Tag Archives: Featured

Congratulations to the finalists of the Indie Games Showcase from Google Play

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Platforms & Ecosystems Developer Marketing

Google Play Indie Games Showcase Announcements gif

Back in March we opened submissions for the Indie Games Showcase, an international competition for games studios from Europe*, South Korea, and Japan who are constantly pushing the boundaries of storytelling, visual excellence, and creativity in mobile.

We were once again impressed by the diversity and creativity that the indie community is bringing to mobile, and we’re happy to announce the 20 finalists.

Check out the local websites to learn more about the finalists and the events.

European illustration with Eiffel Tower and Matryoshka dolls

Europe

Europe Finalists logos for Indie Games Showcase

AntVentor by LoopyMood (Ukraine)

CHUCHEL by Amanita Design (Czech Republic)

#DRIVE by Pixel Perfect Dude (Poland)

Fly THIS! By Northplay (Denmark)

Fobia by Tapteek (Russia)

G30 - A Memory Maze by Ivan Kovalov (Russia)

Gold Peaks by Afterburn (Poland)

Grayland by 1DER Entertainment (Slovakia)

Hexologic by MythicOwl (Poland)

Lucid Dream Adventure by Dali Games (Poland)

OCO by SPECTRUM48 (United Kingdom)

Ordia by Loju (United Kingdom)

Peep by Taw (Russia)

Photographs by EightyEight Games (United Kingdom)

Rest in Pieces by Itatake (Sweden)

Returner Zhero by Fantastic, yes (Denmark)

see/saw by Kamibox (Germany)

STAP by Overhead Game Studio (United Kingdom)

Tesla vs. Lovecraft by 10tons (Finland)

Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery by Kiary games (Russia)

mt.Fuji and other Japanese emblems

Japan

Japan Finalists logos for Indie Games Showcase

ALTER EGO by 株式会社カラメルカラム

Infection - 感染 - by CanvasSoft

Jumpion - Make a two-step jump ! by Comgate

Lunch Time Fish by SoftFunk HULABREAKS

MeltLand by 個人

ReversEstory by 個人

キグルミキノコ Q-bit -第一章- by 個人

SumoRoll - Road to the Yokozuna by Studio Kingmo

Escape Game: The Little Prince by 株式会社 Jammsworks

Kamiori - カミオリ by TeamOrigami

Bear's Restaurant by 個人

クマムシさん惑星 ミクロの地球最強伝説 by Ars Edutainment

ゴリラ!ゴリラ!ゴリラ!by Gang Gorilla Games

Girl x Sun - Terasene - Tower defence & Novel game by SleepingMuseum

タシテケス by 個人

Destination: Dragons! by GAME GABURI

Cute cat's cake shop by 個人

Persephone by Momo-pi

Hamcorollin' by illuCalab.

Food Truck Pup: Cooking Chef by 合同会社ゲームスタート

Korean space needle and temple

South Korea

South Korea Finalists logos for Indie Games Showcase

다크타운 - 온라인 by 초콜릿소프트

Bad 2 Bad: Extinction by Dawinstone

셧더펑 : 슈팅액션 by Take Five Games

Cartoon Craft by Studio NAP

Catch Idle by HalftimeStudio

Hexagon Dungeon by Bleor Games

Hexonia by Togglegear

Mahjong - Magic Fantasy by Aquagamez

Maze Cube by IAMABOY

Road to Valor: World War II by Dreamotion Inc.

Onslot Car by Wondersquad

ROOMS: The Toymaker's Mansion by HandMade Game

Rhythm Star: Music Adventure by Anbsoft

7Days - Decide your story by Buff Studio

Seoul2033: Backer by Banjiha Games

Super Jelly Pop by STARMONSTER

UNLINK Daily Puzzle by Supershock

몬스터파크 온라인 by OVENCODE

WhamBam Warriors by DrukHigh

언노운 나이츠 by teamarex

We will welcome all finalists at events in London, Seoul, and Tokyo, where they will showcase their games to an audience of players, press and industry experts, for a chance to win the top prizes.

The events are open to the public, so if you would like to meet these games developers, try out their creations, and help choose the winners, sign up on the regional websites.

Congratulations to all finalists!

* The competition is open to developers from the following European countries and Israel: Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland).

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Supporting Google Play developers regarding local market withholding tax regulations

Posted by Gloria On, Program Manager, Google Play

Many developers are increasingly focused on growing their businesses globally, and there were more than 94 billion apps downloaded from Google Play in the last year, reaching more than 190 countries. The regulatory environment is frequently changing in local markets, and in some countries local governments have implemented withholding tax requirements on transactions with which Google or our payment processor partners must comply. We strive to help both developers and Google meet local tax requirements in markets where we do business, and where Google or our payment processor partners are required to withhold taxes, we may need to deduct those amounts from our payments to developers.

Due to new requirements in some markets, we'll be rolling out withholding taxes soon to all those doing business in those countries. We wanted to bring this to the attention of Google Play developers to allow you time to prepare for these upcoming changes and take any necessary measures to meet these obligations. We strongly recommend developers consult with a professional tax advisor on your individual tax implications in affected markets and for guidance on the potential impact on your business so that you can make any necessary preparations.

The first countries where we will roll out these changes will be Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Myanmar. You can refer to the Google Play help center page to stay informed on future updates and changes.

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I/O 2019: New features to help you develop, release, and grow your business on Google Play

Posted by Kobi Glick, Product Lead, Google Play

Play and #io19 logos with geometric shapes

Over the last 10 years, we’ve worked together to build an incredible ecosystem with more than 2.5 billion active users in over 190 countries. This would not be possible without you and all the fantastic apps and games you’ve built that entertain, help, and educate people around the world.

Every month, you upload more than 750,000 APKs and app bundles to the Play Console. We’ve been amazed by your enthusiasm, and it’s been our privilege to help you grow your business. This year, we want to help you go even further. So today at Google I/O, we're announcing new tools and features to help you develop, release, and grow your apps and games — many of them based on your feedback and suggestions.

Efficient, modular apps and customizable feature delivery

Last year we introduced Android's new publishing format, the Android App Bundle, and an entirely new dynamic delivery framework on Google Play. There are now over 80,000 apps and games using app bundles in production, with an average size savings of 20%. As a result of those savings, apps have seen up to 11% install uplift. As the future of app delivery, we’re excited to share these latest enhancements to the Android App Bundle.

Dynamic features are out of beta and available to all developers, including these new delivery options:

  • On-demand delivery — install features when they’re needed or in the background, instead of delivering them at install time, and reduce the size of your app.
  • Conditional delivery — control which parts of your app to deliver at the time of install based on the user’s country, device features, or minimum SDK version.
  • Instant experiences — now fully supported, so you only need to upload one artifact for your installed app and Google Play Instant experiences.

During our beta program, many developers implemented interesting use cases with dynamic features. Netflix, for example, now delivers their customer support functionality as a dynamic feature to users who visit the support center. By making functionality available only to users who need it, Netflix reported a 33% reduction in app size. You can learn more in the video below.

Seamless internal testing and increased security

We heard you loud and clear: testing bundles is hard. But with the new internal app sharing, you can now share test builds in a matter of seconds. Just upload your app bundle to Google Play and get a download URL to share with your testers. You don’t need to worry about version codes, signing keys, or most other validations that your production releases need to conform to.

In addition to efficiency and modularity, the Android App Bundle also now offers increased security with the launch of app signing key upgrade for new installs. With this feature, you can upgrade the cryptographic strength of your signing key for new installs and their updates on Google Play. Many developers sign their apps with keys generated a long time ago, and this new feature is the only backwards-compatible way to increase their strength.

Easier for users to update

Although auto-updates reach many users, you told us it was still challenging to get some users to update your apps. Now that our new in-app updates API is in general availability, users will be able to update without ever leaving your app. During our early access program, many developers used our API to create a polished upgrade flow, resulting in a median acceptance rate of about 50%.

The API currently supports two flows:

  • The “immediate” flow is a full-screen user experience that guides the user from download to update before they can use your app.
  • The “flexible flow” allows users to download the update while continuing to use your app.
Two iPhones side by side. The first on displaying Immediate update flow with a pop up recommending an update. The second displaying Flexible update flow with a pop up recommending an update.

Stronger decision-making with new Google Play Console data

The right data can help you improve your app performance and grow your business. That’s why we’re excited to tell you about new metrics and insights that will help you better measure your app health and analyze your performance.

  • Core metrics refresh — better understand your acquisition and churn, including data on returning users, automatic change analysis, install method (such as pre-installs and peer-to-peer sharing), metric benchmarking, and the ability to aggregate and dedupe over periods from hours to quarters.
  • App size metrics and reports — gain insights about your app size in Android vitals, including download size, size on device (at install time), changes compared to peers over time, and tailored optimization recommendations.
  • Developer-selected peer benchmarks — create a custom set of 8-12 peers to compare your app to, then see the median value of the set and the difference between your app and its peers for Android vitals data as well as for public metrics like your rating.
  • Market insights with curated peersets — in the coming months, you’ll also be able to compare your growth against an automatically generated, curated peerset of around 100 apps similar to yours for business-sensitive metrics like conversion rate and uninstall rate.
Android Vitals Overview dashboard on Peer group screen

Making it easier to respond to and improve user reviews

We’re also making big changes to another key source of performance data: your user reviews. Many of you told us that you want a rating that reflects a more current version of your app, not what it was years ago — and we agree. So instead of a lifetime cumulative value, your Google Play Store rating will be recalculated to give more weight to your most recent ratings. Users won’t see the updated rating in the Google Play Store until August, but you can preview your new rating in the Google Play Console today.

Every day, developers respond to more than 100,000 reviews in the Play Console, and when they do, we’ve seen that users update their rating by +0.7 stars on average. So in addition to the ratings change, we're making it easier to respond to reviews with suggested replies. When you go to respond to a user, you’ll see three suggested replies which have been created automatically based on the content of the review. You can choose to send one as-suggested, customize a suggestion for more personalization, or create your own message from scratch. Suggested replies are available in English now with additional languages coming later.

Google user review with suggested replies in Beta.

Better Google Play Store listing targeting and customization

Your store listing is where users come to learn more about your app or game and decide whether to install. It’s important real estate, so we’re releasing new features that let you optimize your Google Play Store to address different moments in the user lifecycle.

  • Following the launch of custom listings by country at GDC, we’re announcing a new early access program that lets you create custom listings by install state. Increase acquisition, retention, and re-engagement by providing customized marketing messages for users who haven’t installed your app, users who have your app, and users who have uninstalled your app. If you’re interested in joining the program, sign up here.
  • Now that pre-registration is available to all developers, we’re launching two new features to help you make the most of it: custom listing pages for pre-registration and pre-registration rewards, which let you incentivize players for signing up for notifications before you launch.

Learn more about these and other Google Play features at Google I/O. Join us live or watch later on the Android Developers YouTube channel.

You can also take your skills and knowledge to the next level with our e-learning courses on Google Play’s Academy for App Success, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest features and updates.

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What’s New in Android: Q Beta 3 & More

Posted by Dave Burke, VP, Engineering

Today Android is celebrating two amazing milestones. It’s Android’s version 10! And today, Android is running on more than 2.5B active Android devices.

With Android Q, we’ve focused on 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 AI, and more -- while making sure users' security, privacy, and wellbeing are always a top priority.

Earlier at Google I/O we highlighted what’s new in Android Q and unveiled the latest update, Android Q Beta 3. Your feedback continues to be extremely valuable in shaping today’s update as well as our final release to the ecosystem in the fall.

This year, Android Q Beta 3 is available on 15 partner devices from 12 OEMs -- that’s twice as many devices as last year! It’s all thanks to Project Treble and especially to our partners who are committed to accelerating updates to Android users globally -- Huawei, Xiaomi, Nokia, Sony, Vivo, OPPO, OnePlus, ASUS, LGE, TECNO, Essential, and realme.

Visit android.com/beta to see the full list of Beta devices and learn how to get today’s update on your device. If you have a Pixel device, you can enroll here to get Beta 3 -- if you’re already enrolled, watch for the update coming soon. To get started developing with Android Q Beta, visit developer.android.com/preview.

Privacy and security

As we talked about at Google I/O, privacy and security are important to our whole company and in Android Q we’ve added many more protections for users.

Privacy

In Android Q, privacy has been a central focus, from strengthening protections in the platform to designing new features with privacy in mind. It’s more important than ever to give users control -- and transparency -- over how information is collected and used by apps, and by our phones.

Building on our work in previous releases, Android Q includes extensive changes across the platform to improve privacy and give users control -- from improved system UI to stricter permissions to restrictions on what data apps can use.

For example, Android Q gives users more control over when apps can get location. Apps still ask the user for permission, but now in Android Q the user has greater choice over when to allow access to location -- such as only while the app is in use, all the time, or never. Read the developer guide for details on how to adapt your app for the new location controls.

Outside of location, we also introduced the Scoped Storage feature to give users control over files and prevent apps from accessing sensitive user or app data. Your feedback has helped us refine this feature, and we recently announced several changes to make it easier to support. These are now available in Beta 3.

Another important change is restricting app launches from the background, which prevents apps from unexpectedly jumping into the foreground and taking over focus. In Beta 3 we’re transitioning from toast warnings to actually blocking these launches.

To prevent tracking we're limiting access to non-resettable device identifiers, including device IMEI, serial number, and similar identifiers. Read the best practices to choose the right identifiers for your use case. We're also randomizing MAC address when your device is connected to different Wi-Fi networks and gating connectivity APIs behind the location permission. We’re bringing these changes to you early, so you can have as much time as possible to prepare your apps.

Security

To keep users secure, we’ve extended our BiometricPrompt authentication framework to support biometrics at a system level. We're extending support for passive authentication methods such as face, and we’ve added implicit and explicit authentication flows. In the explicit flow, the user must explicitly confirm the transaction. The new implicit flow is designed for a lighter-weight alternative for transactions with passive authentication, and there’s no need for users to explicitly confirm.

Android Q also adds support for TLS 1.3, a major revision to the TLS standard that includes performance benefits and enhanced security. Our benchmarks indicate that secure connections can be established as much as 40% faster with TLS 1.3 compared to TLS 1.2. TLS 1.3 is enabled by default for all TLS connections made through Android’s TLS stack, called Conscrypt, regardless of target API level. See the docs for details.

Project Mainline

Today we also announced Project Mainline, a new approach to keeping Android users secure and their devices up-to-date with important code changes, direct from Google Play. With Project Mainline, we’re now able to update specific internal components within the OS itself, without requiring a full system update from your device manufacturer. This means we can help keep the OS code on devices fresher, drive a new level of consistency, and bring the latest AOSP code to users faster -- and for a longer period of time.

We plan to update Project Mainline modules in much the same way as app updates are delivered today -- downloading the latest versions from Google Play in the background and loading them the next time the phone starts up. The source code for the modules will continue to live in the Android Open Source Project, and updates will be fully open-sourced as they are released. Also, because they’re open source, they’ll include improvements and bug fixes contributed by our many partners and developer community worldwide.

For users, the benefits are huge, since their devices will always be running the latest versions of the modules, including the latest updates for security, privacy, and consistency. For device makers, carriers, and enterprises, the benefits are also huge, since they can optimize and secure key parts of the OS without the cost of a full system update.

For app and game developers, we expect Project Mainline to help drive consistency of platform implementation in key areas across devices, over time bringing greater uniformity that will reduce development and testing costs and help to make sure your apps work as expected. All devices running Android Q or later will be able to get Project Mainline, and we’re working closely with our partners to make sure their devices are ready.

Innovation and new experiences

Android is shaping the leading edge of innovation. With our ecosystem partners, we’re enabling new experiences through a combination of hardware and software advances.

Foldables

This year, display technology will take a big leap with foldable devices coming to the Android ecosystem from several top device makers. When folded these devices work like a phone, then you unfold a beautiful tablet-sized screen.

We’ve optimized Android Q to ensure that screen continuity is seamless in these transitions, and apps and games can pick up right where they left off. For multitasking, we’ve made some changes to onResume and onPause to support multi-resume and notify your app when it has focus. We've also changed how the resizeableActivity manifest attribute works, to help you manage how your app is displayed on large screens.

Our partners have already started showing their innovative foldable devices, with more to come. You can get started building and testing today with our foldables emulator in canary release of Android Studio 3.5.

5G networks

5G networks are the next evolution of wireless technology -- providing consistently faster speeds and lower latency. For developers, 5G can unlock new kinds of experiences in your apps and supercharge existing ones.

Android Q adds platform support for 5G and extends existing APIs to help you transform your apps for 5G. You can use connectivity APIs to detect if the device has a high bandwidth connection and check whether the connection is metered. With these your apps and games can tailor rich, immersive experiences to users over 5G.

With Android’s open ecosystem and range of partners, we expect the Android ecosystem to scale to support 5G quickly. This year, over a dozen Android device makers are launching 5G-ready devices, and more than 20 carriers will launch 5G networks around the world, with some already broad-scale.

Live Caption

On top of hardware innovation, we’re continuing to see Android’s AI transforming the OS itself to make it smarter and easier to use, for a wider range of people. A great example is Live Caption, a new feature in Android Q that automatically captions media playing on your phone.

Many people watch videos with captions on -- the captions help them keep up, even when on the go or in a crowded place. But for 466 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing people around the world, captions are more than a convenience -- they make content accessible. We worked with the Deaf community to develop Live Caption.

Live Caption brings real-time captions to media on your phone - videos, podcasts, and audio messages, across any app—even stuff you record yourself. Best of all, it doesn’t even require a network connection -- everything happens on the device, thanks to a breakthrough in speech recognition that we made earlier this year. The live speech models run right on the phone, and no audio stream ever leaves your device.

For developers, Live Caption expands the audience for your apps and games by making digital media more accessible with a single tap. Live Caption will be available later this year.

Suggested actions in notifications

In Android Pie we introduced smart replies for notifications that let users engage with your apps direct from notifications. We provided the APIs to attach replies and actions, but you needed to build those on your own.

Now in Android Q we want to make smart replies available to all apps right now, without you needing to do anything. Starting in Beta 3, we’re enabling system-provided smart replies and actions that are inserted directly into notifications by default.

You can still supply your own replies and actions if you want -- such as if you are using ML Kit or other ML frameworks. Just opt out of the system-provided replies or actions on a per-notification basis using setAllowGeneratedReplies() and setAllowSystemGeneratedContextualActions().

Android Q suggestions are powered by an on-device ML service built into the platform -- the same service that backs our text classifier entity recognition service. We’ve built it with user privacy in mind, and the ML processing happens completely on the device, not on a backend server.

Because suggested actions are based on the TextClassifier service, they can take advantage of new capabilities we’ve added in Android Q, such as language detection. You can also use TextClassifier APIs directly to generate system-provided notifications and actions, and you can mix those with your own replies and actions as needed.

Dark theme

Many users prefer apps that offer a UI with a dark theme they can switch to when light is low, to reduce eye strain and save battery. Users have also asked for a simple way to enable dark theme everywhere across their devices. Dark theme has been a popular request for a while, and in Android Q, it’s finally here.

Starting in Android Q Beta 3, users can activate a new system-wide dark theme by going to Settings > Display, using the new Quick Settings tile, or turning on Battery Saver. This changes the system UI to dark, and enables the dark theme of apps that support it. Apps can build their own dark themes, or they can opt-in to a new Force Dark feature that lets the OS create a dark version of their existing theme. All you have to do is opt-in by setting android:forceDarkAllowed="true" in your app’s current theme.

You may also want to take complete control over your app’s dark styling, which is why we’ve also been hard at work improving AppCompat’s DayNight feature. By using DayNight, apps can offer a dark theme to all of their users, regardless of what version of Android they’re using on their devices. For more information, see here.

Gestural navigation

Many of the latest Android devices feature beautiful edge-to-edge screens, and users want to take advantage of every bit of them. In Android Q we’re introducing a new fully gestural navigation mode that eliminates the navigation bar area and allows apps and games to use the full screen to deliver their content. It retains the familiar Back, Home, and recents navigation through edge swipes rather than visible buttons.

Users can switch to gestures in Settings > System > Gestures. There are currently two gestures: Swiping up from the bottom of the screen takes the user to the Home screen, holding brings up Recents. Swiping from the screen’s left or right edge triggers the Back action.

To blend seamlessly with gestural navigation, apps should go edge-to-edge, drawing behind the navigation bar to create an immersive experience. To implement this, apps should use the setSystemUiVisibility() API to be laid out fullscreen, and then handle WindowInsets as appropriate to ensure that important pieces of UI are not obscured. More information is here.

Digital wellbeing

Digital wellbeing is another theme of our work on Android -- we want to give users the visibility and tools to find balance with the way they use their phones. Last year we launched Digital Wellbeing with Dashboards, App Timers, Flip to Shush, and Wind Down mode. These tools are really helping. App timers helped users stick to their goals over 90% of the time, and users of Wind Down had a 27% drop in nightly usage.

This year we’re continuing to expand our features to help people find balance with digital devices, adding Focus Mode and Family Link.

Focus Mode

Focus Mode is designed for all those times you’re working or studying, and you want to to focus to get something done. With focus mode, you can pick the apps that you think might distract you and silence them - for example, pausing email and the News while leaving maps and text message apps active. You can then use Quick Tiles to turn on Focus Mode any time you want to focus. Under the covers, these apps will be paused - until you come out of Focus Mode! Focus Mode is coming to Android 9 Pie and Android Q devices this Fall.

Family Link

Family Link is a new set of controls to help parents. Starting in Android Q, Family Link will be built right into the Settings on the device. When you set up a new device for your child, Family Link will help you connect it to you. You’ll be able to set daily screen time limits, see the apps where your child is spending time, review any new apps your child wants to install, and even set a device bedtime so your child can disconnect and get to sleep. And now in Android Q you can also set time limits on specific apps… as well as give your kids Bonus Time if you want them to have just 5 more minutes at bedtime. Family Link is coming to Android P and Q devices this Fall. Make sure to check out the other great wellbeing apps in the recent Google Play awards.

Family link lets parents set device bedtime and even give bonus minutes.

Android Foundations

We’re continuing to extend the foundations of Android with more capabilities to help you build new experiences for your users -- here are just a few.

Improved peer-to-peer and internet connectivity

In Android Q we’ve refactored the Wi-Fi stack to improve privacy and performance, and also to improve common use-cases like managing IoT devices and suggesting internet connections -- without requiring the location permission. The network connection APIs make it easier to manage IoT devices over local Wi-Fi, for peer-to-peer functions like configuring, downloading, or printing. The network suggestion APIs let apps surface preferred Wi-Fi networks to the user for internet connectivity.

Wi-Fi performance modes

In Android Q apps can now request adaptive Wi-Fi by enabling high performance and low latency modes. These will be of great benefit where low latency is important to the user experience, such as real-time gaming, active voice calls, and similar use-cases. The platform works with the device firmware to meet the requirement with the lowest power consumption. To use the new performance modes, call WifiManager.WifiLock.createWifiLock().

Full support for Wi-Fi RTT accurate indoor positioning

In Android 9 Pie we introduced RTT APIs for indoor positioning to accurately measure distance to nearby Wi-Fi Access Points (APs) that support the IEEE 802.11mc protocol, based on measuring the round-trip time of Wi-Fi packets. Now in Android Q, we’ve completed our implementation of the 802.11mc standard, adding an API to obtain location information of each AP being ranged, configured by their owner during installation.

Audio playback capture

You saw how Live Caption can take audio from any app and instantly turn it into on-screen captions. It’s a seamless experience that shows how powerful it can be for one app to share its audio stream with another. In Android Q, any app that plays audio can let other apps capture its audio stream using a new API. In addition to enabling captioning and subtitles, the API lets you support popular use-cases like live-streaming games, all without latency impact on the source app or game.

We’ve designed this new capability with privacy and copyright protection in mind, so the ability for an app to capture another app's audio is constrained, giving apps full control over whether their audio streams can be captured. Read more here.

Dynamic depth for photos

Apps can now request a Dynamic Depth image which consists of a JPEG, XMP metadata related to depth related elements, and a depth and confidence map embedded in the same file on devices that advertise support. Requesting a JPEG + Dynamic Depth image makes it possible for you to offer specialized blurs and bokeh options in your app. You can even use the data to create 3D images or support AR photography use-cases. Dynamic Depth is an open format for the ecosystem -- the latest version of the spec is here. We're working with our device-maker partners to make it available across devices running Android Q and later.

With Dynamic Depth image you can offer specialized blurs and bokeh options in your app

New audio and video codecs

Android Q adds support for the open source video codec AV1, which allows media providers to stream high quality video content to Android devices using less bandwidth. In addition, Android Q supports audio encoding using Opus - a codec optimized for speech and music streaming, and HDR10+ for high dynamic range video on devices that support it. The MediaCodecInfo API introduces an easier way to determine the video rendering capabilities of an Android device. For any given codec, you can obtain a list of supported sizes and frame rates.

Vulkan 1.1 and ANGLE

We're continuing to expand the impact of Vulkan on Android, our implementation of the low-overhead, cross-platform API for high-performance 3D graphics. We’re working together with our device manufacturer partners to make Vulkan 1.1 a requirement on all 64-bit devices running Android Q and higher, and a recommendation for all 32-bit devices. For game and graphics developers using OpenGL, we’re also working towards a standard, updateable OpenGL driver for all devices built on Vulkan. In Android Q we're adding experimental support for ANGLE on top of Vulkan on Android devices. See the docs for details.

Neural Networks API 1.2

In NNAPI 1.2 we've added 60 new ops including ARGMAX, ARGMIN, quantized LSTM, alongside a range of performance optimisations. This lays the foundation for accelerating a much greater range of models -- such as those for object detection and image segmentation. We are working with hardware vendors and popular machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow to optimize and roll out support for NNAPI 1.2.

Thermal API

When devices get too warm, they may throttle the CPU and/or GPU, and this can affect apps and games in unexpected ways. Now in Android Q, apps and games can use a thermal API to monitor changes on the device and take action to help restore normal temperature. For example, streaming apps can reduce resolution/bit rate or network traffic, a camera app could disable flash or intensive image enhancement, or a game could reduce frame rate or polygon tesselation. Read more here.

ART optimizations

Android Q introduces several improvements to the ART runtime to help your apps start faster, consume less memory, and run smoother -- without requiring any work from you. To help with initial app startup, Google Play is now delivering cloud-based profiles along with APKs. These are anonymized, aggregate ART profiles that let ART pre-compile parts of your app even before it's run. Cloud-based profiles benefit all apps and they're already available to devices running Android P and higher.

We’re also adding Generational Garbage Collection to ART's Concurrent Copying (CC) Garbage Collector. Generational CC collects young-generation objects separately, incurring much lower cost as compared to full-heap GC. It makes garbage collection more efficient in terms of time and CPU, reduces jank, and helps apps run better on lower-end devices.

More Android Q Beta devices, more Treble momentum than ever

In 2017 we launched Project Treble as part of Android Oreo, with a goal of accelerating OS updates. Treble provides a consistent, testable interface between Android and the underlying device code from device makers and silicon manufacturers, which makes porting a new OS version much simpler and more modular.

In 2018 we worked closely with our partners to bring the first OS updates to their Treble devices. The result: last year at Google I/O we had 8 devices from 7 partners joining our Android P Beta program, together with our Pixel and Pixel 2 devices. Fast forward to today -- we’re seeing updates to Android Pie accelerating strongly, with 2.5 times the footprint compared to Android Oreo's at the same time last year.

This year with Android Q we’re seeing even more momentum, and we have 21 devices from 12 top global partners joining us to release Android Q Beta 3 -- in addition all Pixel devices. We’re also providing Q Beta 3 Generic System Images (GSI), a testing environment for other supported Treble devices. All of these offer the same behaviors, APIs, and features -- giving you an incredible variety of devices for testing your apps, and more ways for you to get an early look at Android Q.

You can see the full list of supported partner and Pixel devices at android.com/beta. Try Android Q Beta on your favorite device today and let us know your feedback!

Explore the new features and APIs

When you're ready, dive into Android Q and learn about the new features and APIs you can use in your apps. Take a look at the API diff report for an overview of what's changed in Beta 3, and see the Android Q Beta API reference for details. Visit the Android Q Beta developer site for more resources, including release notes and how to report issues.

To build with Android Q, download the Android Q Beta SDK and tools into Android Studio 3.3 or higher, and follow these instructions to configure your environment. If you want the latest fixes for Android Q related changes, we recommend you use Android Studio 3.5 or higher.

How do I get Beta 3?

It's easy! Just enroll any 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.

You can also get Beta 3 on any of the other devices participating in the Android Q Beta program, from some of our top device maker partners. You can see the full list of supported partner and Pixel devices at android.com/beta. For each device you'll find specs and links to the manufacturer's dedicated site for downloads, support, and to report issues.

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 -- just download the latest emulator system images via the SDK Manager in Android Studio.

As always, your input is critical, so please 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!

Android Q Scoped Storage: Best Practices and Updates

Posted by Jeff Sharkey, Software Engineer, and Seb Grubb, Product Manager

Application Sandboxing is a core part of Android’s design, isolating apps from each other. In Android Q, taking the same fundamental principle from Application Sandboxing, we introduced Scoped Storage.

Since the Beta 1 release, you’ve given us a lot of valuable feedback on these changes -- thank you for helping shape Android! Because of your feedback, we've evolved the feature during the course of Android Q Beta. In this post, we'll share options for declaring your app’s support for Scoped Storage on Android Q devices, and best practices for questions we've heard from the community.

Updates to help you adopt Scoped Storage

We expect that Scoped Storage should have minimal impact to apps following current storage best practices. However, we also heard from you that Scoped Storage can be an elaborate change for some apps and you could use more time to assess the impact. Being developers ourselves, we understand you may need some additional time to ensure your app’s compatibility with this change. We want to help.

In the upcoming Beta 3 release, apps that target Android 9 Pie (API level 28) or lower will see no change, by default, to how storage works from previous Android versions. As you update your existing app to work with Scoped Storage, you’ll be able to use a new manifest attribute to enable the new behavior for your app on Android Q devices, even if your app is targeting API level 28 or lower.

The implementation details of these changes will be available with the Beta 3 release, but we wanted to share this update with you early, so you can better prepare your app for Android Q devices. Scoped Storage will be required in next year’s major platform release for all apps, independent of target SDK level, so we recommend you add support to your app well in advance. Please continue letting us know your feedback and how we can better align Scoped Storage with your app’s use cases. You can give us input through this survey, or file bugs and feature requests here.

Best practices for common feedback areas

Your feedback is incredibly valuable and has helped us shape these design decisions. We also want to take a moment to share some best practices for common questions we’ve heard:

  • Storing shared media files. For apps that handle files that users expect to be sharable with other apps (such as photos) and be retained after the app has been uninstalled, use the MediaStore API. There are specific collections for common media files: Audio, Video, and Images. For other file types, you can store them in the new Downloads collection. To access files from the Downloads collection, apps must use the system picker.
  • Storing app-internal files. If your app is designed to handle files not meant to be shared with other apps, store them in your package-specific directories. This helps keep files organized and limit file clutter as the OS will manage cleanup when the app is uninstalled. Calls to Context.getExternalFilesDir() will continue to work.
  • Working with permissions and file ownership. For MediaStore, no permissions are necessary for apps that only access their own files. Your app will need to request permission to access media contributed by other apps. However, if your app is uninstalled and then reinstalled later, you’ll need to request permission from the user in order to be able to access media your app previously contributed.
  • Working with native code or libraries. The recommended pattern is to begin your media file discovery in your Java-based or Kotlin-based code, then pass the file's associated file descriptor into your native code.
  • Working with many files efficiently. If you need to perform bulk file operations in a single transaction, consider using ContentProvider.applyBatch(). Learn more about ContentProvider batch processing here.
  • Integrating with the system file picker.
    • Documents apps, such as a word processor, can use the ACTION_OPEN_DOCUMENT or ACTION_GET_CONTENT action to open a system file picker. You can learn more about the differences here.
    • File management apps typically work with collections of apps in a directory hierarchy. Use ACTION_OPEN_DOCUMENT_TREE to let the user pick a directory subtree. The app can further manipulate files available in the returned directory. Through this support, users can access files from any installed DocumentsProvider instance, which can be supported by any cloud-based or locally-backed storage solutions.

We’ve also provided a detailed Scoped Storage developer guide with additional information.

What’s ahead

It’s been amazing to see the community engagement on Android Q Beta so far. As we finalize the release in the next several months, please continue testing and keep the feedback coming. Join us at Google I/O 2019 for more details on Scoped Storage and other Android Q features. We’re giving a ”What’s new on Shared Storage” talk on May 8, and you’ll be able to find the livestream and recorded video on the Google I/O site.

And the 2019 Google Play Award nominees are…

Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director, Apps and Games Business Development, Google Play

Drum roll please! To kick off Google I/O this year, the 2019 Google Play Awards will take place on Monday, May 6th. We’re excited to highlight nine categories this year, some familiar and some new, to recognize developers that continue to set the bar for quality apps and games on Google Play.

Building on previous years, we celebrate our fourth year by recognizing some of the best experiences available on Android, with an emphasis on overall quality, strong design, technical performance, and innovation. The nominees were selected by various teams across Google, and meet criteria thresholds covering high star rating, Android vitals, and have had a launch or major update since April 2018.

Congratulations to this year’s nominees below and remember to check them out on Google Play at play.google.com/gpa2019. Stay tuned as we announce the winners of each category at Google I/O.

Standout Well-Being App

Apps empowering people to live the best version of their lives, while demonstrating responsible design and engagement strategies.

Best Accessibility Experience

Apps and games enabling device interaction in an innovative way that serve people with disabilities or special needs.

Best Social Impact

Apps and games that create a positive impact in communities around the world (focusing on health, education, crisis response, refugees, and literacy).

Most Beautiful Game

Games that exemplify artistry or unique visual effects either through creative imagery, and/or utilizing advanced graphics API features.

Best Living Room Experience

Apps that create, enhance, or enable a great living room experience that brings people together.

Most Inventive

Apps and games that display a groundbreaking new use case, like utilize new technologies, cater to a unique audience, or demonstrate an innovative application of mobile technology for users.

Standout Build for Billions Experience

Apps and games with optimized performance, localization and culturalization for emerging markets.

Best Breakthrough App

New apps with excellent overall design, user experience, engagement and retention, and strong growth.

Best Breakthrough Game

New games with excellent overall design, user experience, engagement and retention, and strong growth.

Come back on Monday, May 6th when we announce the winners, and until then, make sure to try out some of these great apps and games on Google Play at play.google.com/gpa2019.

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Indie Games Accelerator – Applications open for class of 2019

Posted by Anuj Gulati, Developer Marketing Manager and Sami Kizilbash, Developer Relations Program Manager

Last year we announced the Indie Games Accelerator, a special edition of Launchpad Accelerator, to help top indie game developers from emerging markets achieve their full potential on Google Play. Our team of program mentors had an amazing time coaching some of the best gaming talent from India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia. We’re very encouraged by the positive feedback we received for the program and are excited to bring it back in 2019.

Applications for the class of 2019 are now open, and we’re happy to announce that we are expanding the program to developers from select countries* in Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Successful participants will be invited to attend two gaming bootcamps, all-expenses-paid at the Google Asia-Pacific office in Singapore, where they will receive personalized mentorship from Google teams and industry experts. Additional benefits include Google hardware, invites to exclusive Google and industry events and more.

Find out more about the program and apply to be a part of it.

* The competition is open to developers from the following countries: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

How useful did you find this blog post?

Indie Games Accelerator – Applications open for class of 2019

Posted by Anuj Gulati, Developer Marketing Manager and Sami Kizilbash, Developer Relations Program Manager

Last year we announced the Indie Games Accelerator, a special edition of Launchpad Accelerator, to help top indie game developers from emerging markets achieve their full potential on Google Play. Our team of program mentors had an amazing time coaching some of the best gaming talent from India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia. We’re very encouraged by the positive feedback we received for the program and are excited to bring it back in 2019.

Applications for the class of 2019 are now open, and we’re happy to announce that we are expanding the program to developers from select countries* in Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Successful participants will be invited to attend two gaming bootcamps, all-expenses-paid at the Google Asia-Pacific office in Singapore, where they will receive personalized mentorship from Google teams and industry experts. Additional benefits include Google hardware, invites to exclusive Google and industry events and more.

Find out more about the program and apply to be a part of it.

* The competition is open to developers from the following countries: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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Optimize your subscriptions with new insights in the Play Console

Posted by Daniel Schramm, Product Manager, Google Play

Since launching on Google Play nearly 7 years ago, subscriptions have proven to be an essential element in creating sustainable mobile app businesses; 89 of the top 100 highest grossing apps on Google Play in the US now provide subscription products. As the market matures, it is becoming increasingly important for subscription developers to optimize both subscriber conversion and retention in order to maintain growth. To help you do that, we're rolling out new insights available directly in the Play Console.

Subscription retention report

Example subscription retention report data in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

The recently updated subscription retention report shows how well you are retaining subscribers, along with how well subscribers convert from free trial, introductory price, and first to second payment.

You can configure two cohorts based on SKU, country, and subscription start date. This is particularly useful for evaluating the success of A/B tests; for example, to determine if changing the duration of a free trial has an impact on free trial conversion.

Example free trial conversion data in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

Cancellation survey results

Retaining your existing subscribers is just as important as acquiring new subscribers, so we have updated the subscription cancellations report to give more insight into voluntary and involuntary cancellations.

The launch of the subscriptions center last year introduced a cancellation survey allowing users to give developers feedback as to why they were cancelling, with results available through the Google Play Developer API. To make these results easier to access and monitor, we now surface daily aggregates directly within the Play Console, along with the ability to download written responses in a CSV.

Example cancellation survey responses in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

Recover more users

Involuntary cancellations, which occur when a user's form of payment fails, account for over a third of all cancellations. The new recovery performance cards in the cancellation report helps you understand how effectively you are recovering users with grace period and account hold, and the day the subscriptions were recovered to help you evaluate the effectiveness of recovery messaging.

Example account hold performance recovery card in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

Make sure you've set up grace periods and account hold for your apps! We've seen that developers who use both grace period and account hold see more than a 3x increase in decline recovery rate from 10% to 33%. Discover more information on grace period and account hold.

You can find the subscription retention and cancellation reports linked from the bottom of the Subscriptions page, in the Financial reports section of the Play Console. If you don't have access to financial reporting, ask your developer account owner for permission to view financial data.

Example account hold performance recovery card in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

We hope this new reporting gives you new insights to optimize your subscription business, and we look forward to sharing more with you at Google I/O in May.

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Google Play Instant feature plugin deprecation

Posted by Miguel Montemayor and Diana García Ríos

As of Android Gradle plugin 3.4.0 (included in Android Studio 3.4), we are starting the deprecation process of the feature plugin (com.android.feature) and instant app plugin (com.android.instantapp) as a way to build your instant app. When building your app, you will receive a warning flagging com.android.feature as deprecated. If you have an existing instant app built with the feature plugin, migrate your existing app to an instant-enabled app bundle as soon as possible.

What is changing?

Last year, we introduced Android App Bundles—a new way to build and publish your Android apps. App bundles simplify delivering optimized APKs, including instant delivery, by unifying uploads into a single artifact. Google Play handles distribution by serving the correct APKs to your instant and installed app users—this is called Dynamic Delivery. To learn more about app bundles, visit the documentation site.

Dynamic Delivery is based on the idea of shipping dynamic features (com.android.dynamic-feature) to app users when they need them and only if they need them. There are currently three delivery types, based on the different values you will give the dist:module tag attributes on the dynamic feature module’s manifest file:

    <dist:module
       dist:instant="..."
       dist:onDemand="..."
       ...
    </dist:module>
dist:instant="false" dist:instant="true"
dist:onDemand="false" Dynamic feature delivered at install time Dynamic feature delivered instantly and at install time
dist:onDemand="true" Dynamic feature delivered on demand (beta) N/A

By migrating your instant app to an instant-enabled app bundle with dynamic features, you will be ready to leverage the full power of this new paradigm and you will be able to simplify your app’s modular design.

The migration

Previously, instant apps required creating a feature module that acted as the base module for your app. This base feature module contained the shared code and resources for both your instant and installed application. The rest of your codebase was comprised of:

  • multiple non-base feature modules, which contained the instant app entry points,
  • an application module, which contained the code and activities required only for your main installed application, and
  • an instant app module, which represented the instant app and mapped its dependencies.

With the new app bundle implementation, your base feature module takes the role as your app module (com.android.application), hosting the code and resources common to all features (instant and installed). You organize additional, modular features as one of three types of dynamic feature modules, based on when you want to deliver them to the user. The instant app module disappears, since the dist:instant attributes in the manifest are enough to identify which features will be included as part of the instant experience.

If you don’t have an instant experience added to your app and you’d like to create one, use Android Studio 3.3+ to create an instant-enabled app bundle.