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Instant Apps Google Android Smartphone Image Credit: PCWorld
Instant Apps Google Android Smartphone Image Credit: PCWorld

Android Instant Apps: What They Are And How To Use Them On Your Phone

Get apps—no downloading required.

Michael Simon

Now that Google’s Instant Apps (go.pcworld.com/inap) have made it to the Play Store, you can expect to see a lot more of them. While the initial rollout is limited to just a handful of apps, dozens of apps and games will soon be available in instant form. But what exactly are Instant Apps? And how do you get them on your phone? We’re here to help you get started:

WHAT ARE INSTANT APPS?

Instant Apps are the next step in app evolution, a universal Android solution that brings the speed and power of a native app with the ease and immediacy of a web app. They look and operate just like one of the apps that are installed on your phone, but you don’t need to download anything.

SO INSTANT APPS DON’T LIVE ON MY PHONE?

Correct. Using an Instant App is similar to browsing a webpage. Once you close the window, it disappears.

ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS?

Yes and no. Instant Apps don’t have any technical limitations, and developers can deliver things like account signup, purchasing, and videos, just like they would in a regular app. However, Instant Apps can be specifically targeted, so a developer could choose to deliver a certain portion of their app to a user at a specific time. That would effectively “lock” the rest of


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