screen size, Android version, and hardware elements while maintaining app ratings, comments, and statistics under a single listing. This would allow a developer to upload a tablet version of an app and a smartphone version, with the Android Market intelligently deciding which APK to push to the user. The benefit is obvious in this situation. Multiple APKs provide developers with the ability to diversify their product without re-listing their app. This could also mean not slighting users on older Android versions when an app is updated to take advantage of a feature found in a newer OS build. Google hasn’t quite cracked the platform fragmentation issue, but with recent measures the headaches arising from it are becoming a thing of the past.

[via Android Developers Blog]

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  1. I can see the positive, yes.

    I know nothing about the details of this policy, but my imagination immediately went to work.
    Imagine install an app, next thing you know you have “Bing Search” installed on your phone when it wasn’t there before. Crapware now bundled with apps?

  2. But I’ve already purchased both Swiftkey (Phone) and Swiftkey (Tablet)

  3. @robojerk

    That’s not possible with this change. Users still only get 1 apk installed with each app from Market. The difference is, for example, an App that includes super high res images for tablets doesn’t have to include those images in the installed file that goes on low end phones because each can get a customized APK with only the resources they need.

    Also if a developer has an app that works on 1.5+ but is really dying to incorporate super new features that really can’t work for everyone, instead of dropping support for 1.5 entirely, they can leave the old version of the app available for 1.5 forever in the future so that at least they have something they can still install instead of searching for market and finding nothing (because phone version is too low to see it).

  4. So does this mean that all the apks will be tied to the same market page, and when you go to download it, the market will choose the best apk file based on your phone type/specs?

  5. I hope this could mean having access to older versions of the apk. I get tired of an update breaking it or an OS update breaking it.

  6. This is a loaded gun. Smart developers will use with caution, and only in cases where it makes sense. No-so-smart developers will overuse, fragment their code base in unholy ways, and blame Android “fragmentation” for their maintenance woes.

    Point gun at own foot, take careful aim, squeeze trigger…

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