We are living in an era of instant noodles. People prefer experience before commitment. The same is playing out the app markets. Google introduced feature called ‘Instant App’ on google store and Apple has recently followed with its version of IOS clips on apple store.
So what are instant apps?
Google Play Instant enables native apps and games to launch on devices running Android 5.0 or higher without being installed. By allowing users to run an instant app or instant game, known as providing an instant experience, developers can improve app or game’s discovery, which helps drive more active users or installations.
More recently, at its worldwide developer conference (WWDC 2020, held in full virtual mode because of the coronavirus outbreak), Apple unveiled the next version of iOS. One of its innovations is App Clips, mini apps that can begin running on the device without having to be installed.
This is akin to sample tasting in grocery stores. Instead of making a purchase decision based on advertising or a promotional sample that’s later opened at home, you can try the product on the spot, and if you like it, buy it.
One common use of Instant Apps is to demo ultralight versions of games. In the form of an instant app, the user is offered, say, one level of the game. The main attraction is not having to install anything — you can play right there and then. And if you’d like to play the next level, you can download the full version.
E-commerce businesses can greatly benefit from Instant Apps. They provide their users with instant experience of their products. It means that users don’t need to search for an app on a company’s website or in Google search, which significantly increases brand awareness and quick demo encourages users to download the app.
How does it work?
With Google Play Instant, users can tap on a button in the Play Store, Google Play app, or a website banner to use an app or game without installing it first. There are two options:
- Try now – This type of experience is typically a smaller trial version of an app. For example, developers may want to build the first level of their app as an instant experience and then prompt users to install the full app.
- Instant Play – The “Instant play” app are full experience , not trial versions. Users tap on the Instant play button to use the full app without installing it first
On the iOS side, app clips can be found Clips in Safari, Maps, and Messages, or in the real world in the following ways
- App Clip Code or QR code: Scan the code using the iPhone camera or Code Scanner in Control Center.
- NFC-integrated App Clip Code or NFC tag: Hold iPhone near the NFC tag.
- Safari or Messages: Tap the App Clip link.
- Maps: Tap the App Clip link on the information card
In this blog, we will look particularly at Android’s instant apps.
How does this help my business?
Businesses can derive great benefits by using instant apps. Instant apps enhance user experience due to fast speed and on demand functionality. When users click on an instant app’s URL, they instantly receive the desired content. These apps are easy-to-use, highly responsive, and user-friendly.
Enhance online visibility
Instant apps make it possible to access your app content without downloading it. It will become more discoverable on search engines. People will be able to search your app like websites on the internet resulting in increased traffic. Instant mobile apps enhance traffic and access to more users.
Easy user acquisition
A key advantage of using instant apps is that these apps allow users to complete the desired tasks without forcing them to download and install the application to their devices. With this feature, you can attract users to your app. Since instant apps are built on Google Play Services, a simple app link is enough for users to access lots of features. So, apps can reach millions of users who can simply tap to run the app. The app can also be used via NFC or QR code.
Improve user retention
Instant apps allow users to use the app again and again anytime without installing it. Often users struggle with two main options – mobile web and native apps. Users can install an app for specific features, but when they need free space on their device, unimportant apps are removed first. If your app has poorly optimized ads, it will slow down the app and kill the user experience. Instant apps help you build trust among users as they offer a great experience. Users will be tempted to use your app due to easy-to-use options, fast-speed, and better user experience in your app. So, more users will stick around your service.
Sounds good! Is there a catch?
Well there are some restrictions and dependencies on the use of instant features.
- Each app module shouldn’t exceed the size of 15MB so that the users can download them quickly. The size puts a certain level of limitations on Instant App software development. For example, developers can’t add diverse multimedia elements into the app’s samples, like inserting heavy 3D games or full HD videos, at least for now.
- The instant app must not consume more than 150 MB of storage space on the device.
- Another Instant App-specific is to prevent malicious use of these apps by third parties, Instant App developers restrict them from supporting background services. This ensures that an Instant App won’t send any push notifications, access to external storage, or change device settings without a user’s awareness.
- Android Instant Apps are compatible with any Android devices that have Android 5.0 and above
- Android Instant Apps works for apps built using native code in Java or C++. But apps built with Cordova, PhoneGap, Titanium, and other “build once, deploy everywhere” tools will not work with Instant Apps. Google requires that you make Instant Apps with Android Studio.
Great! How do I build these?
Although Instant Apps is a new feature in the mobile app world, its development process doesn’t differ much from building a traditional app. All the software developers need to do is to modularize their apps so that they allow access to a particular code section. It means that users don’t need to download the whole app but only the part that developers decide to share with them.
Moreover, if software developers already have their apps being in use, they don’t need to build a new Instant App to meet the market demand. As they can customize the existing applications by restructuring the app code.
I already have a full fledged app. Can I make it instant?
Upgrading an existing Android app to an instant app is a pretty easy process. For a seasoned developer, it will take about a couple of days to update an existing medium-size project to support Android Instant Apps functionality.
Developers need not create a new separate app, but they can utilize the existing app code, API, and project to build a new instant app. However, the efforts that you need to put into updating the app rely on the structure of the app. The following are the steps to update an existing app to the instant app.
Step 1: Install SDK and set up the environment
Step 2: Move code to feature module
Step 3: Build module
Step 4: Create an instant app module
Step 5: Define app links
One of the requisites for Instant Apps it’s that they need to be published using the App bundle format which already has a significant advantage over the old apk format.
Are Instant Apps secure?
One challenge for instant apps is the increased perception of inadequate security. After all they are installed ad-hoc. Fortunately, Google has been working on security in Instant Apps for many years. Google Play is central to the success of Instant Apps, and Google is dramatically improving the tools in Google Play to analyze new and existing apps for malicious code. Only apps published on the Google Play App Store will support Instant Apps.
This is big news for security. There are many independent Android app stores, most of which do not have security measures that come even close to those used by Google. By using Instant Apps you assure the source of the app (Google Play) and a prescribed level of security. That’s one less problem you need to tackle.
Instant Apps represent a tech breakthrough in the world of mobile apps. They allow their users to utilize their functionality in one click. This feature creates new opportunities for businesses to advertise and present their products, placing them at users’ fingertips.
If you decide to build your own business app or have an existing app, you should also consider making it instant. This way you’ll make your product easier to reach for potential buyers while improving their customer experience. We at Quantian technologies can help you with both! In case of any questions or to discuss further reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org