At the I/O 2016, Google for the first time talked about the Instant Apps for Android. With the Instant Apps, the Android users can run the supported apps without installing them. In October 2017, Google also brought Instant Apps to the Play Store with the ‘Try it Now’ button. Till date, there are only 13 apps in the Play Store that offer ‘Try it Now’ feature. While there quite a few apps which use Instant Apps technology for their mobile websites, we don’t think the response received from the developers or users is what the company might have expected.
Now, China is betting big on the Instant Apps-like technology by launching a new unified standard called Fast Application. All the major Chinese smartphone manufacturers including Xiaomi, Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Meizu, Lenovo, and ZTE will be adopting this new technology. Since the Google services are banned in China, the Android smartphones in the region will be sold without Play Store. Every single Chinese manufacturer has their own app store, and the developers have to make small tweaks based on the respective app stores.
With the new Fast Application standard, the apps can be used without downloading or installing. These apps will be built on H5, a version of HTML5 developed in China. Since the apps are built for a unified platform, the developers can minimize their development and distribution costs. The framework required for the Fast Apps will be deeply integrated into their operating systems by all the nine phone manufacturers. These apps will use the front-end technology stack and offers the same experience as the native apps.
However, Instant Apps-like apps are not new for the Chinese smartphone users. In 2017, WeChat first announced the “Mini Program” that let users access any supported app within the WeChat app. As of now January 2018, WeChat Mini Program includes 580,000 apps that can be used without downloading from Play Store or App Store. The “Fast Application standard” launch event will be held on March 20th in Beijing. We will get to know more details about this new standard on the launch day. Stay tuned on PhoneRadar more details.