The software "streams" data and code resources to an app from a cloud server when necessary, allowing the app to use only the space it needs on a phone at any given time.
"It''s like how Netflix movies aren''t actually stored on a computer. They are streamed to you as you are watching them," said Saurabh Bagchi, a professor at Purdue University in the US.
"Here the application components, like heavy video or graphics or code paths, are streaming instantly despite the errors and slowdowns that are possible on a cellular network," said Bagchi, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur.
The study shows how the software, called AppStreamer, cuts down storage requirements by at least 85 per cent for popular gaming apps on an Android.
The software, described in the journal Communications of the ACM, seamlessly shuffles data between an app and a cloud server without stalling the game, the researchers said.
Most study participants didn''t notice any differences in their gaming experience while the app used AppStreamer, they said.
Bagchi noted that since AppStreamer works for these storage-hungry gaming apps, it could work for other apps that usually take up far less space.
The software also allows the app itself to download faster to a phone, he said.
The researchers noted that AppStreamer is a type of software known as middleware, located between the apps on a device and the operating system.
AppStreamer could help phones better accommodate 5G connectivity, the researchers said.
5G is a high-speed wireless cellular network that would allow devices to download movies in seconds, and handle other data-heavy tasks much faster than the 4G networks currently available to most phones, tehy said.
Using AppStreamer on a 5G network would mean that an app downloads instantly, runs faster and takes up minimal space on a phone, according to the researchers.
The findings will be presented on February 18 at the 17th International Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks in Lyon, France. PTI SAR