Posted by Karen Ng, Director of Product Management and Jacob Lehrbaum, Director of Developer Relations, Android & Play
As Android developers, we all strive to have experiences that people all over the world love. And with people more dependent on your apps than ever, expectations are higher and your jobs as a developer don’t get any easier. Today at Google I / O we described a few ways we can help if this is the case now Android 12 – One of the biggest design changes of all time, Jetpack, Jetpack Compose, Android Studio, and Kotlin help you build beautiful, high quality apps. We’ll also help expand your apps wherever your users go, such as through Wearables and devices with larger screens. You can watch the full developer keynote, but here are some highlights:
Android 12: one of the biggest design updates of all time.
The first beta of Android 12 has just started rolling out and is full of cool stuff. From new security features for users like Bluetooth permissions and approximate location, performance improvements like accelerated jobs and start animations, to delightful experiences with more interactive widgets and stretch overscrolling, this version is one of the biggest design updates for Android ever. More information on Android 12 Beta 1 is here so you can prepare your apps for the consumer release, which will be released later this year. Download the beta and try it out with your apps today!
Jetpack Compose: Get Ready For July 1.0!
Over the past few years, we’ve worked hard to modernize the Android development experience. We’ve listened to your feedback to keep it open – a hallmark of Android – but we’ve been more careful about what to do. You can see this everywhere from Android Studio, a high-performing IDE that can keep up with you, to Kotlin, a programming language that lets you do more with less code, to Jetpack libraries that tackle the toughest problems on mobile devices solve with backward compatibility.
The next step in this offering is Jetpack Compose – our modern UI toolkit for easily creating beautiful apps for all Android devices. We announced Compose here at Google I / O two years ago and have been publicly building it ever since. We listened to your feedback to make sure we got it right. With the Compose Beta earlier this year, developers around the world created some really nice, innovative experiences in half the time, and we were knocked out by the response to the #AndroidDevChallenge!
With the upcoming update of Material You (which you can read more about here), we’ll be adding new material components as well as more support for creating large screens so you can create a beautiful user interface quickly and easily. We’re testing the final bits in Compose under pressure and will be releasing 1.0 Stable in July – so get ready!
Android Studio Arctic Fox: Design, Devices, and Developer Productivity!
Android Studio Arctic Fox (2020.3.1) Beta, the latest version of the official high-performance Android IDE, is out now to help you build high-quality apps easier and faster. We have deployed and updated the tool suite to support three main themes: Speed up your UI design, expand your app to new devices, and increase the productivity of your developers. With this latest version, you can create modern user interfaces with Compose tools, view test results on multiple devices, and optimize debugging databases and background tasks with the App Inspector. We also make your apps more accessible with the Accessibility Scanner and more powerful with the Memory Profiler. And for faster build speeds we have the Android Gradle Plugin 7.0, new DSL and variant APIs. You can find more information about the Android Studio updates here.
Kotlin: the most used language by professional Android developers
Kotlin is the most common primary language used by professional Android developers, according to our recent surveys. In fact, over 1.2 million apps on the Play Store use Kotlin, including 80% of the 1000 best apps. And here at Google we love it too: Kotlin is used by over 70 Google apps such as Drive, Home, Maps and Play. And with a brand new native annotation processing solution for Kotlin designed from the ground up, Kotlin Symbol Processing is available today, a powerful yet simple API for directly parsing Kotlin code that works with libraries like Room at speeds up to Displays 2x faster.
Android Jetpack: write functions, no boilerplate
With Android Jetpack we created a number of libraries to reduce the boilerplate code so you can focus on the code that matters to you. Over 84% of the top 10,000 apps now use a Jetpack library. And today we’re unpacking some new versions for Jetpack, including Jetpack Macrobenchmark (Alpha) to capture large interactions that affect the launch and jolt of your app before your app is released, as well as a new Kotlin Coroutines API the data can be stored more efficiently Jetpack DataStore (Beta). You can read about all updates in Android Jetpack here.
Now the time has come: a big step for Wear
The best thing about modern Android development is that these tools are specifically designed to make it easy for you to build for the next era of Android. This involves activating devices connected to your phone – TVs, cars, watches, tablets -. work better together.
Starting today, we’re taking a big step forward with wearables. First, we introduced a unified platform that was developed together with Samsung and that combines the best of Wear and Tizen. Second, we shared a new customer experience with redesigned Google Apps. And third, a world-class health and fitness service from Fitbit is coming to the platform. As an Android developer, you’ll have more reach and leverage all of the existing skills, tools, and APIs that make your mobile apps great to create a single wearables platform that will be used by everyone around the world.
Whether it’s new Jetpack APIs for Wear, tailored for small screens and designed to optimize battery life, for the Jetpack Tiles API, which lets you create a custom tile for all devices in the Wear ecosystem, there are a number of new features that will help you build on Wear. With a new set of health and fitness APIs created in partnership with Samsung, data collection from sensors and metric calculations is streamlined, consistently and accurately – like heart rate to calories to daily distance – from a trusted source. All of this comes together in new tools, with the release of Android Studio Arctic Fox Beta, like easier pairing for testing apps and even a virtual heart rate sensor in the emulator. And when your app is ready, users will find it much easier to discover the world of Wear apps on Google Play, as the discoverability has been vastly improved. You can find more information on all Wear updates here.
Take advantage of the dynamism of larger screens like tablets, Chrome OS and foldables
With larger screens – tablets, leaflets, and Chrome OS laptops – there is tremendous momentum. People are increasingly relying on large screen devices to keep in touch with family and friends, go to school, or work remotely. In fact, there are over 250 million active large screen Android devices. Last year, Chrome OS grew 92% year over year – five times faster than the PC market. This makes Chrome OS the fastest growing and second most popular desktop operating system. To help you take advantage of this dynamic, we provide APIs and tools to make it easier for you to optimize this experience: for example, you can automatically resize your content using SlidingpaneLayout 1.2.0 and a new, maximum-width vertical navigation rail component more disk space change components to avoid stretched user interfaces and updates to the platform, Chrome OS, and the Jetpack window manager so that apps work better by default. You can find out more here.
The Google Duo optimized experience for foldable devices
This is just a taste of some of the new ways we’re making it easier for you to build quality Android apps. Later today we will be posting more than 20 technical sessions for Android and Play covering a wide range of topics like Background Tasks, Privacy, and Machine Learning for Android, or the Top 12 Tips to Get You Ready for Android 12. If you love building for cars, televisions, and wearables, we’ve got that covered too. You can find all of these sessions – and more – on the I / O website. In addition to the meetings and messages, there are a number of fun ways to virtually connect with Googlers and other developers at this year’s Google I / O. You can check out the Android dome in I / O Adventure, where you can see new blog posts, videos, codelabs, and more. Maybe even test your Jetpack Compose skills or take a virtual tour of the cars in our dome!