In the past, Android apps have been limited to a 50MB file size. App developers who needed to add extra data, as is the case with most big games, would have to have a secondary, self-hosted download after the user first launched the game. Today, that changes with Google introducing support for up to 4GB of "expansion files". While APKs must still be under 50MB, Google will host two 2GB files that include extra data for developers' apps. Nice!

This will solve a lot of problems for a lot of people, not the least of whom are developers. Since Google is doing the hosting, it's no longer necessary for a game developer to host hundreds of megabytes, or even gigabytes of data on their own servers. Server costs can get huge if you have tons of people downloading your giant game every day, so this will surely be a blessing to large and small developers alike.


Additionally, now the 15-minute refund window won't start until the expansion files have finished downloading (read: the end of that flow chart above, not the beginning like it's been this whole time). Since huge downloads can easily eat up that short refund window even over WiFi, this should help eliminate one of the biggest sources of refund window complaints.

If you're a developer, head on over to the Android Developers Blog at the source link below for more detailed instructions on how to implement this new functionality into your apps.

Update: As has been pointed out in the comments, Google announced this functionality back at I/O 2011. According to the announcement, this functionality should've been available in June of last year. It looks like Google just took its sweet time implementing the service until now.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Edward

    Now we need paypal to pay for apps... Or an Android gift card like an itunes card

    • Hal Motley


      Android does need a giftcard service!

  • sriracha

    looks like "Preform LVL Check" might help with pirated software too. good news for devs on that front.

    glad to see the PNR for refunds has been extended. what about if i buy the app today, but don't install the complete package until tomorrow? will my window still be there 15 minutes after that?

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

      The LVL Check has been there for a long time as long as Developers choose to implement it in their app.

  • http://www.pretentiousname.com Leo Davidson

    Glad to see this change. It should make getting games quite a bit smoother. The quality of the in-game downloaders (and servers) seemed to vary (esp. with letting the phone go to sleep, or server timeouts/retries), and I expect this will resolve those problems.

    Also great that the 15 minute window starts later, although it'd be even better if it started the first time the game was run, since we're not likely to sit waiting for such a large download to happen. Still, it's an improvement on what we had, so that's good.

    I hope adoption of this stuff isn't held back by devs needing to support older phones/OS/market versions.

  • Deltaechoe

    Time for some big games in the market, just make sure you don't download over mobile (unless you are lucky enough to still have a decent unlimited plan)

  • SS
    • Mark

      Yeah, I was wondering that as well. Seems like they forgot.

      • http://androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft Eric Ravenscraft

        Take a look at the update. This was announced back at Google I/O, but never actually made available. The source article is on Google's official Android Developers blog and states that they are only making this service available today.

        Not sure why Google felt the need to announce something would come out in June of last year if they couldn't get it out until now, but the service has not been available. According to Google, now it is.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    I'd also like to point out that now the Market will display the full size of the app for those developers who choose to use this method of extra content delivery. No more "oh shit, I didn't know there was another 1.5GB to download" surprises.

    • Tee

      That's good. I was wondering the same issue myself. It's not fair, if you need to be connected to wlan even you don't know it. There are lots of data plans out there among Android users.

  • chappo2000

    My Evo 4G is feeling a little inadequate...

    • http://www.robot40.com Brad Makula

      sounds like you need to root it.

  • Mark

    I wish I could own a carrier. I would make true unlimited data plans with a soft cap for abusive users at 50GB. The way app sizes are going, you can't even use the fast data plans that carriers tout.

  • Carlos

    That's a decent amount of porn in one app

  • Mikehunt483

    So glad I keep phone and Android seperate. I use wifi on galaxy player and keep my simple sony ericsson for calls etc. Why the heck apps need so many permissions to do simple tasks ie fart generator at a whopping 16mb when all it does is what it says on the tin... Ads ads and more delicious ads...?