Tag Archives: Featured

Meet 5 Android developers working to improve lives around the world

Posted by Maxim Mai, Apps Partnerships, Google Play

Last Thursday at Google I/O 2017, we announced the winners of this year's Google Play Awards. Grab some popcorn and watch the award ceremony, we think it's just as fun as The Oscars. This year, we included a category to celebrate the achievements of developers who publish outstanding apps that have positive social impact.

In introducing this awards category, we were inspired by the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With the ability to reach over 1 billion active Android devices around the world, we think that app developers have a tremendous opportunity to impact Zero Hunger (SDG #2), Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG #3) and Quality Education (SDG #4), and many others. Read on to find out more about how this year's winner and finalists and impacting these goals.

Get in touch about your social impact app or game

Our work in supporting developer success in this area on Android and Google Play is just beginning. We would like to encourage Android developers with a focus on social impact to get in touch with us here at Google Play and to tell us about their app or game. It doesn't matter where you are based, what problems you are solving, or which countries you are targeting, we would like to hear your story and maybe we can help you grow faster and improve your app's quality.

Social impact winner & finalists in the 2017 Google Play Awards

🏆 ShareTheMeal by United Nations 🏆

The Google Play Award category winner, ShareTheMeal, generates large scale, global awareness for "Zero Hunger" and its users' donations pay for school meals, which are provided by the World Food Programme, in regions around the world experiencing food insecurity. Over 13 million meals have been donated via the app since launch!

Charity Miles by Charity Miles

This is a running, cycling and walking tracker app with a social impact twist. Charity Miles earns money for charity on your behalf for every mile you move, via its brand fitness exercise sponsors! Users have already donated $2 million to charity by recording over 40 million miles!

Peek Acuity by Peak Vision

Peek Acuity allows anyone with an Android phone to easily measure visual acuity, which is one of the components of vision. It is designed by eye care professionals to be used to help identify people who need further examination by, for example, an optometrist or ophthalmologist. In developing countries, over XM [confirm number with Peek Vision] struggle with vision impairment and many don't have easy access to an eye care professional.

Prodeaf Translator by ProDeaf Tecnologias Assistivas

This app lets anyone translate phrases and words from Portuguese for Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) or from English to American Sign Language (ASL). This significantly reduces barriers to communication between the millions of people who depend on Libras or ASL as their lingua franca and others who have not had the opportunity to learn this form of communication.

Sea Hero Quest by GLITCHERS

This is not just a game, it's a quest to help scientists fight dementia! It sounds too good to be true but this really is a game, where simply by having loads of fun chasing creatures around magical seas and swamps, you can help to fight a disease that currently affects 45 million people worldwide. In fact playing SEA HERO QUEST for just 2 minutes will generate the equivalent of 5 hours of lab-based research data.

If you're working on an app or game with a positive social impact, don't forget to get in touch via this form and tick the "Social Impact app" checkbox.

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Make more money with subscriptions on Google Play

Posted by George Audi, Tom Grinsted and Larry Yang, Google Play

The subscription business model is one of the best ways to make more regular, reliable, and recurring revenue on Android and Google Play. In fact, both developers and users love subscription apps so much that we’ve seen a 10X growth in consumer spend over the past three years and double the number of active subscribers in the past year. Thousands of developers are offering subscriptions through Google Play and are already seeing success with our billing platform. That’s why we’ve been working hard to help you take advantage of this opportunity and give you greater insights into your business and Android users.

New features to help your subscriptions business thrive

You've got a high-performing product with fantastic features and compelling content, but your business can't succeed without acquiring new users. In addition to free trials, intro pricing, flexible billing periods, and more, we recently launched the ability to pay for subscriptions with Google Play balance. Although people have already been using gift cards to pay for Play content in over 20 countries, the use of gift cards to pay for subscriptions in regions where cash is a popular form of payment, such as Latin America, has resulted in as high as a 15% increase in subscription spend.

But it's not just about acquiring new customers, it's about retaining the ones you have. That's why we are introducing account hold, where we work with you to block access to your content or service if a user's form of payment fails. This directly links a payment failure to the user losing access to your content and/or premium features, which is enough to get them to go and choose a new form of payment. When Keepsafe–the developer of Keepsafe Photo Vault, a photo locker for private pictures and videos with over 50M downloads–integrated account hold, their renewal rate on Android increased by 25%. We have over a dozen developers in early access today, and we will be announcing public availability at the end of June.

We know data is vital to running your business, so we're excited to announce a new subscriptions dashboard in the Play Console, and a new report on Android app subscribers.

The dashboard brings together subscription data like new subscribers, cancellations, and total subscribers. It also displays daily and 30-day rolling revenue data, and highlights your top-performing products. This will give visibility into your subscription products and users and will help guide your business decisions.

Insights to help you grow your subscriptions business

In addition to products and features, understanding people's needs is core to building a successful subscription business. We talked to 2,000 Android app subscribers in the US and UK and asked them how and why they use the apps they do. The results shared in 'Subscription apps on Google Play: User insights to help developers win' report highlight some of the opportunities for you to grow your subscriptions user base, set pricing strategies and learn to keep your users engaged, including:

  • Use free trials to acquire users. 78% of users start with a free version of an app, and many cite a discount or end of a free trial as a reason to pay.
  • Keep your content appealing and updated to get and keep users paying. It's the most important driver in converting users from free to paid users, as well as keeping users engaged and retained.
  • There is a huge opportunity to make money from subscriptions. While pricing elasticity varies by category, few users cite price as a reason to churn from a paid subscription and 64% either budget on a per app basis or not at all (as opposed to budgeting across all app subscriptions).
To find out more about your growing your subscription business with Google Play, watch our I/O session, download the research report (PDF), and get started with subscriptions with Google Play In-app Billing.

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Android Announces Support for Kotlin

By Mike Cleron, Director, Android Platform
Today the Android team is excited to announce that we are officially adding support for the Kotlin programming language. Kotlin is a brilliantly designed, mature language that we believe will make Android development faster and more fun. It has already been adopted by several major developers — Expedia, Flipboard, Pinterest, Square, and others — for their production apps. Kotlin also plays well with the Java programming language; the effortless interoperation between the two languages has been a large part of Kotlin's appeal.
The Kotlin plug-in is now bundled with Android Studio 3.0 and is available for immediate download. Kotlin was developed by JetBrains, the same people who created IntelliJ, so it is not surprising that the IDE support for Kotlin is outstanding.
In addition to the IDE support, we're announcing a collaboration with JetBrains to move Kotlin into a non-profit foundation. (Kotlin is already open sourced under Apache2.)

Say "Hello" to Kotlin

Kotlin will be very familiar to anyone who has used the Java programming language.
package helloWorld

fun main(args: Array) {
   println("Hello World!")
}
At first glance, you will see comforting elements like curly braces, classes, packages, functions and methods. But as you go deeper, you will discover that although Kotlin is based on familiar concepts, it is a uniquely modern, elegant and pragmatic riff on those models. In particular, Kotlin is highly expressive with minimal syntactic friction between your thoughts and what you have to type in order to express those thoughts. If when writing code you have asked yourself questions that began "why do I have to …?" you will be pleased to learn that in Kotlin the answer to many of those questions is "you don't!"
For example, perhaps you have asked why you need to type in a bunch of boilerplate getters and setters as well as overriding equals(), hashCode() and toString() when implementing a simple class. Here is a typical example from the Java programming language (in a microscopic font for brevity).
public class Customer {
   private String name;
   private String email;
   private String company;

   public Customer(String name) {
       this(name, "", "");
   }

   public Customer(String name, String email) {
       this(name, email, "");

   }

   public Customer(String name, String email, String company) {
       this.name = name;
       this.email = email;
       this.company = company;
   }

   public String getName() {
       return name;
   }

   public void setName(String name) {
       this.name = name;
   }

   public String getEmail() {
       return email;
   }

   public void setEmail(String email) {
       this.email = email;
   }

   public String getCompany() {
       return company;
   }

   public void setCompany(String company) {
       this.company = company;
   }

   @Override
   public boolean equals(Object o) {
       if (this == o) return true;
       if (o == null || getClass() != o.getClass()) return false;

       Customer customer = (Customer) o;

       if (name != null ? !name.equals(customer.name) : customer.name != null) return false;
       if (email != null ? !email.equals(customer.email) : customer.email != null) return false;
       return company != null ? company.equals(customer.company) : customer.company == null;
   }

   @Override
   public int hashCode() {
       int result = name != null ? name.hashCode() : 0;
       result = 31 * result + (email != null ? email.hashCode() : 0);
       result = 31 * result + (company != null ? company.hashCode() : 0);
       return result;
   }

   @Override
   public String toString() {
       return "Customer{" +
               "name='" + name + '\'' +
               ", email='" + email + '\'' +
               ", company='" + company + '\'' +
               '}';
   }
}
In Kotlin, you don't have to type any of that. This single line is equivalent to the entire class above.
data class Customer(var name: String, var email: String = "",
                    var company: String = "")

History and Reference

Kotlin has been around for quite a while; it was announced back in 2011 and the first preview was released in 2012. Kotlin 1.0 was released in 2016, at which point JetBrains committed to maintaining backwards compatibility for stable features from 1.0 forward.
You can find excellent training material and references at https://kotlinlang.org/. The Android team has found the Kotlin Koans tutorial to be especially helpful as a quick way to get started writing some Kotlin snippets. These tutorials range from the simple to the sublime as the material progresses from the basics to more sophisticated Kotlin idioms.

Why Kotlin?

Why did the Android team decide to support Kotlin? Most importantly, it was because we think Kotlin is a great language that will make writing Android apps easier and more enjoyable.
Kotlin is also a great match for the existing Android ecosystem. It is 100% compatible with the Java programming language. You can add as little or as much Kotlin into your existing codebase as you want and mix the two languages freely within the same project. Calling out to Kotlin code from code written in the Java programming language Just Works™. Going the other direction usually works without any developer effort too via some automatically applied translation conventions (for example, things like property getters and setters are created for you). With the help of a few Kotlin annotations, you can also customize how the translation is performed.
Finally, many, many developers have told us they love the Kotlin language. (Many of our own developers on the Android team have also been saying similar things.) There is already an enthusiastic community of Kotlin developers for Android, and the Android team has been routinely peppered with questions about Kotlin at public events. The Android community has spoken, and we listened.

A Quick Tour

To help you get a sense of where all of the excitement around Kotlin is coming from, here is a quick, very-much-not-comprehensive tour of some of the particularly appealing aspects of Kotlin:
Nullable
The Kotlin compiler enforces that variables that can hold null values are explicitly declared – thus no more NullPointerExceptions at runtime!
var neverNull: String = "something"
var mightBeNull: String? = null // "?" indicates this can be null

if (neverNull.length > 0) {   // This is OK
    …
}

if (mightBeNull.length > 0) { // Compiler catches this error for you
    …
}
Named parameters and default arguments
We've all seen methods that have too many parameters to keep track of. For example:
fun orderPizza(size: Size, pepperoni: Boolean, mushrooms: Boolean,
               ham: Boolean, pineapple: Boolean, pickles: Boolean,
               sausage: Boolean, peppers: Boolean, onion: Boolean)
{
    ...
}

// Wait… did I just order pickles on my pizza?
// Why do we even have that option?
orderPizza(Size.LARGE, true, false, false, false, true,
           false, true, false)
Compare that to a similar scenario using named parameters and default arguments:
fun orderPizza(size: Size,
               pepperoni: Boolean = false,
               mushrooms: Boolean = false,
               ham: Boolean = false,
               pineapple: Boolean = false,
               pickles: Boolean = false,
               sausage: Boolean = false,
               peppers: Boolean = false,
               onion: Boolean = false)
{
    ...
}

orderPizza(Size.LARGE, ham = true, mushrooms = true)
In addition to helping to avoid tragic pizza outcomes, this is much easier to read. It also reduces the number of variants of overloaded functions you need to write.
When statement
Kotlin has a variation of a switch statement that allows matching on arbitrary expressions.
// Please don't put this in your app!
when {
    password.equals("password") -> println("Insecure password!")
    password.length < 4 -> println("Too short!")
    else -> {
        println("Secure password!")
    }
}
Smart Casts
Why should you have to cast something to a class right after you just tested that it is an instance of that class? In Kotlin, you don't have to do that anymore.
if (obj is String) {
    // Compiler casts obj to a String for you.
    // (Would work with && instead of nested ifs too.)
    if (obj.length > 0) {
        …
    }
}
This generalizes to the when statement as well:
// Assume reasonable implementations of Cat and Dog
when (obj) {
   is Cat -> obj.meow(...)
   is Dog -> obj.woof(...)
   else -> {
        …
   }
}
Extension functions
Kotlin lets you essentially retcon new methods onto an existing type. If you, like many people, wish that the String class had a toPigLatin method, you can now add it yourself without having to create a new helper class to wrap String or going through the trouble of serving on a language committee:
// The "String." prefix indicates that this method should
// extend the existing String class
fun String.toPigLatin() : String {
    ...
}

val plainOldString : String = "some text"

// Can now call toPigLatin as if were a method on String
println(plainOldString.toPigLatin())

// Or:
println("some text".toPigLatin())
Destructuring Declarations
We have already seen how easy it is to define a simple data class:
data class Order(val itemCode: String, val quantity: Int,
                 val price: Float)
A function that uses one of these classes as the return type is very close to supporting multiple return values:
fun getOrder(...): Order {
    ...
    return Order(itemCode, quantity, price);
}
To get all the way there, you can use the destructuring declaration syntax. The following statement takes the Order object, extracts its three properties, and then assigns them to the three variables what, howMany and howMuch — all courtesy of the Kotlin compiler, which also infers the correct types for you.
val (what, howMany, howMuch) = getOrder(...)
Lambdas
Kotin has an extremely concise syntax for lambdas that makes is easy to express powerful functional programming paradigms. Here's a simple example that uses a lambda to test that everything in a collection is a String:
fun allStrings(collection: Collection)=
    collection.all { it is String }
That lambda syntax is building block of one of Kotlin's coolest features: the ability to create builders that use JSON-like syntax that also happens to be syntactically valid Kotlin. This example is adapted from an extended discussion here, but you can get the flavor of what it possible with this snippet:
fun generatePage(withEmphasis : Boolean) {
    val result =
        html {
            head {
                title { +"Kotlin Builders" }
            }
            body {
                h1 { +"Kotlin Builders" }
                p {
                    +"This is "
                    if (withEmphasis) b { +"really " }
                    +"interesting"
                    a(href = "https://goo.gl/rHwJio") { +"More here" }
                }
            }
        }
    println(result)
}
There are a couple of interesting things going on here. First, this shows how expressive Kotlin's functional syntax can be: in this example, "html", "head", "body, etc. are all just functions written in Kotlin and the stuff in curly braces that follows are functional parameters. (This snippet uses functions with names that match HTML tags to build a representation of a web page, but of course you can use this pattern to build any complex data structure with whatever names you want.) The second interesting thing is the "withEmphasis" conditional. This may look like we are mixing code (if (withEmphasis) …) with data (all the HTML-esque tags), but the "data" here is actually just more code. Since it is all really just code, this lets you build complex data structures using a declarative syntax while also having inline access to the full capabilities of the Kotlin language.

Getting Started

If you want to get started with Kotlin, you can start playing with code online immediately here. Just hit the green triangle to compile and run.
To try Kotlin in your app, follow these steps:
  1. Download Android Studio 3.0
  2. Open one of your existing ".java" files
  3. Invoke "Code > Convert Java File to Kotlin File"
The IDE will then walk you through adding Kotlin dependencies into your project, and then convert the code to functionally equivalent Kotlin code. (The IDE will also offer to touch up all of the call sites to the converted class when suitable to be more idiomatic Kotlin such as when static methods are moved to companion objects.)
You can also find a lot more information on how to start using Kotlin on developer.android.com.

Android Studio 3.0 Canary 1




By Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

Just in time for Google I/O 2017, we're providing a sneak peak of Android Studio 3.0 - available to download today on our canary release channel. Android Studio's our official IDE, purpose-built for Android, and we keep increasing our investment. The feature set in Android Studio is focused on accelerating your app development flow and providing the latest tools built for the Android platform.

To accelerate your development flow, Android Studio 3.0 includes three major features: a new suite of app performance profiling tools to quickly diagnose performance issues, support for the Kotlin programming language, and increased Gradle build speeds for large sized app projects. Android Studio 3.0 also tightly integrates with Android platform development with these additional key features: support for Instant App development, inclusion of the Google Play Store in the Android O emulator system images, and new wizards for Android O development. Overall, this first canary release of Android Studio 3.0 has 20+ new features.

We have been quietly iterating on many of these features as part of the Android Studio 2.4 Canaries. Today we are renumbering the release to Android Studio 3.0 after recognizing that we added many significant features, and that we had to introduce a rare breaking change in the Android Gradle Plugin to improve scalability and build times. If you want to target Android O, create an Instant App, start developing with the Kotlin language or use the latest in Android app performance tools to improve your app quality then you should download Android Studio 3.0 Canary 1 today.
Android DevByte - What’s New in Android Studio 3.0 Canary 1


Check out the the list below organized into key developer flow for the details of the new features in this first canary release of Android Studio 3.0.

Develop


  • Kotlin Programming Language - By popular request, Android Studio 3.0 now includes support for Kotlin. With this new language support, you can seamlessly add Kotlin code next to your existing Android app code and have access to all the great development tools found in Android Studio. You can choose to add Kotlin to your project using the built-in conversion tool found under CodeConvert Java File to Kotlin File, or you choose to create a Kotlin enabled project with the New Project Wizard. Lean more about Kotlin language support in Android and Android Studio.

Kotlin Language Conversion in Android Studio


  • Java 8 Language features - We are continuing to evolve the support for Java 8 language features and APIs. With the recent deprecation of the Jack toolchain and migration to the javac based toolchain, you have access to features such as Instant Run for projects using the Java 8 language features in Android Studio. 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.
Update Project Structure Dialogue for Java 8 Language




  • Layout Editor - With this Android Studio release, you will find additional enhancements to the Layout Editor. We have updated the component tree with better drag-and-drop view insertions, and a new error panel. In coordination with an update to ConstraintLayout, the Layout Editor also supports creating view Barriers, creating Groups, and enhances Chain Creation. Learn more.
Layout Editor Component Tree & Warning Panel



  • Adaptive Icon Wizard - Android O introduces adaptive launcher icons, which can display in different shapes across different Android devices. The new Adaptive Launcher Icon wizard creates the new and legacy launcher icon assets and provides previews of how your adaptive icon will look on different launcher screen icon masks. Create a new asset by right-clicking on the /res folder in your project then navigate to → NewImage AssetLauncher Icons (Adaptive and Legacy) Learn more.
Adaptive Icon Wizard



  • XML Fonts & Downloadable Fonts - Adding custom fonts to your app (available when targeting Android O) is now even easier with the XML fonts preview and font selection tools in Android Studio. You can can also create a downloadable font resource for your app. Using downloadable fonts allows you to use a custom font in your app while avoiding the need to bundle in a font resource into your APK. To use downloadable fonts, ensure that you device or emulator is running Google Play Services v11.2.63 or higher. Learn more.
Downloadable Fonts Resource Picker

XML Fonts Preview




  • Android Things Support - With Android Studio 3.0, you can start developing on Android Things with a new set of templates in the New Project wizard and the New Module wizard. Android Things allows you to extend your Android development knowledge into the Internet of Things (IoT) device category. Learn more.

Android Things New Module Wizard 




  • IntelliJ Platform Update: Android Studio 3.0 Canary 1 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

  • Instant App Support - With Android Studio 3.0, you can create Instant Apps in your project. Instant Apps are lightweight Android apps that your users can immediately run without installation. To support this, Android Studio introduces two new module types: instant app and feature. Combined with a new "Modularize" refactoring action and the App Links Assistant, Android Studio can help you extend your app into an Instant App. To use you can use the New Module Wizard or right-click on a class and navigate to: RefactorModularize Learn more.

Instant App Module Wizard



  • Build Speed Improvements - We are continuing to invest in making build speeds faster. For this release, we focused on improving speed for projects that have many modules. To achieve these speed improvements and to support future enhancements, we have made breaking API changes to the Android Gradle plugin used by Android Studio. If you depended on APIs provided by the previous plugin you should validate compatibility with the new plugin and migrate applicable APIs. To test, update the plugin version in your build.gradle file. Learn more.



build.gradle

dependencies {
   classpath 'com.android.tools.build:gradle:3.0.0-alpha1'
}
  • Google's Maven Repository - Also, by popular request, we are now distributing the Android Support Library maven dependencies outside of the Android SDK Manager in a brand new Maven repository. For those developing with a Continuous Integration (CI) system, this should make Maven dependency management easier. Used in combination with the latest command line SDK Manager tool and Gradle, CI builds should be easier to manage with Google's Maven Repository. To use the the new Maven location, add the following url to your app module's build.gradle file. Learn more.
build.gradle
repositories {
   maven {
       url "https://maven.google.com"
   }
}



    Test & Debug

    • Google Play System Images - Along with the update to the Android O Beta release, we updated the Android Emulator O system images to 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



    Update Google Play Services 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. To get started, make sure you are using Android Emulator v26.1+, the latest system images API 24+ and then create a new AVD with a Google Play icon next to the device definition. Learn more.


    Android Virtual Device Manager with Google Play Store Support 





    • OpenGL ES 3.0 Support in Android Emulator - As a part of our ongoing investment in making your development experience fast, the latest version of the Android Emulator has OpenGL ES 3.0 support for Android O system images along with significant improvements in OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics performance for older emulator system images. Most modern graphics cards on all operating systems support OpenGL ES 2.0 acceleration. To use OpenGL ES 3.0 with the Android Emulator, your development machine needs a host GPU graphics card that supports OpenGL 3.2 or higher on Microsoft® Windows® or Linux (with Apple MacOS® support coming in the future). Learn more.


    OpenGL ES 3.0 in Android Emulator




    • 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 all the necessary configuration settings and space to capture your repro steps. Additionally, if you want to share a specific emulator bug with the Android team, we have also added a link to quickly generate a bug on the Android Issue Tracker. To use this feature, navigate to the Emulator Tool BarExtended ControlsHelpEmulator HelpFile a Bug. Learn more.

    App Bug Reporting in Android Emulator


    • Proxy Support in Android - For those who need to use a HTTP proxy to access the Internet, we have added a user interface to manage the proxy settings used by the emulator. By default, the Android Emulator will now use the settings from Android Studio, but you can override these settings for your network setup. To configure navigation to the Extended ControlsSettingsProxy.
    Android Emulator Proxy Settings


    • Android Wear Rotary Controls in Android Emulator - The Android Emulator now supports rotary controls for the Android Wear 2.0 emulator system image. It is now easier to test your apps that target Android Wear devices that include rotary input scrolling. To enable, create an Emulator AVD that targets Android Wear, and the Rotary Input panel should appear under Extended controls. Learn more.

    Rotary input in Android Emulator



    • APK Debugging - For those of you who just want to debug an APK without building your project in Android Studio, the Android Studio 3.0 release now has the ability to debug an arbitrary APK. This functionally is especially helpful for those who develop your Android C++ code in another development environment, 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 APKLearn More.

    Profile or Debug an APK


    APK Debugging


    • Layout Inspector - You will find that the Layout Inspector has a few additional enhancements in Android Studio 3.0 that make it easier to debug issues in your app layouts. A couple of the enhancements include better grouping of properties into common categories, as well as search functionality in both the View Tree and Properties Panels. While an application is running, access the Layout Inspector via ToolsAndroidLayout Inspector. Learn more.
    Layout Inspector


    • Device File Explorer - Ported from DDMS into Android Studio by popular demand, the new Device File Explorer 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.

    Device File Explorer



    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 - Unnecessary CPU processing and load spikes are symptoms of poor app performance. With the CPU Profiler, you can analyze the CPU thread usage of your app by triggering a sample or instrumented CPU trace. At this point, you can troubleshoot CPU performance issues using a variety of data views and filters built into the CPU Profiler. Learn more.

    CPU Profiler


    • Memory Profiler - Using memory inefficiently can lead to many device problems ranging from a janky UI to low memory events. The Memory Profiler combines the functionality of the previous Heap Viewer and Allocation Tracker in one rich interface to help debug memory usage problems in your app. You can diagnose a range of memory issues by analyzing memory allocations, heap dumps and more. Learn more.

    Memory Profiler



    • Network Profiler - Optimizing foreground and background network usage in your app can lead to a more performant app and lower app data usage. The network profiler allows you to monitor the network activity of your app, inspect the payload of each of your network requests, and link back to the line of source code that generated the network request. Currently, the network profiler works with HttpURLConnection, OkHttp, and Volley network libraries. The network profiler is an advanced analysis feature that can be enabled on Pre-Android O devices & emulators by selecting Enable Advanced Profiling in the Profiling Tab in the Run Configuration box. In addition to enabling network request and payload analysis, this checkbox enables event collection at the top level, memory object count, and memory garbage collection. For Android O-based devices and emulator, just deploy your app. Learn more.
    Network Profiler




    Network Profiler Setup for Pre- Android O Devices


    • APK Analyzer Improvements - In Android Studio 3.0, we have added some additional enhancements to the APK Analyzer to help you further optimize the size of your APK. With this feature update, you can now analyze Instant App zip files & AARs, and view dex bytecode of classes & methods. You can also generate Proguard configuration rules and load Proguard mapping files in the dex viewer. Learn more.

    APK Analyzer
    Check out the release notes for more details.

    Getting Started  

    Download

    If you are using a previous version of Android Studio, you can install Android Studio 3.0 Canary 1 alongside your stable version. You can download this update from the official Android Studio Preview download page. As mention 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-alpha1 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.




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

    Posted by: Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    User experience tips to help you design your app to engage users and drive conversions

    By Jenny Gove, Senior Staff UX Researcher, Google Play

    We know you work hard to acquire users and grow your customer base, which can be challenging in a crowded market. That's why we've heard from many of you that you find tools like store listing experiments and universal app campaigns are valuable. It's equally important to keep customers engaged from the beginning. Great design and delightful user experiences are fundamental to doing just that.

    We partnered with AnswerLab to conduct comprehensive user experience research across a variety of verticals; including e-commerce, insurance, travel, food ordering, ticket sales and services, and financial management. The resulting insights may help you increase engagement and conversion by providing guidance on useful and usable functionality.

    The best app experiences seamlessly guide users through their tasks with efficient navigation, search, forms, registration and purchasing. They provide great e-commerce facilities and integrate effective ordering and payment systems. Ultimately, an engaging app begins with attention to usability in all of these areas. Learn tips on:

    • Navigation & Exploration
    • In-App Search
    • Commerce & Conversions
    • Registration
    • Form Entry
    • Usability and Comprehension

    You can read the full article, design your app to drive conversions, on the Android Developers website, complete with links to developer resources. Also get the Playbook for Developers app to stay up-to-date with features and best practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.

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    Why you should localize your app or game for Middle East and North Africa

    By Mohammad El-Saadi, Business Development, Google Play

    The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a fast growing market for app and game developers on Google Play, and localizing is crucial to making the most of the opportunity. For example, the main grossing apps & games in Saudi Arabia have localized their store listings and their actual app and game on Google Play.

    The British team behind the Skyscanner travel app had already localised it into more than 15 languages, yet the launch in Arabic was a huge milestone for them. Arabic speaking users really appreciated the localization and the app's average user rating increased from 4.62☆ to 4.77☆ after localization. Users engaged with the app longer, with an increase of 30% in their average session duration. Additionally 50% more travellers have been redirected to Skyscanner partners to book flight, hotel and car hire deals.


    Skyscanner opening screen in English and in Arabic
    But how difficult is it to correctly localize your app or game to Arabic?

    The team at Skyscanner managed to develop Right-To-Left (RTL) Arabic language support within the app in two weeks: "Our initial fear was that we would need lots of manual coding for the layouts. However, the Android layout system handled all of the cases really well. We were already using *Start and *End margin and padding in line with guidelines, but there's also Android Studio support and Lint check to fix any issues automatically." says Tamas Chrenoczy-Nagy, Senior Software Engineer.

    Many other top apps and games developers are successfully investing in localizing for MENA users. For example, when game developer Pocket Gems localised War Dragons, the installs by Arabic speaking users tripled. Their percentage of revenue from Arabic language players also went from effectively 0% to ~1.5%.

    We just refreshed the Now in Arabic collection (MENA only) with 16 newly localized apps and games, including titles like Netflix, Periscope and Clash of Queen Dragons. It will be live until May 11 on Google Play in the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.


    Check our Localization Checklist for best practices when localizing for any language, and our Going Global Playbook. When your app or game in Arabic is ready, you can self-nominate to be part of future refreshes of the Now in Arabic collection by filling in this form.


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    The Google Play Awards are returning to Google I/O

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


    Drum roll please! The Google Play Awards are back again this year and will take place Thursday, May 18th at 6:30pm (Pacific Time) during Google I/O, our annual developer festival.

    The annual ceremony is a great opportunity for the industry to recognize outstanding developers that continue to set the bar for quality apps and games showing a passion for driving innovation and adoption of new platforms and user experiences.

    This year we'll be honoring partners across 12 award categories, some familiar and some new. Nominees were selected much like last year by cross-functional teams throughout Google who work hand-in-hand with the relevant categories and product areas. While category specific criteria can be found below, the common requirements across all categories focused on high star rating, technical performance and freshness, requiring a launch or major update since April 2016. The winners of each category will be announced at Google I/O in May.

    The full list of categories and nominees are below and can also be found at g.co/play/GPA2017:

    Standout Indie


    Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, gameplay mechanics and overall polish. And the nominees are…… 


    Standout Startup


    Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong organic install growth. And the nominees are……


    Best Android Wear Experience


    New wear 2.0 apps offering great design, user delight and functionality. And the nominees are…


    Best TV Experience


    Apps or games leveraging innovative features for the large-screen format while providing an immersive and intuitive experience. And the nominees are…


    Best VR Experience


    Highly engaging and immersive experience with optimal use of Daydream UI. And the nominees are…


    Best AR Experience


    Apps or games harnessing the creative and imaginative technology of AR. And the nominees are…


    Best App for Kids


    Apps or games with family friendly design that encourage creativity, exploration and education. And the nominees are…


    Best Multiplayer Game


    Games built to connect gamers in competitive and engaging multiplayer experiences. And the nominees are…



    Best App


    A true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal. And the nominees are…


    Best Game


    Games with strong mechanics, stellar graphics and strong engagement and retention tactics. And the nominees are...


    Best Accessibility Experience


    Apps or games enabling device interaction in an innovative way that serves people with disabilities or special needs. And the nominees are…


    Best Social Impact


    Apps that creates meaningful social impact for a broad spectrum of people around the world. And the nominees are…


    Join us live at the ceremony May 18th at 6:30 pm PDT at Google I/O or via the live stream to see who wins.


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    App onboarding for kids: how Budge Studios creates a more engaging experience for families

    Posted by Josh Solt (Partner Developer Manager, Kids Apps at Google Play) and Noemie Dupuy (Founder & Co-CEO at Budge Studios)

    Developers spend a considerable amount of resources driving users to download their apps, but what happens next is often the most critical part of the user journey. User onboarding is especially nuanced in the kids space since developers must consider two audiences: parents and children. When done correctly, a compelling onboarding experience will meet the needs of both parents and kids while also accounting for unique considerations, such as a child's attention span.

    Budge Studios has successfully grown their catalog of children's titles by making onboarding a focal point of their business. Their target demographic is three to eight-year olds, and their portfolio of games include top titles featuring Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, Crayola, Caillou and The Smurfs.

    "First impressions matter, as do users' first experience with your app. In fact, 70%1 of users who delete an app will do so within a day of having downloaded it, leaving little time for second chances. As an expert in kids' content, Budge tapped into our knowledge of kids to improve and optimize the onboarding experience, leading to increased initial game-loop completion and retention." - Noemie, Founder & Co-CEO at Budge Studios

    Three key ways Budge Studios designs better onboarding experiences:


    1. Make sure your game is tailor-made for kids

    When Budge released their app Crayola Colorful Creatures, they looked at data to identify opportunities to create a smoother onboarding flow for kids. At launch, only 25% of first-time users were completing the initial game loop. Budge analyzed data against gameplay and realized the last activity was causing a drastic drop-off. It required kids to use the device's microphone, and that proved too challenging for very young kids. Budge was able to adjust the initial game loop so that all the activities were accessible to the youngest players. These adjustments almost tripled the initial loop completion, resulting in 74% of first-time users progressing to see additional activities.

    2. Earn parents trust by providing real value upfront

    Budge has a large of portfolio of apps. Earning parents' trust by providing valuable and engaging experiences for kids is important for retaining users in their ecosystem and achieving long term success.

    With every new app, Budge identifies what content is playable for free, and what content must be purchased. Early on, Budge greatly limited the amount of free content they offered, but over time has realized providing high quality free content enhances the first-time user experience. Parents are more willing to spend on an app if their child has shown a real interest in a title.

    Working with top kids' brands means that Budge can tap into brand loyalty of popular kids characters to provide value. To launch Strawberry Shortcake Dreams, Budge decided to offer Strawberry Shortcake, the most popular character in the series, as a free character. Dress Up Dreams is among the highest converting apps in the Budge portfolio, indicating that giving away the most popular character for free helped conversions rather than hurting it.

    3. Test with real users

    Budge knows there is no substitute for direct feedback from its end-users, so Budge involves kids every step of the way. Budge Playgroup is a playtesting program that invites families to try out apps at the alpha, beta and first-playable development stages.

    The benefits from early testing can be as basic as understanding how the size and coordination of kids' hands affect their ability to complete certain actions or even hold the device, and as specific as pinpointing a less-than-effective button.

    In the testing stages of Strawberry Shortcake Holiday Hair, Budge caught an issue with the main menu of the app, which would not have been evident without observing kids using the app.

    Prior to Playtesting:

    After Playtesting:

    In the original design, users were prompted to start gameplay by audio cues. During testing, it was clear that the voiceover was not sufficient in guiding kids to initiate play, and that additional visual clues would significantly improve the experience. A simple design change resulted in a greatly enhanced user experience.

    The onboarding experience is just one component of an app, but just like first impressions, it has a disproportionate impact on your users' perception of your app. As Budge has experienced, involving users in testing your app, using data to flag issues and providing real value to your users upfront, creates a smoother, more accessible onboarding experience and leads to better results.

    For more best practices on developing family apps and games, please check out The Family Playbook for developers. And visit the Android Developers website to stay up-to-date with features and best practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.

    1.http://www.cmswire.com/customer-experience/mobile-app-retention-5-key-strategies-to-keep-your-customers/

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    5 tips for indie game success, from indie game developers

    Posted by Sarah Thomson, BD Partnerships Lead, Indies, Google Play Games

    Mobile gaming is a fun place to be right now. It's a landscape seeing tremendous success year after year with great potential for additional growth and innovation. It's also a space where developers can express themselves with creative game styles, mechanics, design and more. This is what the indie community does best.

    Here are 5 tips for indies by indies, shared by our gaming partners at 505 Games, About Fun, Disruptor Beam, Klei Entertainment, and Schell Games.


    1. Embrace being indie


    Indies are inherently smaller operations and should embrace their agility and ability to take risks. Petr Vodak, CEO at About Fun, recommends getting your product out there so you can start taking feedback and apply your learnings to future projects. Don't be afraid to fail! Remaining flexible and building in modularity so you can evolve with the business needs is a strategy embraced by Pete Arden, CMO at Disruptor Beam. For instance, with their game Star Trek Timelines, the initial user experience was tailored to avid Star Trek fans. Over time, as user acquisition costs increased, they've changed the new player experience to appeal to their evolving user base of gamers looking for a fun entertainment experience and less the specific Star Trek IP.

    2. Find a way to stand out


    To help stand out in the ultra competitive mobile space, Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games, recommends doing something clever or very different. This strategy has led them to explore the growth areas of new platforms such as AR & VR. While new platforms present a field for opportunity and creativity, they're best to be approached with the long term in mind allowing you to sustain the business until critical mass is reached.

    3. Build a community


    There are many ways to build communities. If you have an existing fan base on other platforms, cross-promote to drive awareness of your mobile offerings. You can also look at porting titles over, but be aware of the differences in mobile gaming habits and ensure you adapt your game accordingly.

    4. Engage after install


    Both 505 Games and Klei Entertainment recommend running your premium titles as a service. Through monitoring user reviews you can gain invaluable feedback and trends helping you better understand user pain points and desires. In addition, by releasing regular content updates and in-game events you create reason for users to get back in the game. This not only drives reengagement, but 505 Games also sees strong spikes in new installs aligned with major game updates.

    5. Monetize in different ways


    Similar strategy to above, dropping regular content refreshes and game updates while offering a variety of monetization options gives users more ways to engage with your game. Keeping your games fresh gives users reason to come back and builds loyalty so you can cross-promote to your users with future game launches.

    If you're looking for a fun new game to play, check out the great selection on Indie Corner on Google Play. And if you're working on a new indie game of your own, nominate your title for inclusion.

    Watch more sessions from Google Developer Day at GDC17 on the Android Developers YouTube channel to learn tips for success. Visit the Android Developers website to stay up-to-date with features and best practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.


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