If you've tried any of the bigger, beefier Android games, chances are good you likely have come across an initial asset preload method which goes something like this: The application APK downloads and installs from the market, then on first launch, the app reaches out over HTTP and downloads assets over the web which it locates in /sdcard. A good example of this behavior is GTA III which does exactly the above.

Back at Google I/O 2011, Google announced that it would eventually allow developers to host up to 4GB of assets on the market. Today, the Android Market rules are changing to allow exactly that. Developers can now host assets on the Android Market (as opposed to rolling their own hosting and storage, out of pocket), and Market now provides a streamlined means for these assets to be preloaded. Application APK size remains limited to 50MB, however, developers can now include two 2GB expansion stores in whatever format they choose, which are stored in shared storage on the client device. On newer devices, the expansion files are downloaded automatically after the main APK, and on older devices developers can  use a Google-supplied library to manage the download. 

This brings total application size up to 4GB of assets + 50 MB for the actual APK. Google has more details about the APK expansion files up in their developer's guide as well.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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  • keitaro - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    I'm curious about this so I'll pose a few questions about it. I'm assuming that those who snag apps are able to snag it via either 3G/4G or via wi-fi? Worst case scenario is that you snag an app and the additional download is via non-WiFi link. Wouldn't that put you at risk of going overboard for some providers? Or is the system set up to properly warn or prevent you from hitting that cap so quickly? Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    The few apps I've installed that have done this have all popped up a dialog saying the download will occur, an approx size, and giving me the option to cancel. I'm guessing the app devs have done this on their own, but that the Google library will enforce something similar. Reply
  • teiglin - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    The apps I've installed that require additional resources have all explicitly demanded a wifi connection. The market has always warned on large apps but has never prevented me from downloading them over 3G. Regardless, Google has always been careful to avoid abusing people's cellular bandwidth, so I'm sure this feature won't change that. Reply
  • Zingam - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Datacaps at 3 GB ... they used to have a better internet centuries BC. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Considering that I don't think the phone or android knows what kind of contract you are on, how could they prevent you from going over it?
    All they do for me is either warn that a big download is coming or demanding a wifi connection. Which should be enough for everyone.
    Reply
  • Zingam - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Nuff said Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    I think a big limitation to Android and iOS games is the size constraints. While SoC's get better and better by the month developers are limited in what world sizes and number of textures they can put in. Removing this limitation should help. Reply

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