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Android Instant Apps are now available to all developers

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After a year of incubation, Android Instant Apps are finally ready for the world. Originally announced at last year's Google I/O, Instant Apps are a way for developers to offer a lightweight version of their Android app without requiring a visit to the Play Store. You just click a link in your web browser and all of a sudden you're using a real Android app, with all the power that implies — other than a few safety restrictions. A few Instant Apps were made available in January as a trial run, and a few other companies have partnered with Google to build instant apps since then, but now at this year's Google I/O the necessary tools have been made available to all developers.

To make an app Instant, developers need to make it modular and compatible with deep links, so users can click on a URL and end up in exactly the part of the app they're looking to use. The initial download also needs to be under a certain size, but users also have the option to download the whole app once they've gotten a taste.

Instant Apps were originally supposed to run on versions of Android as far back as 4.3, but right now they only support 6.0 or newer — though 5.0 support is supposed to be coming soon. The upcoming Android O will add additional improvements to Instant Apps, including the ability to search for and launch Instant Apps from the launcher, as well as add them to your home screen.