Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering
Last month at Google I/O we talked about what’s new for Android developers, from new features in Android Q to the latest in Kotlin and Jetpack.
With Android Q, we highlighted three themes: innovation, security and privacy, and digital wellbeing. We want to help you take advantage of the latest new technology -- 5G, foldables, edge-to-edge screens, on-device machine learning, and more -- while making sure users' security, privacy, and wellbeing are always a top priority.
We also talked about how we’re going increasingly Kotlin-first, and continuing to expand Jetpack with new libraries like CameraX, Jetpack Security and Jetpack Compose -- a modern reactive-style UI toolkit for Android that takes advantage of Kotlin. If you missed the livestream for the keynotes or tech sessions, make sure to check out the full playlist of Android and Play sessions.
Today we’re releasing Beta 4 with the final Android Q APIs and official SDK -- the time is now to get your apps ready for the final release later in the summer!
You can get Beta 4 today on Pixel devices by enrolling here. If you're already enrolled and received the Beta 3 on your Pixel device, you'll automatically get the update to Beta 4. Partners participating in the Android Q Beta program will also be updating their devices to Beta 4 over the coming weeks.
To get started with Android Q Beta, visit developer.android.com/preview.
What’s in Beta 4?
The Beta 4 update includes the latest Android Q system images for Pixel and Android Emulator, along with the final Android Q developer APIs (API level 29), the official API 29 SDK, and updated build tools for Android Studio. Together, these give you everything you need to test your apps for compatibility with Android Q and build with Android Q features and APIs.
To get started, download the official API 29 SDK and tools into the stable release of Android Studio 3.4, or for the latest Android Q support update to Android Studio 3.5 Beta. Then follow these instructions to configure your environment, and see the release notes for known issues.
Make your apps compatible with Android Q!
With the developer APIs finalized and release candidate builds coming soon, it’s critical for all Android developers to test their current apps for compatibility with Android Q. We recommend getting started as soon as possible.
Just install your current app from Google Play onto an Android Q Beta device or emulator, then test. As you work through the flows, your app should run and look great and handle all of the Android Q behavior changes properly. Watch for impacts from privacy changes, gestural navigation, changes to dynamic linker paths for Bionic libraries, and others.
Make sure that you test with the Android Q privacy features, such as the new location permissions, restrictions on background activity starts, changes to data and identifiers, and other key privacy features. See the privacy checklist to get started, and review the behavior changes doc for more areas to test.
You can use the updated Android Emulator to test your apps for compatibility.
If you plan to update your platform targeting to API 29, also make sure to test with scoped storage, location permission for wireless scans, and permission for fullscreen intents. You can read about other changes that could affect apps here.
It's also important to test for uses of restricted non-SDK interfaces and move to public SDK or NDK equivalents instead. Watch for logcat warnings that highlight these accesses and use the StrictMode method detectNonSdkApiUsage() to catch them programmatically.
Last, make sure to fully test the libraries and SDKs in your app to make sure they work as expected on Android Q and follow best practices for privacy, performance, UX, data handling, and permissions. If you find an issue, try updating to the latest version of the SDK, or reach out to the SDK developer for help. You can also report SDK compatibility issues here.
When you’ve finished your testing and made any updates, we recommend publishing your compatible app right away. This lets Android Beta users test the app now, and helps you deliver a smooth transition to users as they update to Android Q.
We realize that supporting these changes is an investment for you too, and we're working to minimize the impact on your apps and be responsive to your input as we move toward the final release in the coming months.
Enhance your app with Android Q features and APIs
When you're ready, dive into Android Q and learn about the new features and APIs that you can use in your apps. Android Q features can help you engage users, give them more control and security, and even improve your app's performance.
Android Q provides system-suggested replies and actions in notifications.
For example, you can deliver seamless, edge-to-edge experiences on today’s innovative devices by optimizing for foldables and supporting gestural navigation in your app. To engage more users, try supporting Dark Theme, suggested replies and actions in notifications, sharing shortcuts, and settings panels.
Gestural navigation lets you offer an edge-to-edge experience in your apps.
If your app manages IoT devices over Wi-Fi, try the new network connection APIs for functions like configuring, downloading, or printing. If your app manages Wi-Fi internet connections, try the network suggestion APIs as an easier way to surface preferred Wi-Fi networks, without needing to request location permission.
If you use the camera, learn about dynamic depth format. For media, you can use AV1 for video streaming and HDR10+ for high dynamic range video. For speech and music streaming, you can use Opus encoding, and for musicians, a native MIDI API is available.
Dynamic Depth lets you offer specialized blurs and bokeh options in your app.
To support captioning or gameplay recording, enable audio playback capture -- it’s a great way to reach more users and get your app noticed. If your app uses power intensively, try using the new thermal API to optimize app performance based on device temperature.
BiometricPrompt is now the preferred way to support fingerprint auth on modern devices, so all developers using fingerprint or other biometric auth should move to using this API as soon as possible. To make the transition easy, use the backwards-compatible BiometricPrompt API that we’re providing in the AndroidX library. Android Q supports both standard and passive (no confirmation, for face and other passive modes) auth flows.
These are just a few of the many new features and APIs in Android Q -- to see them all, visit the Android Q Beta site for developers.
Publish your app updates to Google Play
Today with Android Q Beta 4 we’re also opening up publishing on Google Play to apps that are compiled against, or optionally targeting, API 29. This means you can now push your updates to users now through Google Play to test your app’s compatibility, including on devices running Android Q Beta 4.
How do I get Beta 4?
It’s easy! Just enroll any supported Pixel device here to get the update over-the-air. If you're already enrolled, you'll receive the update soon and no action is needed on your part. Downloadable system images are also available here. Partners that are participating in the Android Q Beta program will be updating their devices over the coming weeks. See android.com/beta for details.
For even broader testing on supported devices, you can also get Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device you can test on the Android Emulator.
As always, your input is critical, so please continue to let us know what you think. You can use our hotlists for filing platform issues (including privacy and behavior changes), app compatibility issues, and third-party SDK issues. You've shared great feedback with us so far and we're working to integrate as much of it as possible in the next Beta release.
We're looking forward to seeing your apps on Android Q!