Author Archives: Android Developers

Native Dependencies in Android Studio 4.0

By Dan Albert, Software Engineer

One thing that NDK users struggle with is managing native dependencies:

  • Library authors need to maintain support for both ndk-build and CMake (and hope that their users are using one of those two options and not something else).
  • Libraries don’t always distribute prebuilt binaries for Android, so users must either build the library themselves or rely on (potentially untrustworthy) prebuilt binaries found elsewhere on the web.
  • Android-specific build scripts are often out of date and no longer work.
  • Libraries are sometimes built by a build system that Android doesn’t support.
  • Libraries may not build on the user’s machine. For example, Unix shell scripts won’t run on Windows.
  • Libraries often depend on other libraries, leaving users to chase them down and start the process again.

With version 4.0 of the Android Gradle Plugin, we’ve addressed these issues by adding support for distributing and exposing native libraries through the same mechanism that you do for Java libraries: Android Archives (AARs).

Here’s how you’d use curl and jsoncpp for example (and automatically pull in the implicit OpenSSL dependency that curl has):

// build.gradle
dependencies {
    implementation 'com.android.ndk.thirdparty:curl:7.68.0-alpha-1'
    implementation 'com.android.ndk.thirdparty:jsoncpp:1.8.4-alpha-1'
}

Note: With AGP 4.0 this is still experimental, so to enable this functionality you must set the following properties in your project's gradle.properties file:

# Enables Prefab
android.enablePrefab=true
# Work around https://issuetracker.google.com/149575364
android.enableParallelJsonGen=false
# 4.0.0 canary 9 defaults to Prefab 1.0.0-alpha3, which is not the latest.
android.prefabVersion=1.0.0-alpha5

Importing packages into your build

Declaring the dependencies in your build.gradle will cause Gradle to download those dependencies from Maven, but you must still instruct CMake or ndk-build how those dependencies should be used. Fortunately, the necessary CMake package config or ndk-build module will be automatically generated on your behalf. All you need to do is import and use them.

Here’s an example with CMake:

    cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.6)
    project(app VERSION 1.0.0 LANGUAGES CXX)

    find_package(curl REQUIRED CONFIG)
    find_package(jsoncpp REQUIRED CONFIG)

    add_library(app SHARED app.cpp)
    target_link_libraries(app curl::curl jsoncpp::jsoncpp)

And here’s the same example with ndk-build:

    LOCAL_PATH := $(call my-dir)

    include $(CLEAR_VARS)
    LOCAL_MODULE := libapp
    LOCAL_SRC_FILES := app.cpp
    LOCAL_SHARED_LIBRARIES := jsoncpp curl
    include $(BUILD_SHARED_LIBRARY)

    $(call import-module,prefab/curl)
    $(call import-module,prefab/jsoncpp)

And that’s it. In app.cpp you can now do the following:

#include "curl/curl.h"
#include "json/json.h"

A very common issue that people have is building OpenSSL to use with curl. While not explicitly mentioned in the build scripts above, the curl package itself depends on OpenSSL so this support is available automatically.

For the complete example, see the curl-ssl sample.

Prefab

The tool that facilitates all of this is called Prefab. Each AAR that exposes C++ libraries to its consumers packages their libraries, headers, and a small amount of metadata into the prefab directory in the AAR. If the prefab directory is found in an AAR dependency, the Android Gradle Plugin automatically runs Prefab to generate build system scripts from the contained information.

Each AAR might contain a large number of prebuilts for different configurations, so Prefab will perform a number of compatibility checks to find a suitable library for your build configuration. The selected library will match your build’s ABI, minSdkVersion, STL choice, and be the best fit for the version of the NDK that you’re using.

What libraries are available?

We’ve already published the following libraries:

  • com.android.ndk.thirdparty:curl:7.68.0-alpha-1
  • com.android.ndk.thirdparty:jsoncpp:1.8.4-alpha-1
  • com.android.ndk.thirdparty:openssl:1.1.1d-alpha-1
  • com.google.oboe:oboe:1.3.0

For an up to date list, search https://maven.google.com/web/index.html for “com.android.ndk.thirdparty”.

How can I distribute my own libraries?

For the libraries we currently distribute, we wrote ndkports. This is a good fit if the library you’re building is a typical Linux or cross-platform project that doesn’t fit naturally into a typical Android build. If that’s a fit for the library you want, feel free to use ndkports for it, and consider sending us the patch!

If you’d like to request that Google maintain and publish an open source library in Prefab, use the “Package request” bug template on https://github.com/google/prefab/issues. Please keep in mind that each package does come with an ongoing cost, and we will be adding support on a limited basis so we will not be able to support everything.

Coming next is support for exposing your libraries in AARs using the existing Android Library publishing workflow.

Links

For more information about using native dependencies with the Android Gradle Plugin, see the documentation. For more examples, see the NDK samples.

If you’d like to learn more about Prefab itself, see its documentation on GitHub.

If you encounter any issues, file bugs in our Issue Tracker.

Turning it up to 11: the first Developer Preview of Android 11

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering



Android 11 Dial logo

Android has led the way towards the future of mobile, with new technologies like 5G to foldable displays to machine learning built into the core. A hallmark of our approach is a strong developer community that provides early and thoughtful feedback, helping us deliver a robust platform for apps and games that delight billions of users around the world. So today, we’re releasing the first Developer Preview of Android 11, and building on a strong feedback cycle last year, we’re making this year’s preview available to you earlier than ever.

With Android 11 we’re keeping our focus on helping users take advantage of the latest innovations, while continuing to keep privacy and security a top priority. We’ve added multiple new features to help users manage access to sensitive data and files, and we’ve hardened critical areas of the platform to keep the OS resilient and secure. For developers, Android 11 has a ton of new capabilities for your apps, like enhancements for foldables and 5G, call-screening APIs, new media and camera capabilities, machine learning, and more.

This is just a first look; like prior years, we’ll continue to share new features and updates over the coming months and into Google I/O as we work through your feedback. The most important thing for you to do right now is this: visit the Android 11 developer site, download a system image for your Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4 device, and let us know what you think!

Today’s release is an early baseline build for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use, so we're making it available by manual download and flash only. Remember, getting early input from you is crucial in helping us evolve the platform to meet your needs. Read on for a taste of what’s new in Android 11, and visit the developer site for details on timeline, how to test, and how to give feedback.

Helpful innovation

5G experiences

5G brings consistently faster speeds and lower latency to more users around the world. With 5G you can extend your Wi-Fi app experiences -- such as streaming 4K video or loading higher-res game assets -- to mobile users, or you can build new experiences designed specifically for 5G. In Android 11 we’re enhancing and updating the existing connectivity APIs so you can take advantage of 5G’s improved speeds.

  • Dynamic meteredness API - with this API you can check whether the connection is unmetered, and if so, offer higher resolution or quality that may use more data. We’ve extended the API to include cellular networks, so that you can identify users whose carriers are offering truly unmetered data while connected to the carrier’s 5G network.
  • Bandwidth estimator API - we’ve updated this API for 5G to make it easier to check the downstream/upstream bandwidth, without needing to poll the network or compute your own estimate. If the modem doesn’t provide support, we make a default estimation based on the current connection.


 Moving beyond the home, 5G can for example let you enhance your “on-the-go” experience by providing seamless interactions with the world around you from friends and family to businesses.

Moving beyond the home, 5G can for example let you enhance your “on-the-go” experience by providing seamless interactions with the world around you from friends and family to businesses.



New screen types

Device makers are continuing to innovate by bringing exciting new form-factors and device screens to market. We’ve extended support for these in the platform, with APIs to let you optimize your apps.

  • Pinhole and waterfall screens - Apps can manage pinhole screens and waterfall screens using the existing display cutout APIs. If you want, a new API lets your app use the entire waterfall screen including the edges, with insets to help you manage interaction near the edges.


People and conversations

Communicating with your friends and colleagues is the most important thing many people do on their phones. In Android 11, we are introducing changes that help developers create deeper conversational experiences, a few of which you’ll see early versions of in DP1:

  • Dedicated conversations section in the notification shade - users can instantly find their ongoing conversations with people in their favorite apps.
  • Bubbles - Bubbles are a way to keep conversations in view and accessible while multi-tasking on their phones. Messaging and chat apps should use the Bubbles API on notifications to enable this in Android 11.
  • Insert images into notification replies - if your app supports image copy/paste, you can now let users insert assets directly into notification inline replies to enable richer communication as well as in the app itself. As part of DP1 - you’ll see image copy support in Chrome and image paste support via Gboard clipboard.
Real-time, bilateral communication apps should use the sharing/conversation shortcuts API to provide People targets that Android will surface throughout the phone as well as Bubble APIs to allow users to carry on conversations while using the device in other capacities.

Neural Networks API 1.3

Neural Networks API (NNAPI) is designed for running computationally intensive operations for machine learning on Android devices. In Android 11, we’re expanding the operations and controls available to developers. In this release, we’ve added new operations and execution controls to help optimize common use cases:

  • Quality of Service APIs support priority and timeout for model execution.
  • Memory Domain APIs reduce memory copying and transformation for consecutive model execution.
  • Expanded quantization support, we’ve added signed integer asymmetric quantization where signed integers are used in place of float numbers to enable smaller models and faster inference.

See the NDK sample code for examples using these new APIs.

Watch for more coming in later preview updates. We’re working with hardware vendors and popular machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow to optimize and roll out support for NNAPI 1.3.

Privacy and security

Privacy

Privacy has always been at the core of Android, and each year we’ve added more ways to keep users secure and increase transparency and control. These changes have been popular with users - for example in Android 10 we added the “While app is in use” permission option to give users more granular control over their location and limit background location access. So far, when given the “While app is in use” option, about half of users select it.

In Android 11 we’re continuing our focus on user privacy with new permission options, updates to scoped storage, and more. Please give these features a try with your apps right away and let us know what you think.

  • One-time permission - For the most sensitive types of data - not just location but also for the device microphone and camera - users can now grant temporary access through a one-time permission. This permission means that apps can access the data until the user moves away from the app, and they must then request permission again for the next access. More information here.


One-time permission dialog in Android 11.

One-time permission dialog in Android 11.



  • Scoped storage - We’ve continued our work to better protect app and user data on external storage, and made further improvements to help developers migrate more easily. We want to take a moment to acknowledge everyone in the Android community who gave us such helpful feedback - thank you so much for helping us make the platform better! This preview release includes several enhancements, such as opt-in raw file path access for media, updated DocumentsUI, and batch edit operations in MediaStore. Along with these technical changes, based on your input, we are also giving you more time to make the migration and the changes will apply to your apps when they target Android 11. Read more here and watch for more enhancements in subsequent updates.

In addition to these platform changes, users tell us that they want more protection on earlier versions of Android and more transparency around how apps will use this data, so we are updating Google Play Policy to ensure that apps only request location permissions when truly necessary. Read more

Security

We focus on raising the bar for security with each version of Android -- from reaching more devices with monthly security updates to building more protections into the latest platform. In Android 11, we’ve extended Android’s defense-in-depth strategies to more areas of the platform and added new features and APIs for apps.

  • Biometrics - We’ve expanded our biometrics support to meet the needs of a wider range of devices. BiometricPrompt now supports three authenticator types with different levels of granularity -- strong, weak, and device credential. We’ve also decoupled the BiometricPrompt flow from the app’s Activity lifecycle to make it easier to integrate with various app architectures, and to improve the transaction UI. All apps using biometric auth should move to the BiometricPrompt APIs, which are also available in AndroidX for compatibility with earlier versions of Android.
  • Platform hardening - We’ve expanded use of compiler-based sanitizers in security-critical components, including BoundSan, IntSan, CFI, and Shadow-Call Stack. We’re also enabling heap pointer tagging for apps targeting Android 11 or higher, to help apps catch memory issues in production. These hardening improvements may surface more repeatable/reproducible app crashes in your code, so please test your apps. We've used HWAsan to find and fix many memory errors in the system, and we now offer HWAsan-enabled system images to help you find such issues in your apps.
  • Secure storage and sharing of data - Apps can now share data blobs easily and more safely with other apps through a BlobstoreManager. The Blob store is ideal for use-cases like sharing ML models among multiple apps for the same user.
  • Identity credentials - Android 11 adds platform support for secure storage and retrieval of verifiable identification documents, such as ISO 18013-5 compliant Mobile Driving Licenses. We’ll have more details to share on this soon!


Updates and compatibility

Google Play System Updates

Since Android 10, we’ve been scaling up our investment in Google Play System Updates (Project Mainline) to improve security, privacy, and consistency across the ecosystem. Thanks to strong collaboration with device makers, we’ve made significant progress towards this goal and have expanded our infrastructure to reach a wider range of devices more safely and quickly.

In Android 11, we’ve added 12 new updatable modules, for a total of 22 modules. Highlights include a permissions module that standardizes user and developer access to critical privacy controls on Android devices, a media provider module that’s integral to our privacy efforts around Scoped Storage, and an NNAPI (Neural Networks API) module that optimizes performance and guarantees consistent APIs across devices. To learn more about Google Play System Updates, check out the Project Mainline blog post.

App compatibility

We’re also working to make updates faster and smoother by prioritizing app compatibility as we roll out new platform versions. In Android 11 we’ve added new processes, developer tools, and release milestones to minimize the impact of platform updates.

  • Minimizing the impact of behavior changes - While changes we make to Android can make the OS more helpful, secure, and better performing, some of these changes can affect developers’ apps. As we built Android 11, we made a conscious effort to minimize behavioral changes that could affect apps by closely reviewing their impact and by making them opt-in, wherever possible, until you set targetSdkVersion to 'R' in your app. We hope this gives developers more control, and leads to more apps working out-of-the-box on Android 11.
  • Easier testing and debugging - To help you test for compatibility, we’ve made many of the breaking changes toggleable - meaning that you can force-enable or disable the changes individually from Developer options or adb. With this change, there’s no longer a need to change targetSdkVersion or recompile your app for basic testing. Check out the details here.


App compatibility toggles in Developer Options.

App compatibility toggles in Developer Options.



  • Updated greylists - We’ve updated the lists of restricted non-SDK interfaces, and as always your feedback and requests for public API equivalents are welcome.
  • Dynamic resource loader - As part of their migration away from non-SDK interfaces, developers asked us for a public API to load resources and assets dynamically at runtime. We’ve now added a Resource Loader framework in Android 11, and thank you to the developers who gave us this input!
  • New platform stability milestone - Developers also told us that preparing for early app compatibility was a challenge without a clear date for final changes. So in Android 11 we’re adding a new release milestone called “Platform Stability”, which we expect to reach in early June. This milestone includes not only final SDK/NDK APIs, but also final internal APIs and system behaviors that may affect apps. We hope you can use this new milestone to plan your final development and testing. More on the release timeline is here.


Polish and quality

Connectivity

  • Call screening service improvements - call-screening apps can now do more to help users. Apps can get the incoming call’s STIR/SHAKEN verification status as part of the call details, and they can customize a system-provided post call screen to let users perform actions such as marking a call as spam or adding to contacts.
  • Wi-Fi suggestion API enhancements - We’ve extended the Wi-Fi suggestion API to give connectivity management apps greater ability to manage their own networks. For example, they can force a disconnection by removing a network suggestion, manage Passpoint networks, receive more information about the quality of connected networks, and other management changes.
  • Passpoint enhancements - Android now enforces and notifies about expiration date of a Passpoint profile, supports Common Name specification in the profile, and allows self-signed private CAs for Passpoint R1 profiles. Connectivity apps can now use the Wi-Fi suggestion API to manage Passpoint networks.

Image and camera improvements

  • HEIF animated drawables - The ImageDecoder API now lets you decode and render image sequence animations stored in HEIF files, so you can make use of high-quality assets while minimizing impact on network data and apk size. HEIF image sequences can offer drastic file-size reductions for image sequences when compared to animated GIFs. Developers can display HEIF image sequences in their apps by calling decodeDrawable with an HEIF source. If the source contains a sequence of images an AnimatedImageDrawable is returned.
  • Native image decoder - New NDK APIs let apps decode and encode images (such as JPEG, PNG, WebP) from native code for graphics or post processing, while retaining a smaller APK size since you don’t need to bundle an external library. The native decoder also takes advantage of Android’s process for ongoing platform security updates. See the NDK sample code for examples.
  • Muting during camera capture - apps can use new APIs to mute vibration from ringtones, alarms or notifications while the session is active.
  • Bokeh modes - Apps can use metadata tags to enable bokeh modes on camera capture requests in devices that support it. A still image mode offers highest quality capture, while a continuous mode ensures that capture keeps up with sensor output, such as for video capture.

Low latency

  • Low-latency video decoding in MediaCodec -- Low latency video is critical for real-time video streaming apps and services like Stadia. Video codecs that support low latency playback return the first frame of the stream as quickly as possible after decoding starts. Apps can use new APIs to check and configure low-latency playback for a specific codec.
  • HDMI low-latency mode - Apps can use new APIs to check for and request auto low latency mode (also known as game mode) on external displays and TVs. In this mode, the display or TV disables graphics post-processing in order to minimize latency.


Get started with Android 11

The Developer Preview has everything you need to try the Android 11 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. To get started, download and flash a device system image to a Pixel 2 / 2 XL, Pixel 3 / 3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, or Pixel 4 / 4 XL device. Additionally, you can set up the Android Emulator through Android Studio. The Android Emulator running Android 11 system images includes experimental support to run ARM 32-bit & 64-bit binary app code directly on 64-bit x86 Android Emulator system images. Lastly, for broader testing, GSI images are also available.

Next, update your Android Studio environment with the Android 11 Preview SDK and tools - you can do this from inside Android Studio. See the setup guide for complete details. To take advantage of the latest Android Studio features, we recommend installing the latest version of Android Studio from the canary channel.

When you’re set up, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Try the new features and APIs - your feedback is critical during the early part of the developer preview. We’re actively looking for your input on our new APIs, while there’s still time for use to make changes. For more on what’s new, check out the API overview, API reference, and diff report. Please let us know your feedback and requests as soon as possible!
  • Test your current app for compatibility - the goal here is to learn whether your app is affected by default behavior changes in Android 11. Just install your current published app onto a device or emulator and test all of the app flows. If you find issues, we recommend updating your app soon.
  • Test your app with opt-in changes - Like in previous releases, Android 11 has opt-in behavior changes that only affect your app when it’s targeting the new platform. It’s extremely important to understand and assess these changes early. To make it easier to assess the impact, you can now toggle the changes on and off individually. As you test, please make sure to let us know how these changes are working for your app.

For more information, visit the Android 11 developer site. You’ll find an overview of what’s new in this release, details on behavior changes, setup and migration guides, release notes, feedback channels, and more.

Preview updates

We plan to update the preview system images and SDK regularly throughout the Android 11 release cycle. This initial preview release is for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use, so we're making it available by manual download and flash only. Downloads are here and instructions are here.

As we get closer to a final product, we'll be inviting consumers to try it out as well, and we'll open up enrollments through Android Beta at that time. Stay tuned for details, but for now please note that Android Beta is not currently available for Android 11.

Give us your feedback!

As always, your feedback is crucial, so please let us know what you think — the sooner we hear from you, the more of your feedback we can integrate, and because of timelines, we’re giving priority to input we receive in the next several weeks. When you find issues, please report them here.

Safer and More Transparent Access to User Location

Posted by Krish Vitaldevara, Director of Product Management Trust & Safety, Google Play

Last year, we made several changes to our platform and policies to increase user trust and safety. We’re proud of the work we’ve done to improve family safety, limit use of sensitive permissions, and catch bad actors before they ever reach the Play Store.

We realize that changes can lead to work for developers. Last year, you told us that you wanted more detailed communications about impactful updates, why we’re making them, and how to take action. You also asked for as much time as possible to make any changes required.

With that feedback in mind, today, we’re previewing Android and Google Play policy changes that will impact how developers access location in the background.

Giving users more control over their location data

Users consistently tell us that they want more control over their location data and that we should take every precaution to prevent misuse. Since the beginning of Android, users have needed to grant explicit permission to any app that wants access to their location data.

In Android 10, people were given additional control to only grant access when the app is in use, which makes location access more intentional. Users clearly appreciated this option as over half of users select “While app is in use.”

Now in Android 11, we’re giving users even more control with the ability to grant a temporary “one-time” permission to sensitive data like location. When users select this option, apps can only access the data until the user moves away from the app, and they must then request permission again for the next access. Please visit the Android 11 developer preview to learn more.

Preventing unnecessary access to background location

Users tell us they also want more protection on earlier versions of Android - as well as more transparency around how apps use this data.

As we took a closer look at background location usage, we found that many of the apps that requested background location didn’t actually need it. In fact, many of these apps could provide the same user experience by only accessing location when the app is visible to the user. We want to make it easier for users to choose when to share their location and they shouldn't be asked for a permission that the app doesn't need.

Later this year, we will be updating Google Play policy to require that developers get approval if they want to access location data in the background. Factors that will be looked at include:

  • Does the feature deliver clear value to the user?
  • Would users expect the app to access their location in the background?
  • Is the feature important to the primary purpose of the app?
  • Can you deliver the same experience without accessing location in the background?

All apps will be evaluated against the same factors, including apps made by Google, and all submissions will be reviewed by people on our team. Let’s take a look at three examples:

An app that sends emergency or safety alerts as part of its core functionality - and clearly communicates why access is needed to the user - would have a strong case to request background location.

A social networking app that allows users to elect to continuously share their location with friends would also have a strong case to access location in the background.

An app with a store locator feature would work just fine by only accessing location when the app is visible to the user. In this scenario, the app would not have a strong case to request background location under the new policy.

When we spoke to developers for feedback, the vast majority understood user concerns over their information falling into the wrong hands and were willing to change their location usage to be safer and more transparent.

Getting approval for background access

We know that when we update our policies, you want to get actionable feedback and have ample time to make changes. Before we implement this policy change, you will be able to submit your use case via the Play Console and receive feedback on whether it will be allowed under the new policy.

We anticipate the following timeline for this policy rollout; however, it is subject to change.

  • April: official Google Play policy update with background location
  • May: developers can request feedback on their use case via the Play Console with an estimated reply time of 2 weeks, depending on volume
  • August 3rd: all new apps submitted to Google Play that access background location will need to be approved
  • November 2nd: all existing apps that request background location will need to be approved or will be removed from Google Play

Review and evaluate your location access

We encourage all developers to review the following best practices for accessing location data in their apps:

  • Review the background location access checklist to identify any potential access in your code. Remember you are also responsible for ensuring all third party SDKs or libraries that you use comply with our policies, including access to background location.
  • Minimize your use of location by using the minimum scope necessary to provide a feature (i.e., coarse instead of fine, foreground instead of background).
  • Review privacy best practices and ensure you have the proper disclosure and privacy policies in place.

We hope you found this policy preview useful in planning your roadmap for the year and we appreciate your efforts to build privacy-friendly apps. Together, we can keep the Android ecosystem safe and secure for everyone.

Handling Device Orientation Efficiently in Vulkan With Pre-Rotation

Illustration of prerotation

By Omar El Sheikh, Android Engineer

Francesco Carucci, Developer Advocate

Vulkan provides developers with the power to specify much more information to devices about rendering state compared to OpenGL. With that power though comes some new responsibilities; developers are expected to explicitly implement things that in OpenGL were handled by the driver. One of these things is device orientation and its relationship to render surface orientation. Currently, there are 3 ways that Android can handle reconciling the render surface of the device with the orientation of the device :

  1. The device has a Display Processing Unit (DPU) that can efficiently handle surface rotation in hardware to match the device orientation (requires a device that supports this)
  2. The Android OS can handle surface rotation by adding a compositor pass that will have a performance cost depending on how the compositor has to deal with rotating the output image
  3. The application itself can handle the surface rotation by rendering a rotated image onto a render surface that matches the current orientation of the display

What Does This Mean For Your Apps?

There currently isn't a way for an application to know whether surface rotation handled outside of the application will be free. Even if there is a DPU to take care of this for us, there will still likely be a measurable performance penalty to pay. If your application is CPU bound, this becomes a huge power issue due to the increased GPU usage by the Android Compositor which usually is running at a boosted frequency as well; and if your application is GPU bound, then it becomes a potentially large performance issue on top of that as the Android Compositor will preempt your application's GPU work causing your application to drop its frame rate.

On Pixel 4XL, we have seen on shipping titles that SurfaceFlinger (the higher-priority task that drives the Android Compositor) both regularly preempts the application’s work causing 1-3ms hits to frametimes, as well as puts increased pressure on the GPU’s vertex/texture memory as the Compositor has to read the frame to do its composition work.

Handling orientation properly stops GPU preemption by SurfaceFlinger almost entirely, as well as sees the GPU frequency drop 40% as the boosted frequency used by the Android Compositor is no longer needed.

To ensure surface rotations are handled properly with as little overhead as possible (as seen in the case above) we recommend implementing method 3 - this is known as pre-rotation. The primary mechanism with which this works is by telling the Android OS that we are handling the surface rotation by specifying in the orientation during swapchain creation through the passed in surface transform flags, which stops the Android Compositor from doing the rotation itself.

Knowing how to set the surface transform flag is important for every Vulkan application, since applications tend to either support multiple orientations, or support a single orientation where its render surface is in a different orientation to what the device considers its identity orientation; For example a landscape-only application on a portrait-identity phone, or a portrait-only application on a landscape-identity tablet.

In this post we will describe in detail how to implement pre-rotation and handle device rotation in your Vulkan application.

Modify AndroidManifest.xml

To handle device rotation in your app, change the application’s AndroidManifest.xml to tell Android that your app will handle orientation and screen size changes. This prevents Android from destroying and recreating the Android activity and calling the onDestroy() function on the existing window surface when an orientation change occurs. This is done by adding the orientation (to support API level <13) and screenSize attributes to the activity’s configChanges section:

<activity android:name="android.app.NativeActivity"
          android:configChanges="orientation|screenSize">

If your application fixes its screen orientation using the screenOrientation attribute you do not need to do this. Also if your application uses a fixed orientation then it will only need to setup the swapchain once on application startup/resume.

Get the Identity Screen Resolution and Camera Parameters

The next thing that needs to be done is to detect the device’s screen resolution that is associated with the VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_IDENTITY_BIT_KHR as this resolution is the one that the Swapchain will always need to be set to. The most reliable way to get this is to make a call to vkGetPhysicalDeviceSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR() at application startup and storing the returned extent - swapping the width and height based on the currentTransform that is also returned in order to ensure we are storing the identity screen resolution:

    VkSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR capabilities;
    vkGetPhysicalDeviceSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR(physDevice, surface, &capabilities);

    uint32_t width = capabilities.currentExtent.width;
    uint32_t height = capabilities.currentExtent.height;
    if (capabilities.currentTransform & VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_90_BIT_KHR ||
        capabilities.currentTransform & VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_270_BIT_KHR) {
      // Swap to get identity width and height
      capabilities.currentExtent.height = width;
      capabilities.currentExtent.width = height;
    }

    displaySizeIdentity = capabilities.currentExtent;

displaySizeIdentity is a VkExtent2D that we use to store said identity resolution of the app's window surface in the display’s natural orientation.

Detect Device Orientation Changes (Android 10+)

To know when the application has encountered an orientation change, the most reliable means of tracking this change involves checking the return value of vkQueuePresentKHR() and seeing if it returned VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR

  auto res = vkQueuePresentKHR(queue_, &present_info);
  if (res == VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR){
    orientationChanged = true;
  }

One thing to note about this solution is that it only works on devices running Android Q and above as that is when Android started to return VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR from vkQueuePresentKHR()

orientationChanged is a boolean stored somewhere accessible from the applications main rendering loop

Detecting Device Orientation Changes (Pre-Android 10)

For devices running older versions of Android below 10, a different implementation is needed since we do not have access to VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR.

Using Polling

On pre-10 devices we can poll the current device transform every pollingInterval frames, where pollingInterval is a granularity decided on by the programmer. The way we do this is by calling vkGetPhysicalDeviceSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR() and then comparing the returned currentTransform field with that of the currently stored surface transformation (in this code example stored in pretransformFlag)

  currFrameCount++;
  if (currFrameCount >= pollInterval){
    VkSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR capabilities;
    vkGetPhysicalDeviceSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR(physDevice, surface, &capabilities);

    if (pretransformFlag != capabilities.currentTransform) {
      window_resized = true;
    }
    currFrameCount = 0;
  }

On a Pixel 4 running Android Q, polling vkGetPhysicalDeviceSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR() took between .120-.250ms and on a Pixel 1XL running Android O polling took .110-.350ms

Using Callbacks

A second option for devices running below Android 10 is to register an onNativeWindowResized() callback to call a function that sets the orientationChanged flag to signal to the application an orientation change has occurred:

void android_main(struct android_app *app) {
  ...
  app->activity->callbacks->onNativeWindowResized = ResizeCallback;
}

Where ResizeCallback is defined as:

void ResizeCallback(ANativeActivity *activity, ANativeWindow *window){
  orientationChanged = true;
}

The drawback to this solution is that onNativeWindowResized() only ever gets called on 90 degree orientation changes (going from landscape to portrait or vice versa), so for example an orientation change from landscape to reverse landscape will not trigger the swapchain recreation, requiring the Android compositor to do the flip for your application.

Handling the Orientation Change

To actually handle the orientation change, we first have a check at the top of the main rendering loop for whether the orientationChanged variable has been set to true, and if so we'll go into the orientation change routine:

bool VulkanDrawFrame() {
 if (orientationChanged) {
   OnOrientationChange();
 }

And within the OnOrientationChange() function we will do all the work necessary to recreate the swapchain. This involves destroying any existing Framebuffers and ImageViews; recreating the swapchain while destroying the old swapchain (which will be discussed next); and then recreating the Framebuffers with the new swapchain’s DisplayImages. Note that attachment images (depth/stencil images for example) usually do not need to be recreated as they are based on the identity resolution of the pre-rotated swapchain images.

void OnOrientationChange() {
 vkDeviceWaitIdle(getDevice());

 for (int i = 0; i < getSwapchainLength(); ++i) {
   vkDestroyImageView(getDevice(), displayViews_[i], nullptr);
   vkDestroyFramebuffer(getDevice(), framebuffers_[i], nullptr);
 }

 createSwapChain(getSwapchain());
 createFrameBuffers(render_pass, depthBuffer.image_view);
 orientationChanged = false;
}

And at the end of the function we reset the orientationChanged flag to false to show that we have handled the orientation change.

Swapchain Recreation

In the previous section we mention having to recreate the swapchain. The first steps to doing so involves getting the new characteristics of the rendering surface:

void createSwapChain(VkSwapchainKHR oldSwapchain) {
   VkSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR capabilities;
   vkGetPhysicalDeviceSurfaceCapabilitiesKHR(physDevice, surface, &capabilities);
   pretransformFlag = capabilities.currentTransform;

With the VkSurfaceCapabilities struct populated with the new information, we can now check to see whether an orientation change has occurred by checking the currentTransform field and store it for later in the pretransformFlag field as we will be needing it for later when we make adjustments to the MVP matrix.

In order to do so we must make sure that we properly specify some attributes within the VkSwapchainCreateInfo struct:

VkSwapchainCreateInfoKHR swapchainCreateInfo{
  ...                        
  .sType = VK_STRUCTURE_TYPE_SWAPCHAIN_CREATE_INFO_KHR,
  .imageExtent = displaySizeIdentity,
  .preTransform = pretransformFlag,
  .oldSwapchain = oldSwapchain,
};

vkCreateSwapchainKHR(device_, &swapchainCreateInfo, nullptr, &swapchain_));

if (oldSwapchain != VK_NULL_HANDLE) {
  vkDestroySwapchainKHR(device_, oldSwapchain, nullptr);
}

The imageExtent field will be populated with the displaySizeIdentity extent that we stored at application startup. The preTransform field will be populated with our pretransformFlag variable (which is set to the currentTransform field of the surfaceCapabilities). We also set the oldSwapchain field to the swapchain that we are about to destroy.

It is important that the surfaceCapabilities.currentTransform field and the swapchainCreateInfo.preTransform field match because this lets the Android OS know that we are handling the orientation change ourselves, thus avoiding the Android Compositor.

MVP Matrix Adjustment

The last thing that needs to be done is actually apply the pre-transformation. This is done by applying a rotation matrix to your MVP matrix. What this essentially does is apply the rotation in clip space so that the resulting image is rotated to the device current orientation. You can then simply pass this updated MVP matrix into your vertex shader and use it as normal without the need to modify your shaders.

glm::mat4 pre_rotate_mat = glm::mat4(1.0f);
glm::vec3 rotation_axis = glm::vec3(0.0f, 0.0f, 1.0f);

if (pretransformFlag & VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_90_BIT_KHR) {
 pre_rotate_mat = glm::rotate(pre_rotate_mat, glm::radians(90.0f), rotation_axis);
}

else if (pretransformFlag & VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_270_BIT_KHR) {
 pre_rotate_mat = glm::rotate(pre_rotate_mat, glm::radians(270.0f), rotation_axis);
}

else if (pretransformFlag & VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_180_BIT_KHR) {
 pre_rotate_mat = glm::rotate(pre_rotate_mat, glm::radians(180.0f), rotation_axis);
}

MVP = pre_rotate_mat * MVP;

Consideration - Non-Full Screen Viewport and Scissor

If your application is using a non-full screen viewport/scissor region, they will need to be updated according to the orientation of the device. This requires that we enable the dynamic Viewport and Scissor options during Vulkan’s pipeline creation:

VkDynamicState dynamicStates[2] = {
  VK_DYNAMIC_STATE_VIEWPORT,
  VK_DYNAMIC_STATE_SCISSOR,
};

VkPipelineDynamicStateCreateInfo dynamicInfo = {
  .sType = VK_STRUCTURE_TYPE_PIPELINE_DYNAMIC_STATE_CREATE_INFO,
  .pNext = nullptr,
  .flags = 0,
  .dynamicStateCount = 2,
  .pDynamicStates = dynamicStates,
};

VkGraphicsPipelineCreateInfo pipelineCreateInfo = {
  .sType = VK_STRUCTURE_TYPE_GRAPHICS_PIPELINE_CREATE_INFO,
  ...
  .pDynamicState = &dynamicInfo,
  ...
};

VkCreateGraphicsPipelines(device, VK_NULL_HANDLE, 1, &pipelineCreateInfo, nullptr, &mPipeline);

The actual computation of the viewport extent during command buffer recording looks like this:

int x = 0, y = 0, w = 500, h = 400;
glm::vec4 viewportData;

switch (device->GetPretransformFlag()) {
  case VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_90_BIT_KHR:
    viewportData = {bufferWidth - h - y, x, h, w};
    break;
  case VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_180_BIT_KHR:
    viewportData = {bufferWidth - w - x, bufferHeight - h - y, w, h};
    break;
  case VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_270_BIT_KHR:
    viewportData = {y, bufferHeight - w - x, h, w};
    break;
  default:
    viewportData = {x, y, w, h};
    break;
}

const VkViewport viewport = {
    .x = viewportData.x,
    .y = viewportData.y,
    .width = viewportData.z,
    .height = viewportData.w,
    .minDepth = 0.0F,
    .maxDepth = 1.0F,
};

vkCmdSetViewport(renderer->GetCurrentCommandBuffer(), 0, 1, &viewport);

Where x and y define the coordinates of the top left corner of the viewport, and w and h define the width and height of the viewport respectively.

The same computation can be used to also set the scissor test, and is included below for completeness:

int x = 0, y = 0, w = 500, h = 400;
glm::vec4 scissorData;

switch (device->GetPretransformFlag()) {
  case VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_90_BIT_KHR:
    scissorData = {bufferWidth - h - y, x, h, w};
    break;
  case VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_180_BIT_KHR:
    scissorData = {bufferWidth - w - x, bufferHeight - h - y, w, h};
    break;
  case VK_SURFACE_TRANSFORM_ROTATE_270_BIT_KHR:
    scissorData = {y, bufferHeight - w - x, h, w};
    break;
  default:
    scissorData = {x, y, w, h};
    break;
}

const VkRect2D scissor = {
    .offset =
        {
            .x = (int32_t)viewportData.x,
            .y = (int32_t)viewportData.y,
        },
    .extent =
        {
            .width = (uint32_t)viewportData.z,
            .height = (uint32_t)viewportData.w,
        },
};

vkCmdSetScissor(renderer->GetCurrentCommandBuffer(), 0, 1, &scissor);

Consideration - Fragment Shader Derivatives

If your application is using derivative computations such as dFdx and dFdy, additional transformations may be needed to account for the rotated coordinate system as these computations are executed in pixel space. This requires the app to pass some indication of the preTransform into the fragment shader (such as an integer representing the current device orientation) and use that to map the derivative computations properly:

  • For a 90 degree pre-rotated frame
    • dFdx needs to be mapped to dFdy
    • dFdy needs to be mapped to dFdx
  • For a 270 degree pre-rotated frame
    • dFdx needs to be mapped to -dFdy
    • dFdy needs to be mapped to -dFdx
  • For a 180 degree pre-rotated frame,
    • dFdx needs to be mapped to -dFdx
    • dFdy needs to be mapped to -dFdy

Conclusion

In order for your application to get the most out of Vulkan on Android, implementing pre-rotation is a must. The most important takeaways from this blogpost are:

  1. Ensure that during swapchain creation or recreation, the pretransform flag is set so that it matches the flag returned by the Android operating system. This will avoid the compositor overhead
  2. Keep the swapchain size fixed to the identity resolution of the app's window surface in the display’s natural orientation
  3. Rotate the MVP matrix in clip space to account for the devices orientation since the swapchain resolution/extent no longer update with the orientation of the display
  4. Update viewport and scissor rectangles as needed by your application

Here is a link to a minimal example of pre-rotation being implemented for an android application:

https://github.com/google/vulkan-pre-rotation-demo

Detecting Memory Corruption Bugs With HWASan

Posted by Evgenii Stepanov, Staff Software Engineer, Dynamic Tools

Native code in memory-unsafe languages like C and C++ is often vulnerable to memory corruption bugs. Our data shows that issues like use-after-free, double-free, and heap buffer overflows generally constitute more than 65% of High & Critical security bugs in Chrome and Android.

In previous years our memory bug detection efforts were focused on Address Sanitizer (ASan). ASan catches these errors but causes your app to use 2x-3x extra memory and to run slower.

To better tackle these problems we’ve developed Hardware-Assisted Address Sanitizer (HWASan). HWASan typically only requires 15% more memory. It’s also a lot faster than ASan. HWASan’s performance makes it usable not only for unit testing, but also for interactive human-driven testing. We use this to find memory issues in the Android OS itself, and now we've made it easy for app developers to use it too. HWASan is fast enough that some Android developers use it on their development devices for everyday tasks.

Under the hood

HWASan is based on memory tagging and depends on the Top Byte Ignore feature present in all 64-bit ARM CPUs and the associated kernel support. Every memory allocation is assigned a random 8-bit tag that is stored in the most significant byte (MSB) of the address, but ignored by the CPU. As a result, this tagged pointer can be used in place of a regular pointer without any code changes.

Under the hood, HWASan uses shadow memory - a sparse map that assigns a tag value to each 16 byte block of program memory. Compile time code instrumentation is used to insert checks that compare pointer and memory tags for every memory access, and raise an error if they do not match.

This approach allows us to detect both use-after-free and buffer-overflow types of bugs. The memory tag in the shadow is changed to a random value during allocation and deallocation. As a result, attempting to access deallocated memory with a dangling pointer will almost certainly fail due to a tag mismatch. The same is true for an attempt to access memory outside of the allocated region, which is very likely to have a different tag. Stack and global variables are similarly protected.

Use-after-free bug detection with memory tagging.

Use-after-free bug detection with memory tagging.

This approach is non deterministic: because of the limited number of possible tags, an invalid memory access has 1 chance out of 256 (approximately 0.4%) to pass undetected. We have not observed this as a problem in practice, but, due to the tag randomness, running the program the second time is very likely to find any bugs that the first run has missed.

An advantage of HWASan over ASan is its ability to find bugs that happen far from their origination point - for example, a use-after-free where the memory is accessed long after it has been deallocated, or a buffer overflow with a large offset. This is not the case with ASan, which uses red zones around memory allocations, and a quarantine for the temporary storage of recently deallocated memory blocks. Both redzones and the quarantine are of limited size, and error detection is unlikely beyond that. HWASan uses a different approach that does not have these limitations.

Usage

When a bug is discovered the process is terminated and a crash dump is printed to logcat. The “Abort message” field contains a HWASan report, which shows the access type (read or write), access address, thread id and the stack trace of the bad memory access. This is followed by a stack trace for the original allocation, and, for use-after-free bugs, a stack trace showing where the deallocation took place. Advanced users can find extra debugging information below this, including a map of memory tags for nearby locations.

signal 6 (SIGABRT), code -1 (SI_QUEUE), fault addr --------
Abort message: '==21586==ERROR: HWAddressSanitizer: tag-mismatch on address 0x0042a0807af0 at pc 0x007b23b8786c
WRITE of size 1 at 0x0042a0807af0 tags: db/19 (ptr/mem) in thread T0
    #0 0x7b23b87868 (/data/app/com.example.myapp/lib/arm64/native.so+0x2868)
    #1 0x7b8f1e4ccc (/apex/com.android.art/lib64/libart.so+0x198ccc)
[...]

0x0042a0807af0 is located 0 bytes to the right of 16-byte region [0x0042a0807ae0,0x0042a0807af0)
allocated here:
    #0 0x7b92a322bc (/path/to/libclang_rt.hwasan-aarch64-android.so+0x212bc)
    #1 0x7b23b87840 (/data/app/com.example.myapp/lib/arm64/native.so+0x2840)
[...]

An example snippet from a HWASan crash report.

Google uses HWASan extensively in Android development, and now you can too. Find out more -- including the details of how to rebuild your app for use with HWASan -- at https://developer.android.com/ndk/guides/hwasan. Prebuilt HWASan system images are available on the AOSP build server (or you can build your own). They can be easily flashed onto a compatible device using the recently announced web flash tool.

How we fought bad apps and malicious developers in 2019

Posted by Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play + Android App Safety

Google Play connects users with great digital experiences to help them be more productive and entertained, as well as providing app developers with tools to reach billions of users around the globe. Such a thriving ecosystem can only be achieved and sustained when trust and safety is one of its key foundations. Over the last few years we’ve made the trust and safety of Google Play a top priority, and have continued our investments and improvements in our abuse detection systems, policies, and teams to fight against bad apps and malicious actors.

In 2019, we continued to strengthen our policies (especially to better protect kids and families), continued to improve our developer approval process, initiated a deeper collaboration with security industry partners through the App Defense Alliance, enhanced our machine learning detection systems analyzing an app’s code, metadata, and user engagement signals for any suspicious content or behaviors, as well as scaling the number and the depth of manual reviews. The combination of these efforts have resulted in a much cleaner Play Store:

  • Google Play released a new policy in 2018 to stop apps from unnecessarily accessing privacy-sensitive SMS and Call Log data. We saw a significant, 98% decrease in apps accessing SMS and Call Log data as developers partnered with us to update their apps and protect users. The remaining 2% are comprised of apps that require SMS and Call Log data to perform their core function.
  • One of the best ways to protect users from bad apps is to keep those apps out of the Play Store in the first place. Our improved vetting mechanisms stopped over 790,000 policy-violating app submissions before they were ever published to the Play Store.
  • Similarly to our SMS and Call Log policy, we also enacted a policy to better protect families in May 2019. After putting this in place, we worked with developers to update or remove tens of thousands of apps, making the Play Store a safer place for everyone.

In addition we’ve launched a refreshed Google Play Protect experience, our built-in malware protection for Android devices. Google Play Protect scans over 100B apps everyday, providing users with information about potential security issues and actions they can take to keep their devices safe and secure. Last year, Google Play Protect also prevented more than 1.9B malware installs from non-Google Play sources.

While we are proud of what we were able to achieve in partnership with our developer community, we know there is more work to be done. Adversarial bad actors will continue to devise new ways to evade our detection systems and put users in harm's way for their own gains. Our commitment in building the world's safest and most helpful app platform will continue in 2020, and we will continue to invest in the key app safety areas mentioned in last year’s blog post:

  • Strengthening app safety policies to protect user privacy
  • Faster detection of bad actors and blocking repeat offenders
  • Detecting and removing apps with harmful content and behaviors

Our teams of passionate product managers, engineers, policy experts, and operations leaders will continue to work with the developer community to accelerate the pace of innovation, and deliver a safer app store to billions of Android users worldwide.

The path to DX deprecation

generic Android header

Posted by Leo Sei, Product Manager on Android

Back in 2017, we released D8, a new faster dexing compiler to replace DX, producing smaller APKs. In April 2018, we announced D8 as the default option in Android Studio 3.1.

In that announcement, we laid out 3 phases to deprecate DX and we are now entering phase 2:

“Once we've seen a six month window without major regressions from DX to D8, we'll enter the second phase. This phase will last for a year, and is intended to ensure that even complex projects have lots of time to migrate. During this phase, we'll keep DX available, but we'll treat it as fully deprecated; we won't be fixing any issues.”

If you haven’t already, it is now the time to migrate to D8 (see details in the previous post). As always, if you encounter issues, please do let us know!

Next steps

On Feb 1st, 2021, we’ll move to step 3, removing DX fully from Android Studio and any other build environments.

Note: This post is about DX only (and does not include shrinking tools)

Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

Posted by Mitchell Wills, Android Build Software Engineer

AOSP has been around for a while, but flashing builds onto a development device has always required a number of manual steps. A year ago we launched Android's Continuous Integration Dashboard, which gives more visibility into the continuous build status of the AOSP source tree. However, these builds were not available for phones and flashing devices still required a manual command line process.

In order to support developers working in AOSP we are launching Android Flash Tool, which allows developers to flash devices with builds listed on the Continuous Integration Dashboard. This can be used by developers working on the Android OS to test changes or App developers to test compatibility with the latest AOSP build.

installing build

A device being flashed.

Android Flash Tool allows anyone to use a browser supporting WebUSB, such as Chrome 79 or Edge 79, to flash an Android device entirely from the browser (Windows requires installing a driver). After connecting a device and authorizing the page to connect to it users will be presented with a list of available builds. After choosing a build click flash and the tool does the rest. You can flash recent Pixel devices and the HiKey reference boards with builds based on aosp-master.

Try Android Flash Tool yourself at https://flash.android.com.

Find out more at https://source.android.com/setup/contribute/flash.

Get ready for the Game Developers Conference

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Games Developer Marketing, Google

Cross-posting from the Google Developers Blog.

Google For Games at GDC March 16-20, 2020

Join us online or live* at the Google Developer Summits during the Game Developers Conference on March 16 and 17 to learn about the latest tools and updates to build great games, reach more players, and improve discovery of your game.

Google has lots to share with the game development community at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March. Check out our plans and sign up to keep up to date with the latest GDC news and announcements from Android, Google Play, Firebase, and more.

For one week, tens of thousands of creators from the gaming community come together at GDC to hear the latest industry innovations and network with peers to enable better gaming experiences for players around the world.

Below is a preview of what to expect from Google, and remember, it’s just the beginning. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter as we reveal more leading up to the event, or you can check out our website, Google for Games at GDC.

Google for Games Keynote

We will start the week with the Google for Games Keynote on Monday, March 16 at 9:30 am PST. Join the livestream and learn about the latest tools and solutions to help game developers create great games, connect with players, and scale their businesses.

GDC 2019 Keynote picture

Google Developer Keynote photo at GDC 2019

Google Developer Summit

We have two days of in-depth sessions where you can uplevel your skills across Google products and solutions. Topics range from new tools to optimize game development, how to reach more devices and players, using new Firebase features to alleviate infrastructure management challenges, and much more.

Learn more about the Google Developer Summit we’ll be hosting on March 16 -17 and how you can join in person with an official GDC ticket or via livestream.

We’ll be sharing more details about everything we have planned at GDC in the coming weeks so be sure to sign up to be among the first to hear the latest updates, and save the date to watch the keynote and other Developer Summit sessions at g.co/gdc2020.

More to come soon!

The Google for Games team

*On-site events are part of the official Game Developers Conference and require a pass to attend.

Enter the Indie Games Festival from Google Play

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Developer Marketing

Indie Games Festival banner

The indie developer community released several fantastic titles on Google Play during 2019, showing the technical skill and innovative design that makes them an essential part of the gaming landscape.

To continue helping indie developers thrive, today we’re announcing the 2020 edition of our annual Google Play Indie Games Festival. This year we will host three competitions for developers from several European countries*, Japan, and South Korea.

Prizes:

Prizes are designed to help you grow your business, including:

  • The chance to exhibit at the final events in Warsaw, Tokyo or Seoul
  • Promotions on the Google Play Store
  • Promotions on our consumer and developer-facing channels
  • Access to exclusive developer-focused Google events
  • Personalized consultation sessions with Google team members
  • And more!

Eligibility:

The contests are open to developers from selected countries, with no more than 50 employees. The submitted game must be new, released at least in open beta between May 7, 2019 and March 2, 2020. See other requirements in the terms and conditions for each of the contests.

Process:

process banner for Indie Games Festival

Simply fill out the relevant form by clicking here. Submissions are open until March 2, 2020, at 3pm CET.

The Top 20 entries in each region will be announced in March and invited to showcase at the Festival events where the field will be narrowed to 10 by the event audience, industry experts and the Google team. The Top 10 will present their games on stage and the 3 winners will be selected.

Not submitting a game? Come and take part:

Even if you’re not submitting a game to the competitions, we’d love to see you at one of the Festival events on the 25th of April 2020.

Learn more and sign up on g.co/play/indiefestival

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

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