At this time, I have been unsuccessful generating a signed aab file for upload to Google Play from Android Studio. Still, others may have more success following these steps, since their environment will be different from mine. These steps are reasonably complete that you might try it out.
Google Play wants us to submit an .aab file instead of an .apk file so that Google Play could download just the files the user needs at the first download. (At this time, Google Play still accepts .apk files, however.) This could result in significant app install memory savings. You can learn more about this here: https://developer.android.com/guide/app-bundle
Until we have an automated command-line process from Apache Cordova, we can make this file with Android Studio. Here are the steps to do so. While making this article, I came across many errors in trying to make this process work. I ironed out the errors and pieced this workflow together so it is streamlined, otherwise it would have been twice as long to read about all my dead ends. (Along the way, I created an SDK. I’m not sure it is needed for these steps to work.)
When done, I deleted my project and started from scratch to make sure these steps worked. Continue reading