Google introduced app bundles two years ago, which allows developers to split up the components of their apps, and only requires Play Store users to download the components their phone or tablet needs. The feature has drastically cut app download sizes, and now Google will make supporting app bundles a requirement for newly-published applications.
In a "What's new in Google Play" video published on the Android Developers YouTube channel, speaker Milena Nikolic revealed that app bundle support will become a requirement for newly-published applications. The current plan is to start enforcing the requirement sometime in 2021.
The new requirement goes hand-in-hand with the announcement of Play Delivery Assets this week, which will allow developers to feed non-code assets sent as modules through the app bundling system.
App bundles is largely a back-end delivery technology, so most people likely won't notice anything different once app bundles become enforced, except smaller file sizes. There's no word yet on when app bundles will become a requirement for existing apps as well, if it ever happens.
Our sister site, APK Mirror, supports the upload, distribution, and installation of bundled apps. You can get the APKMirror Installer app — currently in beta — to sideload .apkm files well ahead of any deadline.
Google has further clarified its timetable slightly, revealing that developers will have until the second half of 2021 before this move becomes mandatory.
Edited by Jules Wang.