SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google has extended the memory size limit of 50MB for Android applications.
The company said that the change is needed to allow developers to engineer code optimised for high-end smartphones, which increasingly are able to handle intensive tasks such as image editing.
Google's Android developer's blog notes that the previous limit was adequate for most apps, adding that "smaller is usually better - every megabyte you add makes it harder for your users to download and get started".
However, it went on to acknowledge that some types of apps, like high-quality 3D interactive games, require more local resources.
According to Google, the size of application package files (APKs) will still be limited to 50MB to ensure secure on-device storage. But developers can now attach up to two expansion files to each APK, each one up to 2GB, for a total of 4GB.
To prevent people from using all their mobile data allowance downloading one super-sized app - and potentially running up a huge bill - users will see the total size of each app before they buy and install it.
On most newer devices, when users download an app from Android Market the expansion files will be downloaded automatically and the refund period won't start until the expansion files are downloaded. On older devices, an app will download any expansion files the first time it runs.
To make life easier for software developers, the Android Market will host the files to save them the hassle and cost of file serving.
Explaining the rationale behind the two expansion files, Google said it recommends that one serve as the initial download and be rarely if ever updated, while the second can be smaller and serve as a "patch carrier". µ