Google raises maximum size for Android apps to 4GB
Google Developer Advocate Tim Bray has announced on the Android Developers blog that, effective immediately, the maximum size of Android applications delivered via the Android Market will be raised to 4GB. Up until now, Android apps had a maximum size limitation of 50MB. While this is enough space for the majority of applications on the Market, several programs, especially games, would need to open a separate download dialog on first run to fetch assets that did not fit within the 50MB size limit. With the new policy, Google gives application developers a lot more space to work with.
The size of an application's APK file is still limited to 50MB with the new policy but developers have the option to include up to two 2GB expansion files. Google recommends that one of these files is used as the initial download of assets and that it should only be changed when absolutely necessary, while the second (possibly smaller) file should be used for patches and updated content within the application. The second file would be versioned and re-downloaded with every update. All of these files will be hosted on the Android Market with Google shouldering the bandwidth for all downloads, where before developers had to host these assets themselves.
One of the advantages this move has for Android users is that they can now see the size of the complete download directly on the Market before downloading the app. Google has also said that the 15 minute refund period will only start when all downloads have been completed. Previously, it was easy to exceed the trial period by downloading the resources for some bigger applications, making it impossible for the user to test them properly and denying them the option to get a refund.
Google has provided sample code and libraries for developers wanting to use the new system for their applications. These resources are available through the Android SDK Manager. More information on the new process can be found in the documentation pages for the new APK expansion files system.