Instant Apps among top new features for Android users

Google's Android N mobile operating system will have multi-window support that lets users run two applications at the same time on one screen.
Google's Android N mobile operating system will have multi-window support that lets users run two applications at the same time on one screen.PHOTO: GOOGLE

Android users will be getting a whole host of features that improve their mobile experience later this year, Google announced recently at its I/O developer conference.

One of the most useful is Instant Apps, which allows users to access content in apps that aren't installed in their phones.

For example, someone could link you to a recipe from an app they have but you do not. With Instant Apps, you will be able to click that link, and open and view the recipe as though you had the app installed.

Anything that can be performed within the app - such as purchasing items, viewing 3D photos, checking bus times - can be done without your need to download the app.

There are currently two million apps on the Google Play Store, where users go to download Android apps. Instant Apps thus gives users direct access to more of such apps they otherwise may not download, provided the developers update their apps to support it.

Besides Instant Apps, the other attention-grabber at the Google I/O developer conference is the Android operating system's latest version upgrade, which is still going by the name of Android N and is expected to be available later this year.

With this version, users will be able to run multiple apps on one screen, thanks to multi-window mode, such as both a calculator app and a notes app for doing expense calculations.

They will also be able to quickly switch between the current app and the last used app by double-tapping the "recents" button.

Android N also contains improvements on the developer side to make things speedier under the hood. A new 3D software engine will let games run faster and smoother, while an upgraded compiler will install apps faster and have their installation size reduced as well.

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2016, with the headline 'Instant Apps among top new features for Android users'. Print Edition | Subscribe