Mobile apps provide a better user experience than browser-based web apps. However, users have to hunt for them on app stores, download them, and importantly, remember to install them. Google simplifies this to a much lower level through its new ‘Instant Apps’, announced at its I/O developer conference.
Instant Apps allows the users to use native apps almost instantly — even when the user hasn’t previously installed them — simply by tapping on a URL. For a developer, this means that he/she has to divide their apps into small parts that can start functioning within a few seconds. Otherwise, it is the same Android APIs, project, and the source code. The developer simply updates his existing Android app to take advantage of Instant Apps functionality.
Instant App functionality is designed to be compatible on Android devices going back to Jelly Bean. To elucidate the new feature further on a real-life scenario, Google explains it this way — the user is in a new city and want to pay for parking with a parking app. The user simply hold the phone to the parking meter, the built-in NFC chip reads the info, and the native app appears almost instantaneously. There is no need to download the app or even log in (or to uninstall it later). The experience thus, turned seamless.
However, it will be available to users only later this year. Now the feature is announced to gather input from developers.