Google Increases Android App Size Limit

Google knows it has some work to do if it wants to catch Apple in the app race. While the search giant certainly has had no problem in attracting consumers to its Android mobile platform, its app market is another story. In order to increase the appeal of Android to developers, Google recently announced that it raised the maximum file size for Android app submissions from 50GB to the current limit of 4GB.

Google’s move is a smart one, as developers can now submit beefier apps that are characterized by the need for more local storage.  Of course, with the constant stream of new smartphones and tablets hitting the market, increasing the app file size limit was inevitable.  New and improved functionalities are being integrated into mobile devices such as dual-core processors, 3D, 4G LTE, and the list goes on.  With that being the case, many developers have started creating more robust apps and games to take advantage of the enhanced device capabilities.  Still, whether it was inevitable or not, Google does deserve credit for its efforts to appease developers and increase Android’s appeal.

Beyond the app size limit increase to 4GB, Google also announced that developers’ APK files would be limited to 50MB.  The reasoning behind the limit is to preserve secure on-device storage.  On a positive note, Google did say that developers will be able to attach two expansion files to their APK.  Each expansion file carries a limit of 2GB.  The downloading of expansion files will differ according to each user’s device.  Newer devices will download the expansion files automatically when the app is installed.  Once the expansion files are downloaded, the refund period will officially commence.  As for older devices, they will download the expansion files through a downloader library the very first time the app runs.

Also noteworthy is Google’s announcement that it will host files uploaded by developers.  Under the company’s prior setup, any developers with content exceeding 50MB had to rely on their own hosting.  Lastly, Android users will be notified of app file sizes before they download and install them.

The increased file size limit is just one recent example of how Google is doing its best to boost the Android app experience for both developers and consumers.  The company recently improved its application tracking statistics to improve developer insight, and it even integrated the Android Market into a new comprehensive content solution dubbed Google Play.  Google also has taken measures to clean up its app market by introducing the Android Market Bouncer to detect phony apps as well as viruses.

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{mospagebreak title=Make Millions as an App Developer}

Make Millions as an App Developer?  It’s Possible, but Not Easy

Joe Kaufmann’s story is one that many mobile app developers aspire to achieve.  Two of his games, The Lost City and The Secret of Grisly Manor, have racked up an excess of 3.5 million downloads to bring in over $1 million in revenue.  Best of all, as the sole employee of his company, Fire Maple Games, Kauffman gets to enjoy the lion’s share of all the profit.

Unfortunately, Kauffman’s success is not the norm in the app industry, as the average developer usually pulls in less than $10,000 per year.  A look at Insurgent Games, a San Francisco-based mobile development company, shows just how rough the app arena can be.  The company’s founders, Micah Lee and Crystal Mayer, decided to give away the source code of its five apps because they “quickly realized that unless you’re incredibly lucky, it’s hard to make enough money developing indie mobile games to pay San Francisco rent.”

While Insurgent Game’s story is probably more of what you’ll find in terms of app developers’ experiences, Kauffman does show that it’s possible to strike it rich if you can come up with the right recipe.  His background as a Flash developer for ten years helped him move into desktop computer game development in 2008.  Although his offerings back then sold for the industry standard $19.95, Kauffman’s current mobile apps can be had for much less.  The Secret of Grisly Manor, for example, is free in an effort to promote The Lost City for $0.99.  Such a pricing model has allowed Kauffman to attract more users.  “It’s more fun to have the volume, to have more people play the games,” he noted.

In addition to favorable pricing, Kauffman’s success can be attributed to the simple fact that people like his games.  He cites the interface as his main focus, since his games cater more towards adult women.  Describing the need to make his games user-friendly, Kauffman said, “A lot of these people are playing games from the first time.”  In terms of marketing, Kauffman avoided gimmicks that are commonplace, such as paying for reviews.  “I did a basic press release.  I didn’t spend money on marketing, or email review sites,” he added.

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