Tag Archives: Android Go

Google I/O 2017: Empowering developers to build the best experiences across platforms

By Jason Titus, Vice President, Developer Product Group
It's great to be in our backyard again for Google I/O to connect with developers around the world. The 7,200 attendees at Shoreline Amphitheatre, millions of viewers on the livestream, and thousand of developers at local I/O Extended events across 80+ countries heard about our efforts to make the lives of developers easier -- allowing them to focus on the problems they're trying to solve by minimizing the pain points of building a product.
Earlier this morning, our CEO Sundar Pichai talked about our various billion-user platforms. Whether it's Android or Chrome or the mobile Web, our success would not have been possible without the developer community. And during our Developer Keynote, we covered our heavy investments in tools and services for developers who build on our platforms every day.
We have a lot to cover over the next three days. Let's take a closer look at the major developer news at I/O so far:

Platforms that connect developers to billions of users around the world

  • Android O Developer Preview 2 — Get a look at the next release of Android O focused on fluid experiences that make Android even more useful, and our efforts to optimize battery life, startup time, graphic rendering time, and stability. Early adopters can opt in to the Android O Beta Program at android.com/beta and run Android O now.
  • Project Treble — Last week, we also introduced a new Android framework designed to help reduce the time and effort it takes device makers to upgrade a phone to a new version of Android, starting with Android O.
  • Android Go — We're optimizing Android to run smoothly on entry-level devices, starting with the O release. We're also designing Google apps to use less memory, storage space, and mobile data, including apps such as YouTube Go, Chrome, and Gboard.
  • Kotlin — Android is officially supporting the Kotlin programming language, in addition to the Java language and C++. Kotlin is a brilliantly designed, mature, production-ready language that we believe will make Android development faster and more fun.
  • Android Studio 3.0 Canary — Our new preview includes three major features to accelerate development flow: a new suite of app performance profiling tools to quickly diagnose performance issues, support for the Kotlin programming language, and increased Gradle build speeds for large sized app projects.
  • Mobile Web — AMP and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are re-defining modern mobile web development. AMP gets content in front of users fast and PWAs deliver app-focused experiences that are reliable, fast and engaging. We're seeing success stories from all around the world - travel company Wego has rolled out a successful AMP based PWA and Forbes has seen user engagement double since launching a PWA. If you're wondering how good your current web experience is, you can use Lighthouse - an automated tool for measuring web-page quality. Be sure to tune in this afternoon for the Mobile Web: State of the Union talk to hear more about building rich mobile web experiences.

Infrastructure and services to take mobile apps and the Web to the next level

  • Firebase — At last year's I/O, we expanded Firebase to a full mobile development platform with products to help you build your app and grow your business. Over a million developers now use Firebase, and we're doubling down on our efforts to simplify more every-day developer challenges. We're giving more insights to understand app performance through Firebase Performance Monitoring, introducing integration between Hosting and Cloud Functions, adding support for Phone Number Authentication, and continuing to improve Analytics in a number of ways. We've also started open sourcing our SDKs.
  • Mobile web developer certifications — At I/O'16 we launched the Associate Android Developer Certification. This year, we're adding two new certifications for web developers: the Mobile Sites Certification and the Mobile Web Specialist Certification.

Powerful tools to acquire and engage new users; grow successful businesses

  • Google Play Console — We announced several powerful, new features and reports in the Play Console to help developers improve their app's performance, manage releases with confidence, reach a global audience, and grow their business. The Play Console also has a new name, to reflect its broadened business uses, and a fresh look to make it easier to get things done.
  • Android Instant Apps — We opened Android Instant Apps, a new way to run Android apps without requiring installation, to all developers. Now anyone can build and publish an instant app. There are also more than 50 new experiences available for users to try out from a variety of brands, such as Jet, New York Times, Vimeo and Zillow.
  • Payments, Monetization & Ads — We introduced a Google Payment API that enables developers to give their customers the ability to pay in apps and online with credit or debit cards saved to their Google Account. New AdMob integration with Google Analytics for Firebase helps them monetize efficiently and updates to Universal Apps Campaigns will help them grow their user base.

New interfaces to push the limits of what's possible

  • Actions on Google for the Google Assistant — We brought Actions on Google to phones, introduced new features and functionality, improved our SDK and more. We also launched the Actions Console, a new developer console that helps developers work as a team, and collect data on app usage, performance and user discovery patterns. This new console is integrated with the Firebase and Google Cloud consoles.
  • VR and AR at Google — We'll have more to share on the latest Daydream platform features and developer tools during our "VR and AR at Google" session tomorrow (May 18) at 9:30 AM PT in the Amphitheatre and on the livestream.
It's important to us that developers are successful. In addition to building products that help solve developer challenges, we're on the ground in over 130 countries, growing and expanding the developer community through programs such as Women Techmakers & Google Developer Groups (GDGs). We're also investing in training programs like Google Developers Certification and courses through Udacity and other partners to help developers deepen their technical capability. We're also excited to announce two large multi-product developer events, Google Developer Days, which are planned for Europe (September 2017 in Krakow, Poland) and India (December 2017 in Bangalore, India). If you are interested to find out more, sign up for updates on g.co/gdd2017.
During Google I/O, attendees and viewers have an opportunity to dive deep into a number of these areas with 14 content tracks and 140+ breakout sessions -- covering Android to Assistant to VR -- and all livestreamed. We've also launched over 70 codelabs to get developers up and running with our latest APIs today.
Whether it's Android, Chrome, Play, VR/AR, the Cloud, and the Mobile Web — we're constantly investing in the platforms that connect developers to billions of users around the world. Thank you to the continued support and feedback from the developer community.

What’s New in Android: O Developer Preview 2 & More

Posted by: Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

android-o-logo.png
With billions of Android devices around the world, Android has surpassed our wildest expectations. Today at Google I/O, we showcased a number of ways we’re pushing Android forward, with the O Release, new tools for developers to help create more performant apps, and an early preview of a project we call Android Go -- a new experience that we’re building for entry-level devices.
Fluid experiences in Android O
It's pretty incredible what you can do on mobile devices today, and how easy it is to rely on them as computers in our pockets. In the O release we've focused on creating fluid experiences that make Android even more powerful and easy to use, and today we highlighted some of those:
  • Picture-in-picture: lets users manage two tasks simultaneously, whether it’s video calling your friend while checking your calendar, or reading a new recipe while watching a video on a specific cooking technique. We’ve designed PIP to provide seamless multitasking on any size screen, and it’s easy for apps to support it.
  • Notification dots extend the reach of notifications, a new way for developers to surface activity in their app, driving engagement. Built on our unique and highly regarded notification system, dots work with zero effort for most apps - we even extract the color of the dot from your icon. 
  • Autofill with Google simplifies setting up a new device and synchronizing passwords by bringing Chrome's Autofill feature to Android. Once a user opts-in, Autofill will work out-of-the-box for most apps. Developers can optimize their apps for Autofill by providing hints about the type of data expected or add support in custom views. 
  • A new homescreen for Android TV makes it easy for users to find, preview, and watch content provided by apps. Apps can publish one or more channels, and users can control the channels that appear on the homescreen. You’ll be able to get started with creating channels using the new TvProvider support library APIs
  • Smart Text Selection: In Android O, we’re applying on-device machine learning to copy/paste, to let Android recognize entities like addresses, URLs, telephone numbers, and email addresses. This makes the copy/paste experience better by selecting the entire entity and surfacing the right apps to carry out an action based on the type of entity.
  • TensorFlow Lite: As Android continues to take advantage of machine learning to improve the user experience, we want our developer partners to be able to do the same. Today we shared an early look at TensorFlow Lite, an upcoming project based on TensorFlow, Google’s open source machine learning library. TensorFlow Lite is specifically designed to be fast and lightweight for embedded use cases. Since many on-device scenarios require real-time performance, we’re also working on a new Neural Network API that TensorFlow can take advantage of to accelerate computation. We plan to make both of these available to developers in a maintenance update to O later this year, so stay tuned!  
(L) Android O: Picture-in-picture, (R) Android O: Notification dots

Working on the Vitals in Android
We think Android’s foundations are critical, so we’re investing in Android Vitals, a project focused on optimizing battery life, startup time, graphic rendering time, and stability. Today we showcased some of the work we’ve done so far, and introduced new tools to help developers understand power, performance, and reliability issues in their apps:
  • System optimizations: in Android O, we’ve done a lot of work across the system to make apps run faster and smoother. For example we made extensive changes in our runtime - including new optimizations like concurrent compacting garbage collection, code locality, and more. 
  • Background limits: up to now it’s been fairly easy for apps to unintentionally overuse resources while they’re in the background, and this can adversely affect the performance of the system. So in O, we've introduced new limits on background location and wi-fi scans, and changes in the way apps run in the background. These boundaries prevent overuse -- they’re about increasing battery life and freeing up memory.
  • New Android Vitals Dashboards in the Play Console: today we launched six Play Console dashboards to help you pinpoint common issues in your apps - excessive crash rate, ANR rate, frozen frames, slow rendering, excessive wakeups, and stuck wake locks, including how many users are affected, with guidance on the best way to address the issues. You can visit the Play Console today to see your app's data, then learn how to address any issues.
Android Go
Part of Android’s mission is to bring computing to everyone. We’re excited about seeing more users come online for the first time as the price of entry level smart phones drop, and we want to help manufacturers continue to offer lower-cost devices that provide a great experience for these users. Today we gave a sneak peek of a new experience that we’re building specifically for Android devices that have 1GB or less of memory -- Internally we call it “Android Go,” and it’s designed around three things
  • OS: We’re optimizing Android O to run smoothly and efficiently on entry-level devices
  • Apps: We’re also designing Google apps to use less memory, storage space, and mobile data, including apps such as YouTube Go, Chrome, and Gboard. 
  • Play: On entry-level devices, Play store will promote a better user experience by highlighting apps that are specifically designed for these devices -- such as apps that use less memory, storage space, and mobile data -- while still giving users access to the entire app catalog.
The Android Go experience will ship in 2018 for all Android devices that have 1GB or less of memory. We recommend getting your apps ready for these devices soon -- take a look at the Building for Billions to learn about the importance of offering a useful offline state, reducing APK size, and minimizing battery and memory use.

O Developer Preview 2, Now in Public Beta
Today’s release of O Developer Preview 2 is our first beta-quality candidate, available to test on your primary phone or tablet. We’re inviting those who want to try the beta release of Android O to enroll now at android.com/beta -- it’s an incredibly convenient way to preview Android O on your Nexus 5X, 6P, and Player, as well as Pixel, Pixel XL, or Pixel C device.

With more users starting to get Android O on their devices through the Android Beta program, now is the time to test your apps for compatibility, resolve any issues, and publish an update as soon as possible. See the migration guide for steps and a recommended timeline.

Later today you’ll be able to download the updated tools for developing on Android O, including the latest canaries of Android Studio, SDK, and tools, Android O system images, and emulators. Along with those, you’ll be able to download support library 26.0.0 beta and other libraries from our new Maven repo. The change to Maven from SDK Manager means a slight change to your build configuration, but gives you much more flexibility in how you integrate library updates with your CI systems.

When you’re ready to get started developing with Android O, visit the O Developer Preview site for details on all of the features you can use in your apps, including notification channels and dots, picture-in-picture, autofill, and others. APIs have changed since the first developer preview, so take a look at the diff report to see where your code might be affected.

Thanks for the feedback you’ve given us so far. Please keep it coming, about Android O features, APIs, issues, or requests -- see the Feedback and Bugs page for details on where to report feedback.