Android Instant Apps may be one of the coolest announcements that Google made during the I/O 2016 keynote yesterday, and now we had a chance to see the new feature up close…
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In the below video, this Googler demoed two different use cases for Android Instant Apps. The first is a link to a photo in 360, and it even allows users to open and view the content in Cardboard. The second is a demo of buying a product through B&H, allowing the user to see the product in just the part of B&H’s app that the user would want to use. It’s a better experience than the mobile web, and using Android Instant apps allows potential customers access to things like Android Pay that the B&H mobile website might not offer.
It’s a confusing proposal from Google. Surely developers would love for more and more users to try their apps, but if the point of Instant Apps is for them to be used when you just need a single part of the app, what incentive would users have to click the little “Install” button and get the whole thing? If I’m using Instant Apps for something temporary, then that lowers the chances I will download the full app I think. So Google is asking developers to put in more effort to implement this and make their apps even more disposable.
That sounds like a tough bargain to me, but I can definitely see where this might make sense. B&H is a perfect example. We know that commerce on the mobile web is terrible, and if an Instant App gives me the ability to use Android Pay and check out with just a single tap, I’m all for it. That doesn’t mean that I want to install B&H’s full app, though.