Tag Archives: Featured

Android’s commitment to Kotlin

Posted by David Winer, Kotlin Product Manager

Android and Kotlin banner

When we announced Kotlin as a supported language for Android, there was a tremendous amount of excitement among developers. Since then, there has been a steady increase in the number of developers using Kotlin. Today, we’re proud to say nearly 60% of the top 1,000 Android apps contain Kotlin code, with more and more Android developers introducing safer and more concise code using Kotlin.

During this year’s I/O, we announced that Android development will be Kotlin-first, and we’ve stood by that commitment. This is one of the reasons why Android is the gold partner for this year’s KotlinConf.

Seamless Kotlin on Android

In 2019, we focused on making programming in Kotlin on Android a seamless experience, with modern Kotlin-first APIs across the Android platform. Earlier this year, we launched a developer preview of Jetpack Compose, a modern UI toolkit for Android built using a Kotlin domain-specific language (DSL). We also incorporated coroutines into several of the flagship Jetpack libraries, including Room and Lifecycle. Finally, we brought Kotlin extensions (KTX) to even more major Google libraries, including Firebase and Play Core.

On the tooling side, we strengthened our commitment to Kotlin in Android Studio and the Android build pipeline. Significant updates to R8 (the code shrinker for Android) brought the ability to detect and handle Kotlin-specific bytecode patterns. Support was added for .kts Gradle build scripts in Android Studio, along with improved Kotlin support in Dagger. We worked closely with the JetBrains team to optimize support for the Kotlin plugin, and make the Kotlin editing experience in Android Studio fluid and fast.

Better Kotlin learning

This year we’ve also invested in quality Kotlin on Android learning content.

We released two free video learning courses in partnership with Udacity: Developing Android Apps in Kotlin and Advanced Android in Kotlin. This content was also released as the Codelab courses Android Kotlin Fundamentals and Advanced Android in Kotlin, for those who prefer text-based learning. The popular Kotlin Bootcamp for Programmers Udacity course was also published as a Codelabs course, helping provide a Kotlin foundation for non-Kotlin developers. Kotlin-based instructional Codelabs were also created for topics including Material Design, Kotlin coroutines, location, refactoring to Kotlin, billing in Kotlin, and Google Pay in Kotlin. It hasn’t been just about new content: we've updated Kotlin Codelab favorites to take advantage of important features such as coroutines.

Looking ahead

In 2020, Android development will continue to be Kotlin-first. We’ve been listening to your feedback, and will continue partnering with JetBrains to improve your experience with Kotlin.

This includes working with JetBrains to improve the Kotlin compiler over the next year. Our teams are making the compiler more extensible with a new backend, and making your builds faster with a significantly faster frontend. We’re also working with many of the largest annotation processors to make compilation faster for Kotlin code. You can also expect more Kotlin-first updates to Android, including more Jetpack libraries that make use of Kotlin features such as coroutines.

Thank you for letting us be part of your app development journey this year. We look forward to continuing the journey with you in 2020.

Android Game SDK

Posted by Dan Galpin, Developer Advocate

With over 2.5 billion monthly active devices, the Android Platform gives incredible reach for game developers. Taking advantage of that opportunity can be a challenge, particularly if your game really tries to push the limits of what mobile can do. We've spent years working with game developers to try to both capture and address the biggest issues, and we're just beginning to see the fruits of that effort with the launch of the Android Game SDK. The Android Game SDK is a set of libraries that you can use to enhance your Android game.

The first library we are launching in the Android Game SDK helps developers with frame pacing, the synchronization of a game's rendering loop with the OS display subsystem and underlying display hardware. Android's display subsystem is designed to avoid tearing that occurs when the display hardware switches to a new frame in the middle of an update. To this end, it buffers past frames, detects late frame submissions, and repeats the display of past frames when late frames are detected. When a game render loop renders at a different rate than the native display hardware, such as a game running at 30 frames-per-second attempting to render on a device that natively supports 60 FPS, the optimal display flow involves synchronization between the game render loop, the system compositor, and the display hardware.

Optimal Display Flow

Optimal Display Flow

Any mismatch in synchronization can create substantial inconsistencies in frame times. If a frame takes substantially less time to render, it can shorten the presentation of the previous frame, causing something like a 33ms, 16ms, and a 50ms sequence.

Synchronization Mismatch: Rendering too Fast

Synchronization Mismatch: Rendering too Fast

If a frame takes too long to render, a similar problem occurs. The frame will be presented for an extra frame, causing something like a 50ms, 16ms, and 33ms sequence.

Synchronization Mismatch: Slow Frame

Synchronization Mismatch: Slow Frame

In either of these two scenarios, the game player will experience inconsistent delays between game input and screen updates. Visually, things will look less smooth and polished. Both visuals and game play can be impacted.

The Frame Pacing library uses Android's Choreographer API for synchronization with the display subsystem, using presentation timestamp extensions on both OpenGL and Vulkan APIs to make sure frames are presented at the proper time, and sync fences to avoid buffer stuffing. Multiple refresh rates are handled if supported by the device, giving a game more flexibility in presenting a frame. For a device that supports a 60 Hz refresh rate as well as 90 Hz, a game that cannot produce 60 frames per second can drop to 45 FPS instead of 30 FPS to remain smooth. The library detects the expected game frame rate and auto-adjusts frame presentation times accordingly. The Frame Pacing library allows games to take advantage of higher refresh rate 90 and 120 Hz displays, while also making it easy to lock the refresh rate to a desired value, regardless of the underlying display refresh rate.

The Frame Pacing library is built into Unity versions 2019.2 and beyond. Just select the optimized Frame Pacing checkbox under Android Settings to enable smoother frame rates for your game. If you have source to your game engine, it's straightforward to integrate the library into your OpenGL or Vulkan renderer. We've just added library binaries for download at developer.android.com/games/sdk/, or you can download the source code from the Android Open Source Project.

To learn more about Frame Pacing, check out the documentation at developer.android.com, along with the Frame Pacing section of the Optimizing Android Games Performance talk from Google I/O 2019. Be sure to subscribe to our Twitter channel and stay tuned for our announcements at GDC 2020 for more on how we're working to make Android game development better, so you can bring the best game experience to billions of devices.

#AndroidDevChallenge: today is the last day to apply!

Dev Challenge banner with Android logo

Today is the last day to apply for the Android Developer Challenge! And to spark your imagination, we wanted to take a look at one of the original Android Developer Challenge winners, from over 10 years ago. Meet Maurizio Leo:

Maurizio and team have been working on Android for a while now. In fact, he was one of the winners of the original Android Developer Challenge, which launched with the start of Android over ten years ago. Their app, which won 3rd place worldwide at the time, has gone on to be downloaded over 30 million times!

If you’ve got a great idea that can help users get things done, we want to hear! We’ll pick 10 concepts and provide expertise and guidance to those developers to help in their plans to bring their ideas to fruition, in part from this amazing set of experts we’ve assembled. And once the app is ready, we’ll help showcase it in front of the billions of users on Google Play, through a collection and more. You can read more about all of the prizes here.

There’s still time to submit your idea before the deadline today! Submitting your idea is as simple as creating a repository on GitHub, telling us what you’d build and how we can help (we’ve included all of the materials here), and then officially submitting your repository here. Ideas can be in a concept phase to something that’s already complete; we can’t wait to hear what you come up with, and to work with you on bringing helpful innovation powered by machine learning to more and more users!

3 things to know about Jetpack from Android Dev Summit 2019

Posted by Jisha Abubaker, Product Manager

Last month’s #AndroidDevSummit was jam-packed with announcements and technical news...so much that we wouldn’t be surprised if you missed something. So all this month, we’ll be diving into key areas from throughout the summit so you don’t miss anything. We previously spotlighted Jetpack Compose, Kotlin and Android Studio, and today, we’re highlighting the rest of Android Jetpack, with the top three things you should know:

#1: A number of new & updated Jetpack libraries ready to use:

WorkManager 2.2 (Stable) has landed significant updates in the last releases with features like on-demand initialization improving app startup time when using WorkManager and improved testing support. Hear more of the new features and best practices.

Room 2.2 (Stable) is packed with features you asked for too : pre-packaged databases, improved relationship support and now better support for Kotlin Flow as well. Check out the What’s new in Room session to catch up.

Benchmarking (Stable) helps you measure the performance of tasks in your app with confidence. Here’s a deep dive on how you can exercise the library in fighting performance regressions in CI, like we do ourselves for Jetpack libraries and Compose.

LiveData w/ support for Kotlin coroutines & Flow (RC) : Kotlin coroutines and Flows has been the Android developer community’s interest in simplify async patterns in your apps. Learn how best to take advantage of the liveData builder in your app:

View binding (Beta) is type-safe solution bundled with Android Studio 3.6 Beta with minimal build-time impact, no more findViewById(), no more annotation processors. Check out What’s new in Studio for a demo !

#2: We’re busy baking more libraries

CameraX (Alpha) simplifies the development experience and lets you focus on your app instead by addressing the differences between the many devices in the Android ecosystem, like Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Motorola, LG who are already unifying behind CameraX. Expected in Beta soon, learn what the Camera team has been up to since I/O 2019.

Security (Alpha) helps you simplify data at rest encryption for your app needs. Hear of best practices with encryption on Android from the Security library team.

#3:It’s time to migrate to androidx!

With all the new and updated Jetpack libraries and upcoming release of Jetpack Compose, it is time to get your app updated and ready. Nick and Tiem share a great step by step plan and best practices from the community in migrating to androidx namespace.

...and we also heard from you!

But Android Dev Summit isn’t just about what we’ve got to say; it’s also about you telling us what you’d like to see worked on to make your life easier. And this year, one thing that we heard strongly from our community was the need to provide a simplified Dependency injection developer experience for Jetpack libraries and expand improved Kotlin support to other Jetpack libraries! We’re on it!

You can find the entire playlist of Jetpack sessions at the Android Dev Summit sessions and videos here. We’ll continue to spotlight other areas later this month, so keep an eye out and follow AndroidDevelopers on Twitter. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of this experience with you!

Our panel of experts for the #AndroidDevChallenge (apply by Dec. 2)

Just a little over a week left to finish your submission for the Android Developer Challenge, due December 2! Technology is enabling us to create a whole new era of helpful innovation by helping people get things done more quickly and surfacing patterns that would be difficult to detect using traditional methods. Ultimately, this helpful innovation is enabling us to live better, more productive, and safer lives.

Earlier this week, we highlighted the type of helpful innovation ideas powered by machine learning which are the sort of examples we’re looking for, to help inspire you. Today, we wanted to share the names of the panel of experts we’ve assembled to help bring your projects to life as part of the Android Developer Challenge. These experts will be making the final decision on the 10 finalists of the Android Developer Challenge, and if you’re selected as one of those finalists, we plan to have you meet them when we bring you to Google HQ for a bootcamp next year:

  • Dave Burke is Vice President of Engineering at Google where he leads engineering for the Android platform. Android is the largest mobile platform and ecosystem in the world, with over 2 billion active devices spanning smartphones, tablets, wearables, auto, TV, and IOT. Dave joined Google UK in 2007, becoming an engineering site lead and later moving to California in 2011. Prior to Google, Dave co-founded and was CTO of an internet/telecoms voice startup and helped define related Web and Internet standards.
  • Stephanie Cuthbertson is Senior Director of Developer PM, DevRel and UX for Android. She previously worked on Google’s Search & Ads businesses, as well as a range of developer tools used by Google employees internally. Prior to Google, she was at AWS where she led the product management team for Storage, including Amazon S3. Before AWS, she spent 10 years working on Visual Studio and developer tools.
  • Brahim Elbouchikhi is a Director of Product Management on the Android team. On Android, Brahim is responsible for developer and consumer facing ML and Camera products including CameraX and ML Kit. Prior to Android, Brahim led Daydream’s software team. Brahim was also a founding PM of the Google Play store where he led monetization, search, and discovery.
  • Yossi Matias is Vice President, Engineering, at Google. He is leading efforts in Search (Google Autocomplete, Search Live Results, Google Trends), Conversational AI (Google Duplex, Call Screen, Live Caption, Live Relay, Recorder, Pronunciation), and other Research initiatives. Yossi is the founding Head of Google's R&D Center in Israel, and the founding executive lead of Google for Startup Campus Tel Aviv and of Launchpad. He is the lead of Crisis Response and co-lead of Google’s AI for Social Good. In addition to his experience as an executive and entrepreneur, Yossi has a rich record of scientific research, published extensively, and has dozens of patents on his name. Yossi is a recipient of the Godel Prize and is an ACM Fellow.
  • Sarah Sirajuddin is an engineering director working on TensorFlow at Google. She leads the teams working on on-device machine learning, TensorFlow Extended, and efforts around training models for the best accuracy and performance with Google’s cutting-edge infrastructure, including TensorFlow and tensor processing units (TPUs).

If you’ve got a great idea that can help users get things done, we want to hear! We’ll pick 10 concepts and provide expertise and guidance to those developers to help in their plans to bring their ideas to fruition, in part from this amazing set of experts we’ve assembled. And once the app is ready, we’ll help showcase it in front of the billions of users on Google Play, through a collection and more. You can read more about all of the prizes here.

There’s still time to submit your idea before the December 2 deadline. Submitting your idea is as simple as creating a repository on GitHub, telling us what you’d build and how we can help (we’ve included all of the materials here), and then officially submitting your repository here. Ideas can be in a concept phase to something that’s already complete; we can’t wait to hear what you come up with, and to work with you on bringing helpful innovation powered by machine learning to more and more users!

Android Developer Challenge: here’s what we’re looking for! (Apply by Dec. 2)

Last month, we kicked off the next Android Developer Challenge, and asked you to submit your ideas focused on helpful innovation, powered by on-device machine learning. But what exactly do we mean when we say helpful innovation? We’re glad you asked! We rounded up a few of Google’s on-device machine learning offerings, together with some great recent examples of this technology in action, to help inspire your submission. Don’t forget, submit your idea by December 2!

Using machine learning to tackle Fall Armyworm

Take Nazirini Siraji. When she and a team of developers noticed a crop-pest threatening the livelihood of Ugandan farmers, they taught themselves TensorFlow to combat this pest. They collected training data from nearby fields in the form of images. With TensorFlow, they re-trained a MobileNet, a technique known as transfer learning and then used the TensorFlow Converter to generate a TensorFlow Lite FlatBuffer file which they deployed in an Android app. With the app, a farmer can snap a picture of their crop and the image frame is analysed to look for Fall armyworm damage. Depending on the results from this phase, a suggestion of a possible solution is given. It’s pretty cool!

Helping doctors detect respiratory diseases using machine learning

Tambua Health is helping doctors determine the likelihood of respiratory diseases by turning any smartphone into a powerful non-invasive screening tool. They developed an app using TensorFlow Lite that can help doctors analyze lung sounds for the presence of abnormal sounds like wheezes, crackles, stridor, and other adventitious sounds.

adidas uses machine learning to make the shopping experience easier

Even brands are tapping the power of machine learning. Take adidas, who recently launched a new “Bring It to Me” experience for their London store. Shoppers can use Visual Lookup to scan products on their phones while they are in the store, and the app lets them check stock and request their size without the need for queues. Under the hood, ML Kit is helping power the experience. It’s another way machine learning is helping users get things done more quickly.

The benefits of on-device machine learning

Running machine learning on a user’s device comes with a number of benefits. First, you reduce the amount of data you send to your server, enhancing user privacy. And because it runs on device, it can also work offline - perfect for inaccessible areas such as the middle of a rainforest, a desert or the London Underground. Last but not least, the most exciting aspect of running your model on device is low latency and this can enable all kinds of new user experiences. Machine learning is not just for automating tasks, it can work alongside your users and give them super powers too!

At Google, we offer a number of different technologies to help you take advantage of this:

  • ML Kit offers a turnkey SDK to help you tackle tasks with powerful Google Machine Learning models
  • The TensorFlow Lite Framework lets you take a custom model and optimise it to run it on Android
  • There’s also the infrastructure of Firebase / Google Cloud, which can help you train on-device models using AutoML Vision Edge for specific model types or give you the raw processing power to train your own model

If you’ve got a great idea that can help users get things done, we want to hear from you! We’ll pick 10 concepts and provide expertise and guidance to those developers to help in their plans to bring their ideas to fruition. And once the app is ready, we’ll help showcase it in front of the billions of users on Google Play, through a collection and more. You can read more about all of the prizes here.

There’s still time to submit your idea before the December 2 deadline. We can’t wait to hear what you come up with, and to work with you on bringing helpful innovation powered by on-device machine learning to more and more users!

3 things to know about Android Studio from Android Dev Summit 2019

Posted by Deepanshu Madan, Product Manager

Last month’s #AndroidDevSummit was jam-packed with announcements and technical news...so much that we wouldn’t be surprised if you missed something. So all this month, we’ll be diving into key areas from throughout the summit so you don’t miss anything. Earlier this week, we spotlighted Kotlin and Jetpack Compose, and today, we’re highlighting Android Studio, with the top three things you should know:

#1: Support for Jetpack Compose

For the best experience developing with Jetpack Compose, you can now use the latest version of Android Studio 4.0 in the canary channel, and benefit from smart editor features, such as New Project templates, code completion and the ability to immediately preview your Jetpack Compose UI.

#2: What’s new in Android Studio session

We covered both new features and successes of our quality initiative called Project Marble. On the quality aspect, we discuss improvements around hangs and latency, memory leak detection, automatic IDE heap sizing and build speed. Also during the session you will find demos on new developments & features in Android Studio such as Build Attribution tool which helps you understand and diagnose problems with your build system, Java 8 library desugaring, View binding, Kotlin Android live templates, an updated live Layout inspector which allows you to drill into resources right from the view to find where a property value originates in the source code with a 3D visualization of your view hierarchy.

#3: Android Studio Design tools

We introduced new features of Layout & Navigation editor including a new split view, new tools such as Multi-preview which allows you to visualize your layout in different configurations and MotionEditor, visual design editor for the MotionLayout layout type, making it easier to create and preview animations. The Motion Editor provides a simple interface for manipulating elements from the MotionLayout library that serves as the foundation for animation in Android apps. In previous releases, creating and altering these elements required manually editing constraints in XML resource files. Now, the Motion Editor can generate this XML for you, with support for start and end states, keyframes, transitions, and timelines.

You can find the entire playlist of Android Dev Summit sessions and videos here. We’ll continue to spotlight other areas later this month, so keep an eye out and follow AndroidDevelopers on Twitter. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of this experience with you!

Still Using InstallBroadcast? Switch to the Play Referrer API by March 1, 2020

Posted by Marcus Leal, Product Manager, Google Play Ads

How do people find your app? It’s the million-dollar question for any developer, and the answer can help you make the right choices about your marketing strategy and budget. Accurate install referral data is crucial for understanding which traffic sources send users to download your app from the Google Play Store, as well as identifying fraudulent attempts to claim install attributions.

That’s why in 2017, we launched the Play Install Referrer API, which provides a reliable and robust mechanism for apps to retrieve referral information directly from the Play Store. It was a big step forward from the old install_referrer intent broadcast, so many developers made the switch right away, including App Attribution Program partners like Adjust, AppsFlyer, and Kochava. Now, because it’s been replaced by the new API, we’ve decided to deprecate the install_referrer intent broadcast mechanism on March 1, 2020. After this date, new versions of the Play Store app will no longer broadcast the install_referrer intent after app installs.

We are asking developers who still rely on the install_referrer to use the Play Install Referrer API instead. Among other advantages, the Install Referrer API offers better performance, uses a secure communication channel between your app and the Play Store, and offers a more robust solution against spoof and attribution fraud.

If you still use the Broadcast API and the install_referrer intent to track your referrals, be sure to make the switch by March 1, 2020. Migration is easy, and the cost of adoption is low. Learn how to use the Play Install Referrer API to track your app installs today.

3 things to know about Kotlin from Android Dev Summit 2019

Last month’s #AndroidDevSummit was jam-packed with announcements and technical news...so much that we wouldn’t be surprised if you missed something. So all this month, we’ll be diving into key areas from throughout the summit so you don’t miss anything. First up, we’re spotlighting Kotlin, with the top things you should know:

#1: Kotlin momentum on Android

Kotlin is at the heart of modern Android development — and we’ve been excited to see how quickly it has won over developers around the world. At Android Dev Summit we announced that nearly 60% of the top 1000 Android apps on the Play Store now use Kotlin, and we’re seeing more developers adopt it every day. Kotlin has helpful features like null safety, data classes, coroutines, and complete interoperability with the Java programming language. We’re doubling down on Kotlin with more Kotlin-first APIs even beyond AndroidX — we just released KTX extensions, including coroutines support, for Play Core. There’s never been a better time to give Kotlin a try.

#2: Learn more: Getting started with Kotlin & diving into advanced Kotlin with coroutines

If you’re introducing Kotlin into an existing codebase, chances are that you’ll be calling the Java programming language from Kotlin and vice versa. At Android Dev Summit, developer advocates Murat Yener, Nicole Borrelli, and Wenbo Zhu took a look at how nullability, getters, setters, default parameters, exceptions, and more work across the two languages.

For those looking into more advanced Kotlin topics, we recommend watching Jose Alcérreca's and Yigit Boyar's talk that explains how coroutines and Flow can fit together with LiveData in your app's architecture and one on testing coroutines by Sean McQuillan and Manuel Vivo.

#3: Get certified in Kotlin

We announced the launch of our Associate Android Developer certification in Kotlin. Now you can prove your proficiency with modern Kotlin development on Android to your coworkers, your professional network, or even your future employer. As part of this launch, you can take this exam at a discount when using the code ADSCERT99 through January 25.

It’s especially great to hear from you, the Android community, at events like Android Dev Summit: what do you want to hear more about, and how can we help with something you’re working on. We asked you to submit your burning questions on Twitter and the livestream, and developer advocates Florina Muntenescu and Sean McQuillan answered your Kotlin and coroutines questions live during our #AskAndroid segment:

You can find the entire playlist of Android Dev Summit sessions and videos here. We’ll continue to spotlight other areas later this month, so keep an eye out and follow Android Developers on Twitter. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of this experience with you!

Java is a registered trademark of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

3 things to know about Jetpack Compose from Android Dev Summit 2019

Posted by Anna-Chiara Bellini, @dr0nequeen

Last month’s #AndroidDevSummit was jam-packed with announcements and technical news...so much that we wouldn’t be surprised if you missed something. So all this month, we’ll be diving into key areas from throughout the summit so you don’t miss anything. Earlier today, we spotlighted Kotlin and now we’re diving into Jetpack Compose, with the top three things you should know:

#1: Jetpack Compose is available in Developer Preview!

Jetpack Compose is Android’s modern toolkit for building native UI. It allows developers to write beautiful Android apps in an intuitive way, writing less code and accelerating development. It's powerful, because when writing code is a pleasure, you can focus on making your apps look beautiful and giving your users the best experience. At #AndroidDevSummit, we released the Developer Preview, to enable more feedback as we work towards bringing Jetpack Compose to beta next year. All you need to do is download the Android Studio 4.0 Canary build to try it out. To give feedback, feel free to reach out through the Kotlinlang Slack channel or our Bug Tracker to let us know what you think. It's your chance to help us build the right thing!

#2: See what's new in Jetpack Compose

At Android Dev Summit we showed how we've designed Compose to simplify development of Android apps, details on the new Material UI components we are building, and insights on some of the learnings that are informing the way we think about Compose. We also showcased how to write a small app, including layout and state management for a list of elements, in just a few lines of code.

Watch the Android Dev Summit session video to learn more:

If you want to take a look behind the scenes, we also had a tech deep dive into the inner workings of Compose:

#3: Try it out, with our tutorial, sample app, and codelab!

Jetpack Compose is still in Developer Preview, which means it's a great time to try it out and let us know what you think about it. To help you with that, you can follow our tutorial, which will take you through the first steps of building a Compose app, and also take a look at our sample app, Jetnews, that shows what is currently possible with Jetpack Compose. We also have a popular codelab available to take you through how to build UIs with Compose, how to manage state in composable functions, and data flow principles in Compose.

Jetnews sample app

...and we also heard from you!

But Android Dev Summit isn’t just about what we’ve got to say; it’s also about you telling us what you’d like to see worked on to make your life easier. And this year, one thing we heard strongly from our community was how important it is to have the right tools to manage your layouts on so many different form factors and devices. Jetpack Compose has full Android Studio support and you can iterate fast with live Previews.

Android Dev Summit is over for this year, but you can keep giving us your feedback through the Kotlinlang Slack channel and Bug Tracker.

You can find the entire playlist of Android Dev Summit sessions and videos here. We’ll continue to spotlight other areas later this month, so keep an eye out and follow AndroidDevelopers on Twitter. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of this experience with you!