Some Pixel and Nexus owners can begin using Android Instant Apps now

instant apps
Late last month, Google announced it was beginning a limited test for its new Android Instant Apps initiative, a platform that allows users to run software without installing it to their device. Now, the functionality has reportedly reached some Pixel and recent Nexus phones, according to 9to5Google and Reddit.

In typical Google fashion, not all supported devices running the most current versions of 7.0 Nougat are receiving Instant Apps immediately — the company appears to be rolling out the feature slowly, without notifying users. You can check if your phone is ready to start running Instant Apps by visiting the Google > Services submenu inside Settings. Eligible devices will have a toggle for Instant Apps, where the user can opt in.

If you’re one of the chosen few, the method for finding Instant Apps is still a bit counter-intuitive in these early stages. Users have to search for them in Chrome, and currently there are only four known examples: Buzzfeed, Viki, Periscope, and Wish. With any luck, a search result near the top labeled “Instant” should appear, and you can follow that link to run the app.

At this point, not all of the apps are working in all cases, and 9to5Google says it is unclear which devices and versions of Android will receive the feature first. Google has stated it is targeting 4.1 Jelly Bean forward for the full release.

Google is pitching Instant Apps as a solution to the problem of having to install an app you’ll only use once, or just want to test-drive. Think of them as smaller, stripped-down versions of existing apps that disappear from the device the moment they are closed.

When Google announced the initiative in May of last year, it said that about “half a dozen” partners had agreed to embrace the format, including B&H Photo Video, Medium, Hotel Tonight, Zumper, Disney, and the aforementioned Buzzfeed. Instant Apps seem particularly beneficial for uncommon services, like hotel hunting, or impromptu shopping needs, so look forward to similar apps joining the list later on.

Mobile

EU antitrust czar will brief Google CEO ahead of massive fine

Sources close to the European Commission claim Google will likely face a multibillion-dollar fine for anticompetitive practices relating to Android's dominance in the smartphone market.
Mobile

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.
Mobile

Google’s $5.1 billion antitrust fine could mean the end of free Android

The European Commission has fined Google a record breaking $5.1 billion. The EU is accusing the company of severe antitrust infractions related to the search engine giant's handling of the Android ecosystem.
Mobile

Google is replacing some Pixel 2 handsets due to faulty rear cameras

Google’s Pixel 2 smartphones have plenty to recommend them, but they’re not perfect. We've rounded up the most common Pixel 2 issues and Pixel 2 XL problems here and identify workarounds or fixes to help you cope with them.
Mobile

What is Android? All your questions about the operating system answered

Despite being on more than 2 billion phones, it's still possible to be unsure about parts of Android. What is stock Android, what's Oreo, and should you know about Android Go? We've got your answers.
Computing

Chrome is still our favorite browser (but Firefox is catching up!)

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options you have out there. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most…
Mobile

Only Google should be mad about having to change Android

Google has been hit with a massive fine in a landmark antitrust case in Europe, and has been told to change the way it manages its Android operating system, or face a heavier financial hit.
Mobile

Visual snapshots on Google Assistant provides your day at a glance

Google's artificially intelligent bot, Google Assistant, is available on smart home speakers, smart home devices, iOS and Android phones, and it can do a whole lot of work on your behalf. Here are all of its features.
Mobile

Fuchsia could eventually replace Android, but it's years away from doing so

Details have emerged about a new operating system Google's developers are working on dubbed Fuchsia OS. Here's everything we know about Google's mysterious new operating system so far.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2018

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Computing

How to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Product Review

The Moto Z3 Play packs a lot of juice with its included battery mod

Motorola’s latest phone is the mid-range Moto Z3 Play. It costs $500, so why wouldn’t you just get the OnePlus 6? The answer isn’t so simple. There’s a lot to like here, and the phone comes with a battery mod that extends its life…
Mobile

Unlock your phone's hidden potential with these smartphone codes

Turns out cheat codes aren't just for video games; smartphones have hidden features built into them which you can access by punching in specific codes. Here are some of the most useful smartphone codes for Android and iOS.
Mobile

How to improve your Android privacy

If you have an Android device and you’re concerned about your privacy, then we have a few tips for you. Learn about the settings you can change to improve your Android privacy and safeguard your personal data.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Cars

Uber may soon turn into your personalized mini convenience store

Taking an Uber may soon be an all-inclusive experience. The transportation giant recently partnered with Cargo, the startup that offers in-car shopping experiences to those on the move.
Mobile

Best iOS app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps are free for a limited time

Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up fast. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals offered in the iOS App Store.
Mobile

Here’s how to unlock your phone automatically with Android Smart Lock

Tired of unlocking your smartphone with a PIN or passcode? Android Smart Lock unlocks it automatically using your location, face, and more. Here's how to set it up, and everything you need to know about it.
Mobile

FCC begins accepting petitions to deny the T-Mobile and Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are hoping the third time is the charm for a merger. It comes just months after the carriers cited an inability to find common ground, extending yet again the long dance between the two telecom giants.
Mobile

Huawei may use a perforated LCD display to create a bezel-less Huawei Mate 20

Huawei has apparently put in an order for massive, 6.9-inch OLED screens, which will be used on a new smartphone coming later this year. Potentially its 2018 Mate series phone, it will challenge other big-screen devices we're expecting.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Some Samsung phones aren’t alerting users of app background processes

Worried that Facebook is spying on you? Some Samsung phones aren't correctly showing some apps on the App Permission Monitor, so users won't be alerted if an app tries to access certain permissions.