Tag Archives: Android Studio

Quick Boot & the Top Features in the Android Emulator

Posted by Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

Today, we are excited to announce Quick Boot for the Android Emulator. With Quick Boot, you can launch the Android Emulator in under 6 seconds. Quick Boot works by snapshotting an emulator session so you can reload in seconds. Quick Boot was first released with Android Studio 3.0 in the canary update channel and we are excited to release the feature as a stable update today.

In addition to this new feature, we also wanted to highlight some of the top features from recent releases. Since the complete revamp of the Android Emulator two years ago, we continue to focus on improving speed, stability and adding a rich set of features that accelerate your app development and testing. With all the recent changes, it is definitely worth updating to the latest version of the Android Emulator to use it today.

Top 5 Features

  • Quick Boot - Released as a stable feature today, Quick Boot allows you to resume your Android Emulator session in under 6 seconds. The first time you start an Android Virtual Device (AVD) with the Android Emulator, it must perform a cold boot (just like powering on a device), but subsequent starts are fast and the system is restored to the state at which you closed the emulator last (similar to waking a device). We accomplished this by completely re-engineering the legacy emulator snapshot architecture to work with virtual sensors and GPU acceleration. No additional setup is required because Quick Boot is enabled by default starting with Android Emulator v27.0.2.

Quick Boot in the Android Emulator

  • Android CTS Compatibility - With each release of the Android SDK, we ensure that the Android Emulator is ready for your app development needs, from testing backwards compatibility with Android KitKat to integrating the latest APIs of the developer preview. To increase product quality and reliability of emulator system images, we now qualify final Android System Image builds from Android Nougat (API 24) and higher against the Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS)—the same testing suite that official Android physical devices must pass.
  • Google Play Support - We know that many app developers use Google Play Services, and it can be difficult to keep the service up to date in the Android Emulator system images. To solve this problem, we now offer versions of Android System Images that include the Play Store app. The Google Play images are available starting with Android Nougat (API 24). With these new emulator images, you can update Google Play Services via the Play Store app in your emulator just as you would on a physical Android device. Plus, you can now test end-to-end install, update, and purchase flows with the Google Play Store.
  • Performance Improvements - Making the emulator fast and performant is an on-going goal for our team. We continuously look at the performance impact of running the emulator on your development machine, especially RAM usage. With the latest versions of the Android Emulator, we now allocate RAM on demand, instead of allocating and pinning the memory to the max RAM size defined in your AVD. We do this by tapping into the native hypervisors for Linux (KVM) and macOS® (Hypervisor.Framework), and an enhanced Intel® HAXM (v6.2.1 and higher) for Microsoft® Windows®, which uses the new on-demand memory allocation.
  • Additionally, over the last several releases, we have improved CPU and I/O performance while enhancing GPU performance, including OpenGL ES 3.0 support. Looking at a common task such as ADB push highlights the improvements in the Android CPU and I/O pipelines:

    ADB Push Speed Comparison with Android Emulator

    For GPU performance, we created a sample GPU emulation stress test app to gauge improvements over time. We found that the latest emulator can render higher frame rates than before, and it is one of the few emulators that can render OpenGL ES 3.0 accurately per the Android specification.

GPU Emulation Stress Test - Android App

GPU Emulation Stress Test with Android Emulator

More Features

In addition to these major features, there are a whole host of additional features that we have added to the Android Emulator over the last year that you may not be aware of:

  • Wi-Fi support - Starting with API 24 system images, you can create an AVD that both connects to a virtual cellular network and a virtual Wi-Fi Access Point.
  • Google Cast support - When using a Google Play system image, you can cast screen and audio content to Chromecast devices on the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Drag and drop APKs & files - Simply drag an APK onto the Android Emulator window to trigger an app install. Also you can drag any other data file and find it in the /Downloads folder in your Android Virtual Device.
  • Host copy & paste - You can copy & paste text between the Android Emulator and your development machine.
  • Virtual 2-finger pinch & zoom - When interacting with apps like Google Maps, hold down the Ctrl Key (on Microsoft® Windows® or Linux) or ⌘ (on macOS® ) , and a finger overlay appears on screen to aid with pinch & zoom actions.
  • GPS location - Manually select a GPS point or set of GPS points under the Location tab of the Android Emulator.
  • Virtual sensors - There is a dedicated page in the extended controls panel that has supported sensors in the Android Emulator including acceleration, rotation, proximity and many more.
  • WebCam support - You can use a webcam or your laptop built-in webcam as a virtual camera in the AVD. Validate your AVD camera settings in the Advanced Settings page in the AVD Manager.
  • Host machine keyboard - You can use your real keyboard to enter text into the Android Virtual Device.
  • Virtual SMS and phone calls - In the extended controls panel, you can trigger a virtual SMS or phone call to test apps with telephony dependencies.
  • Screen zooming - On the main toolbar, click on the magnify glass icon to enter zoom mode, and then select a region of the screen you want to inspect.
  • Window resizing - Simply drag a corner of the Android Emulator window to change to the desired size.
  • Network proxy support - Add a custom HTTP proxy for your Android Emulator session by going to the Settings page under the Proxy tab.
  • Bug reporting - You can quickly generate a bug report for your app by using the Bug Report section in the extended controls panel to share with your team or to send feedback to Google.

Learn more about the Android Emulator in the Emulator documentation.

Getting Started

All of these features and improvements are available to download and use now with Android Emulator v27.0.2+, which you can get via the SDK Manager in Android Studio. For a fast experience, we recommend creating and running the x86 version of emulator system images, with the latest Android Emulator, Intel® HAXM (if applicable) and graphics drivers installed.

We appreciate any feedback on things you like, issues or features you would like to see. If you find a bug, issue, or have a feature request feel free to file an issue. We are definitely not done, but we hope you are excited about the improvements so far.

Android Studio 3.0

Posted by Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

Android Studio 3.0 is ready to download today. Announced at Google I/O 2017, Android Studio 3.0 is a large update focused on accelerating your app development on Android.

This release of Android Studio is packed with many new updates, but there are three major feature areas you do not want to miss, including: a new suite of app profiling tools to quickly diagnose performance issues, support for the Kotlin programming language, and a new set of tools and wizards to accelerate your development on the latest Android Oreo APIs.

We also invested time in improving stability and performance across many areas of Android Studio. Thanks to your feedback during the preview versions of Android Studio 3.0! If you are looking for high stability, want to build high quality apps for Android Oreo, develop with the Kotlin language, or use the latest in Android app performance tools, then you should download Android Studio 3.0 today.

Check out the the list of new features in Android Studio 3.0 below, organized by key developer flows.

What’s new in Android Studio 3.0

Develop

  • Kotlin Programming Language - As announced at Google I/O 2017, the Kotlin programming language is now officially supported for Android development. Kotlin is an expressive and concise language that is interoperable with existing Android languages and runtimes, which means you can use as little or as much of the language in your app as you want. Kotlin is a production-ready language used by many popular Android apps on Google Play today.

    This release of Android Studio is the first milestone of bundles the Kotlin language support inside the IDE. Many of your favorite features such as code completion and syntax highlighting work well this release and we will continue to improve the remaining editor features in upcoming release. You can choose to add Kotlin to your project using the built-in conversion tool found under CodeConvert Java File to Kotlin File, or create a Kotlin enabled project with the New Project Wizard. Lean more about Kotlin language support in Android Studio.

Kotlin Language Conversion in Android Studio

  • Java 8 Language features - In Android Studio 3.0, we are continuing to improve the support for Java 8 language features. With the migration to a javac based toolchain, using Java 8 language features in your project is even easier. To update your project to support the new Java 8 Language toolchain, simply update your Source and Target compatibility levels to 1.8 in the Project Structure dialog. Learn more.
  • Layout Editor - The component tree in the Layout Editor has with better drag-and-drop view insertions, and a new error panel. Learn more.
  • Adaptive Icon Wizard - The new wizard creates a set of launcher icon assets and provides previews of how your adaptive icon will look with different launcher screen icon masks. Support for VectorDrawable layers is new for this release. Learn more.
  • XML Fonts & Downloadable Fonts - If you target Android Oreo (API Level 26 and higher) for your Android app, you can now add custom fonts & downloadable fonts using XML with Android Studio 3.0.
  • Android Things Support - Android Studio 3.0 includes a new set of templates in the New Project wizard and the New Module wizard to develop for the Android Things platform. Learn more.
  • IntelliJ Platform Update: Android Studio 3.0 includes the IntelliJ 2017.1 release, which has features such as Java 8 language refactoring, parameter hints, semantic highlighting, draggable breakpoints, enhanced version control search, and more. Learn more.

Build

  • Build Speed Improvements - To further improve the speed of Gradle for larger scale projects with many modules, we introduced a rare breaking API change in the Android Gradle Plugin to improve scalability and build times. This change is one of reasons we jumped version numbers from Android Studio 2.4 to 3.0. If you depend on APIs provided by the previous Gradle plugin you should validate compatibility with the new plugin and migrate to the new APIs. To test, update the plugin version in your build.gradle file. Learn more.
  • Google's Maven Repository - To facilitate smaller and faster updates, Android Studio 3.0 utilizes Google's Maven Repository by default instead of using the Android SDK Manager to find updates to Android Support Library, Google Play Services, and Firebase Maven dependencies. Used in combination with the latest command line SDK Manager tool and Gradle, Continuous Integration builds should migrate to Google's Maven Repository for future Maven repository updates. Learn more.

Test & Debug

  • Google Play System Images - We also updated the emulator system images for Android Oreo to now include the Google Play Store. Bundling in the Google Play store allows you to do end-to-end testing of apps with Google Play, and provides a convenient way to keep Google Play services up-to-date in your Android Virtual Device (AVD). Just as Google Play services updates on physical devices, you can trigger the same updates on your AVDs.
    Google Play Store in Android Emulator

    To ensure app security and a consistent experience with physical devices, the emulator system images with the Google Play store included are signed with a release key. This means you will not be able to get elevated privileges. If you require elevated privileges (root) to aid with your app troubleshooting, you can use the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) emulator system images that do not include Google apps or services. Learn more.

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 Support in Android Emulator - The latest version of the Android Emulator has OpenGL ES 3.0 support for Android Oreo system images along with significant improvements in OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics performance for older emulator system images. Learn more.
  • App Bug Reporter in Android Emulator - To help in documenting bugs in your app, we have added an easier way to generate a bug report with the Android Emulator with all the necessary configuration settings and space to capture your repro steps. Learn more.
  • Proxy Support in Android - If you use a proxy to access the Internet, we have added a user interface to manage the HTTP proxy settings used by the emulator. Lean more.
  • Android Emulator Quick Boot (Canary) - One of the most common pain points we hear is that the emulator takes too long to boot. To address this concern, we are excited to preview a new feature to solve this called Quick Boot, which significantly speeds up your emulator start time. Once enabled, the first time you start an AVD a cold boot will occur (just like powering on a device), but all subsequent starts are fast and the system is restored to the state at which you closed the emulator (similar to waking a device). If you want to try it out, ensure you are on the canary update release channel and then you will find v26.2.0 of the Android Emulator in the SDK Manager. Learn more.
  • APK Debugging - Android Studio 3.0 allows you to debug an arbitrary APK. This functionally is especially helpful for those who develop your Android C++ code in another IDE, but want to debug and analyze the APK in the context of Android Studio. As long as you have a debuggable version of your APK, you can use the new APK Debugging features to analyze, profile & debug the APK. Moreover, if you have access to the sources of your APK, you can link the source to the APK debugging flow for a higher fidelity debugging process. Get started by simply selecting Profile or debug APK from the Android Studio Welcome Screen or File → Profile or debug APK. Learn More.
APK Debugging
  • Layout Inspector - In this release we have added a few additional enhancements for the Layout Inspector including better grouping of properties into common categories, as well as search functionality in both the View Tree and Properties Panels. Learn more.
  • Device File Explorer - The new Device File Explorer in Android Studio 3.0 allows you to view the file and directory structure of your Android device or emulator. As you are testing your app, you can now quickly preview and modify app data files directly in Android Studio. Learn more.
  • Android Test Orchestrator Support - When used with AndroidJUnitRunner 1.0 or higher, the Android Gradle plugin 3.0 supports the use of the Android Test Orchestrator. The Android Test Orchestrator allows each of your app's tests to run within its own Instrumentation. Learn more.

Optimize

  • Android Profiler - Android Studio 3.0 includes a brand new suite of tools to help debug performance problems in your app. We completely rewrote the previous set of Android Monitor tools, and replaced them with the Android Profiler. Once you deploy your app to a running device or emulator, click on the Android Profiler tab and you will now have access to a real-time & unified view of the CPU, Memory, & Network activity for your app. Each of the performance events are mapped to the UI event timeline which highlights touch events, key presses, and activity changes so that you have more context on when and why a certain event happened. Click on each timeline to dig into each performance aspect of your app. Learn more.
Android Profiler - Combined timeline view.

CPU Profiler
Memory Profiler
Network Profiler
  • APK Analyzer Improvements - We also updated APK Analyzer with additional enhancements to help you further optimize the size of your APK. Learn more.

To recap, Android Studio 3.0 includes these new major features:

If you are using a previous version of Android Studio, you can upgrade to Android Studio 3.0 today or you can download the update from the official Android Studio Preview download page. As mentioned in this blog, there are some breaking Gradle Plugin API changes to support new features in the IDE. Therefore, you should also update your Android Gradle plugin version to 3.0.0 in your current project to test and validate your app project setup.

We appreciate any feedback on things you like, issues or features you would like to see. If you find a bug or issue, feel free to file an issue. Connect with us -- the Android Studio development team ‐ on our Google+ page or on Twitter

Introducing Android Instant Apps SDK 1.1

Jichao Li, Software Engineer; Shobana Ravi, Software Engineer

Since our public launch at Google I/O, we've been working hard to improve the developer experience of building instant apps. Today, we're excited to announce availability of the Android Instant Apps SDK 1.1 with some highly-requested features such as improved NDK support, configuration APKs for binary size reduction, and a new API to maintain user's context when they transition from an instant app to the installed app.

Introducing configuration APKs

For a great instant app experience, app binaries need to be lean and well structured. That's why we're introducing configuration APKs.

Configuration APKs allow developers to isolate device-specific resources and native libraries into independent APKs. For an application that uses configuration APKs, the Android Instant Apps framework will only load the resources and native libraries relevant to the user's device, thereby reducing the total size of the instant app on the device.

We currently support configuration APKs for display density, CPU architecture (ABI), and language. With these, we have seen an average reduction of 10% in the size of the binaries loaded. Actual savings for a given app depend on the number of resource files and native libraries that can be configured.

As an example, a user on an ARM device with LDPI screen density and language set to Chinese would then receive device-agnostic code and resources, and then only get the configuration APKs that have ARM native libraries, the Chinese language, and LDPI resources. They would not receive any of the other configuration APKs such as the x86 libraries, Spanish language strings, or HDPI resources.

Setting up configuration APKs for your app is a simple change to your gradle setup. Just follow the steps in our public documentation.

Persistent user context after installation

On Android Oreo, the internal storage of the instant version of the app is directly available to the installed version of the app. With this release of the SDK, we are enabling this functionality on older versions of the Android Framework, including Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat devices.

To extract the internal storage of the instant app, installed apps can now call InstantAppsClient.getInstantAppData() using the Instant Apps Google Play Services API and get a ZIP file of the instant app's internal storage.

Check out our code sample and documentation for more details on how to use this API.

Start building your Android Instant App

It's simple to start building your instant app on the latest SDK. Just open the SDK Manager in Android Studio and update your Instant Apps Development SDK to 1.1.0. We can't wait to see what instant app experiences you build with these new features.

Next-generation Dex Compiler Now in Preview

Posted by James Lau, Product Manager

Android developers know that dex compilation is a key step in building an APK. This is the process of transforming .class bytecode into .dex bytecode for the Android Runtime (or Dalvik, for older versions of Android). The dex compiler mostly works under the hood in your day-to-day app development, but it directly impacts your app's build time, .dex file size, and runtime performance.

That's why we are investing in making important improvements in the dex compiler. We're excited to announce that the next-generation dex compiler, D8, is now available for preview as part of Android Studio 3.0 Beta release.

When comparing with the current DX compiler, D8 compiles faster and outputs smaller .dex files, while having the same or better app runtime performance.

* Tested with benchmark project here.
*Tested with benchmark project here.

How to try it?

D8 is available for your preview starting with Android Studio 3.0 Beta. To try it, set the following in your project's gradle.properties file:

android.enableD8=true

We have tested D8's correctness and performance on a number of apps, and the results are encouraging. We're confident enough with the results that we are switching to use D8 as the default dex compiler for building AOSP. There are currently no known issues, but we would love to hear your feedback. You can file a bug report using this link.

What's next?

We plan to preview D8 over the next several months with the Android Studio 3.0 release. During this time, we will focus on addressing any critical bug reports we receive from the community. We plan to bring D8 out of preview and enable it as the default dex compiler in Android Studio 3.1. At that time, the DX compiler will officially be put in maintenance mode. Only critical issues with DX will be fixed moving forward.

Beyond D8, we are also working on R8, which is a Proguard replacement for whole program minification and optimization. While the R8 project has already been open sourced, it has not yet been integrated with the Android Gradle plugin. We will provide more details about R8 in the near future when we are ready to preview it with the community.

Tool developers: get your bytecode tools Java 8 ready

In April, we announced Java 8 language features with desugaring. The desugaring step currently happens immediately after Java compilation (javac) and before any bytecode reading or rewriting tools are run. Over the next couple of months, the desugar step will move to a later stage in the pipeline, as part of D8. This will allow us to further reduce the overall build time and produce more optimized code. This change means that any bytecode reading or rewriting tools will run before the desugar step. If you develop .class bytecode reading or rewriting tools for Android, you will need to make sure they can handle the Java 8 bytecode format so they can continue to work properly when we move desugaring into D8.

Happy dex'ing!

Android Instant Apps is open to all developers. Start building today!

Posted by: Jonathan Karmel, Product Manager

Earlier this year, we began testing Android Instant Apps, a new way to run Android apps without requiring installation. Thanks to our incredible developer community, we received a ton of feedback that has helped us refine the end-to-end product experience.

Today, we're opening Android Instant Apps to all developers, so anyone can build and publish an instant app. There are also more than 50 new experiences available for users to try from a variety of developers, such as HotPads, Jet, the New York Times, Vimeo, and One Football. While these experiences have only been live for a short amount of time, the early data shows positive results. For example, Jet and HotPads are seeing double digit increases in purchases and leads generated.

(left to right: One Football, Dotloop, Jet, Vimeo, HotPads and The New York Times)

Feedback from our early partners has directly shaped the development tools we're making available to all of you today.

To get started building an instant app, head over to developer.android.com and download the latest preview of Android Studio 3.0 and the Android Instant Apps SDK. You'll continue to use a single codebase. Android Studio provides the tools you need to modularize your app so that features can be downloaded as needed. Every app is different, but we've seen with our early partners that with the latest tools, instant app development typically takes about 4-6 weeks.

Once you've built your app, the Play Console provides support for distributing your instant app. You just upload your instant app APKs together with your installable APK.

Instant Apps continues to ramp up on the latest Android devices in more than 40 countries. And with Android O, we've gone further, building a new, more efficient runtime sandbox for instant apps, sharable support libraries to reduce app size, and launcher integration support.

To learn more, visit g.co/InstantApps. We're also hosting a session "Introduction to Android Instant Apps" on Thursday, May 18 from 1:30-2:30 PM PT at the conference to dig deeper into the topic. You'll also be able to watch the live stream on Google I/O YouTube channel.

We are excited to see what experiences you create with Instant Apps!

Java 8 Language Features Support Update

Posted by James Lau, Product Manager

Yesterday, we released Android Studio 2.4 Preview 6. Java 8 language features are now supported by the Android build system in the javac/dx compilation path. Android Studio's Gradle plugin now desugars Java 8 class files to Java 7-compatible class files, so you can use lambdas, method references and other features of Java 8.

For those of you who tried the Jack compiler, we now support the same set of Java 8 language features but with faster build speed. You can use Java 8 language features together with tools that rely on bytecode, including Instant Run. Using libraries written with Java 8 is also supported.

We first added Java 8 desugaring in Android Studio 2.4 Preview 4. Preview 6 includes important bug fixes related to Java 8 language features support. Many of these fixes were made in response to bug reports you filed. We really appreciate your help in improving Android development tools for the community!

It's easy to try using Java 8 language features in your Android project. Just download Android Studio 2.4 Preview 6, and update your project's target and source compatibility to Java version 1.8. You can find more information in our preview documentation.

Happy lambda'ing!

Android Developer Story: Robinhood uses Android Studio to quickly build and test new features

Posted by Christopher Katsaros, Developer Marketing, Android

Robinhood allows users to buy and sell stocks commission-free* in the US. It is designed to make financial investment easy for all users, even if you’ve never traded before.

With a team of two Android developers, the company has relied on fast tools like Android Studio to build rich new features, which have helped make Robinhood the highest-rated stock brokerage app on Google Play.

Watch Robinhood's Joe Binney, VP of Product Engineering, and Dan Hill, Android Developer, talk about how Android Studio is helping them achieve strong growth on Android.


The top Android developers use Android Studio to build powerful and successful apps on Google Play; learn more about the official IDE for Android app development and get started for yourself.

Get more tips and watch other success stories in the Playbook for Developers app.

*Free trading refers to $0 commissions for Robinhood Financial self-directed individual cash or margin brokerage accounts that trade U.S. listed securities via mobile devices. SEC & FINRA regulatory fees may apply.

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Calling all early adopters for Android Studio previews

Posted by Scott Main, Technical Writer

If you love trying out all of the newest features in Android Studio and helping us make it a better IDE, we're making it even easier to download early preview builds with a new website. Here, you can download and stay up to date on all the latest Android Studio previews and other tools announcements.



Android Studio previews give you early access to new features in all aspects of the IDE, plus early versions of other tools such as the Android Emulator and platform SDK previews. You can install multiple versions of Android Studio side-by-side, so if a bug in the preview build blocks your app development, you can keep working on the same project from the stable version.

The latest preview for Android Studio 2.4 just came out last week, and it includes new features to support development with the Android O Developer Preview. You can download and set up the O preview SDK from inside Android Studio, and then use Android O’s XML font resources and autosizing TextView in the Layout Editor.

By building your apps with the Android Studio preview, you're also helping us create a better version of Android Studio. We want to hear from you if you encounter any bugs.

Android Developer Story: LinkedIn uses Android Studio to build a performant app

Posted by Christopher Katsaros, Developer Marketing, Android


LinkedIn is the world's largest social network for professionals. LinkedIn has 10 apps on Google Play, including the flagship LinkedIn app, which provides all of the same features users find on the web, so users can do things like browse and send messages to their professional network with an improved user experience.

For LinkedIn, and other teams with a large number of developers adding code to a project, making sure that everyone pays attention to areas that affect performance is vital for the quality of their app. That's why the the LinkedIn mobile team uses Android Studio to build high quality Android apps.

Watch Pradeepta Dash, Engineering Manager for Infrastructure at LinkedIn, as well as Drew Hannay, Tech Lead for the Android Infrastructure team, talk about how Android Studio helps everyone on their team stay focused on these topics while getting new engineers quickly up and running:


The top Android developers use Android Studio to build powerful, successful apps for Google Play; you can learn more about the official IDE for Android app development, and get started for yourself.

Get more tips and watch more success stories in the Playbook for Developers app.

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Android Developer Story: LinkedIn uses Android Studio to build a performant app

Posted by Christopher Katsaros, Developer Marketing, Android


LinkedIn is the world's largest social network for professionals. LinkedIn has 10 apps on Google Play, including the flagship LinkedIn app, which provides all of the same features users find on the web, so users can do things like browse and send messages to their professional network with an improved user experience.

For LinkedIn, and other teams with a large number of developers adding code to a project, making sure that everyone pays attention to areas that affect performance is vital for the quality of their app. That's why the the LinkedIn mobile team uses Android Studio to build high quality Android apps.

Watch Pradeepta Dash, Engineering Manager for Infrastructure at LinkedIn, as well as Drew Hannay, Tech Lead for the Android Infrastructure team, talk about how Android Studio helps everyone on their team stay focused on these topics while getting new engineers quickly up and running:


The top Android developers use Android Studio to build powerful, successful apps for Google Play; you can learn more about the official IDE for Android app development, and get started for yourself.

Get more tips and watch more success stories in the Playbook for Developers app.

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