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Google bringing handy Xbox and PS4 feature to Android

Android gamers could soon enjoy playing games before the application has finished downloading, according to newly-unearthed information.

With the quality and file sizes of the big name Android games ever increasing users are having to wait longer and longer before they can dig into the action.

However, that could soon change if Google implements a new Incremental File System, which could allow the necessary parts of a game (such as the intro) to be downloaded and accessible while the rest of the title downloads in the background.

Should the game reach a point where a data block is yet to be downloaded, so-called “hot blocks” will be loaded in order to avoid loading screens. Google says it can “frictionlessly wait for [temporarily] missing data.”

Related: Android 11

It’s similar to how both the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PS4 consoles, with their giant install sizes for games, enable users to start gaming while the bulk of the title installs.

The news comes from XDA Developers (via Android Police), who spied documentation Google submitted back in May. It says Google is currently testing the feature on a Pixel 4 XL smartphone.

The document explains the Incremental File System as a “special-purpose Linux virtual file system that allows execution of a program while its binary and resource files are still being lazily downloaded over the network, USB etc.”

However, we may not see this feature within this year’s Android 11 release, according to the report. Apps will need to reworked in order to make this functionality a reality, so it’s probably a candidate for Android 12 in 2021.

According to the report, the feature won’t be limited to just games, but will work with other large apps too. All in all, it could prove to be quite a significant change in the way Android apps are packaged and could save as all a few minutes in waiting.

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