Thought that the new Google Play Store update only brought gift cards and wishlists to the table? You’d be wrong, as the 3.8.15 build of the Google Play Store also offers up the new Smart App Updates feature.
Smart App Updates are just what they sound like. Well, in that it’s a pretty smart feature. Essentially, instead of having to re-download the entire application when an update is available, Smart App Updates allows just the new code to be downloaded and then be merged with the existing application. This is most helpful if you have a limited amount of data and aren’t on a WiFi network.
The Android Developers site spells it out a little more:
Smart App Updates
Smart app updates is a new feature of Google Play that introduces a better way of delivering app updates to devices. When developers publish an update, Google Play now delivers only the bits that have changed to devices, rather than the entire APK. This makes the updates much lighter-weight in most cases, so they are faster to download, save the device’s battery, and conserve bandwidth usage on users’ mobile data plan. On average, a smart app update is about 1/3 the size of a full APK update.
It might not be the biggest feature to ever hit the Google Play Store, but we’re more than happy to see that it’s now live, and it should ease some woes of users that only have a small amount of mobile data.
So from now on, your applications might not look like they are completely downloading, but that’s just Smart App Updates doing its thing.