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Progressive Web Apps can now be Downloaded as APK’s on Chrome for Android

by: - Last updated on: January 23rd, 2017

Most of us either download and install Android applications from the App Store while sometimes we download the apk files from external sources and sideload the same on our Android smartphones. However in the recent past apps are becoming rich in features and this obviously means that they require more resources, storage space and not to mention the battery juice. While this is fine (to a certain extent) for the smartphones with high-end hardware, bigger batteries and storage space the entry level and sometimes even the midrange phones buckle.

Progressive apps

We have been seeing a rise in web apps recently and why not, they are lite, cut out the flab while retaining the quintessential features and they don’t gobble up your phones resources. Google has further improved the web apps and has created something called “Progressive Web Apps” which is integrated with the mobile devices and has access to the push notifications. The highlight of the PWA is that they are installed on the home screen of the devices and can be accessed just like any other Android apps.

The best part is that users can create the web apps themselves by clicking on “Add to Home Screen” option from the Chrome menu but again the functionality of the Progressive Web apps depends on the website support. Prior to this Web app needed to be placed on the home screen since they were not actually apps and this did not go well with some users who prefer home screen customization. However, with the Progressive Web Apps going live the web apps can finally be installed as apps and tucked away in app drawers.

chrome://flags/#enable-improved-a2hs

In order to enable these feature users to need to paste the link above into the Chrome for Android address bar which will eventually lead you to a Chrome flag that states as follows,

Android Packages “Progressive Web Apps” so that they can integrate more deeply with Android. A Chrome server is used to package sites. In Chrome Canary and Chrome Dev, this requires “Untrusted sources” to be enabled in Android security settings.

The statement above makes it very clear that the web apps can be turned into actual installable Android packages. Behind the scenes, it uses a back end Chrome server in order to package the website via its APK. Once the flag is enabled just restart the browser and now “Install to Home Screen” will prompt an APK download to your phone. The Progressive Web Apps are right up your alley and if you want the apps serving the right dose of information without the bulk or advanced features it’s worth giving the Progressive Web Apps a well-deserved try.

Source: XDA

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