Android users can identify all too well with the scenario of wanting to get something done only to realise an app download from the Play Store was required. Whilst opening the Store, searching for the app in question, and waiting for it to download and install might not come across as an incredibly tedious task, Google nevertheless felt they had to improve the situation by introducing – in beta – app streaming for some apps.
Play Store? What Play Store?
The concept of “app streaming” is not much different in practice to a remote desktop session on Windows, except here you’re on an Android device and streaming an Android app. From the appropriate search result on the mobile web, you can now choose the option to “stream app” and instead of being greeted with a Play Store ‘download’ button, you’ll get a screen view of a remote Android device running that app. This means you can interact with the app as you would a regular app actually installed on your device, except of course that this app wouldn’t be installed at all.
The objective of this sort of app streaming platform is best seen with smaller companies whose only product is an app (with their website hosting an App or Play Store link to it). Not forcing users to download and install their app but still giving them the functionality of it, as far as the company is concerned, is a great way of increasing user engagement with their product.
Unfortunately for us in South Africa, the usual “high bandwidth” caveat applies: app streaming requires a fairly large amount of data and predictably, a good connection. Also, the apps that currently support the feature (such as HotelTonight) are US-only for now so this remains an interesting concept for us, until Google casts its feature-net wider to our shores.
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Author: Matthew de Neef
Date originally published: 14/01/16