Anyone who has ever had both an Android device and an iOS device will be aware of a subtle but in some ways major difference between the two: app sizes. If you go on an iOS device and download a massive game, you might see something like 900MB app size in the menu, and have to wait forever for the app to download. On Android, apps have been restricted to 50MB, forcing major game releases and other big apps to host the actual content somewhere else, and release what’s essentially a shell to the Android Market. There are several issues with this approach, including messing up refund periods if you can’t even get into the main app within the 15 minute period due to it downloading extra data, cases where some devices haven’t been able to pull the data off the external server (an issue my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus often faces with EA games), and blatantly fooling the customer into believing that an app is smaller than it is, perhaps making him or her try to download it over a mobile connection.

As of today’s announcement though, the size cap is raised to 4GB – kind of. The actual .apk installation file will still have to be under 50MB, but the developer can host up to two 2GB files on the Market that goes with it. That way there is no need for self-hosting, and a new system also takes the additional downloads into account when it comes to that 15 minute refund window. Definitely a nice change, and with the high res tablets coming soon, we are destined to get larger apps with higher resolution textures as well.

[Android Developers via AnandTech]