Android market will support multiple APK files from the same app. APK is the android package kit or the executable of an android app which sits on your Android phone. Till now a developer can only push one APK file for the application. What this means is, the developer has to pick the best platform his app will run on and release the app, alienating several other users who are running the Android OS on different contraptions of different screen sizes and configurations.
Android is already suffering from the evil of fragmentation. If you take any iOS device there are only 2 operating system versions it can run on. Not the same case with Android. If Google allows multiple APK’s to run, wouldn’t it be a problem for the customers to deal with it?
Wouldn’t it create more problems than it solves? To the app downloader, it will be oblivious. Android market will handle all the versions as a single product listing and depending on the device you have registered with, the app compatibility is checked by the market and the apk is provided for download accordingly. Now the app developer can maintain an app version for Froyo and Gingerbread. This might actually solve some of the app compatibility problems we typically see in Android apps.
Multiple APK support gives you a variety of ways to control app distribution. For example, you could use it to create separate APKs for phones and tablets under the same product listing. You could also use it to take advantage of new APIs or new hardware capabilities without impacting your existing customer base. (Android dev blog)
Would it mean more apps for tablets?
Android tablets are dime a dozen but when it comes to apps, they are no match to iPad. I still see manufacturers releasing tablets with 1 GHz processors and 10 inch screen but with Android 2.2 running on them. People don’t just buy tablets. They buy an experience that comes with it, which can only be enhanced with apps.
With multiple APK support, developers will be encouraged to develop apps for bigger screen Android devices like tablets without losing on the original app audience. I don’t expect to see a surge in the Android tablet apps, but there will be a definite progress at least from the top app makers.