Tag Archives: android developers

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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Our highlights from Android & Google Play in 2019 – building for the next decade

Posted by Patricia Correa, P&E Developer Marketing Director

The last 12 months have seen Google Play continue to grow, with over 116 billion downloads of the apps and games that you created.

We’ve been working hard to build the latest technology and tools for modern Android development and distribution, improving Google Play and the Play Console to offer you new and better ways for your app to be discovered, promoted, and monetized.

A key focus has been addressing the challenge of keeping users safe and maintaining trust in Google Play.

Modern Android development

We are focused on building great tools and services and your feedback is crucial in helping us do so. You have told us that you love Android’s openness, but we have also heard that you would like us to marry it with an opinion about the right way to do things. We call this approach modern Android development: opinionated and powerful, for fast, easy development, taking away everything that slows you down so you can focus on building incredible experiences. You can see modern Android development come to life in a number of investments we made this year:

  • We previewed Jetpack Compose, a modern declarative UI toolkit built for the next 10 years. Inspired by Kotlin, Compose makes it easy to build beautiful, native apps with code that is more intuitive and concise. Check out the Compose tutorial to learn more.
  • This year, Android Jetpack saw many stable library releases from background scheduling with WorkManager, in-app navigation with Navigation to app performance measurement with Benchmark . In 2019 , we also gave you early versions of more building blocks for your production apps with Jetpack CameraX library, BiometricPrompt and encryption & security. Check them all out here.
  • For everyone who wants to get started with Kotlin there are a range of courses available on Udacity. We’ve added the Advanced Android course with Kotlin to help every developer grow their skills and get the most from Kotlin. For those who are already experts, we’re launching a new Android Developer Certification in Kotlin, which is available at a discount until early 2020.
  • We recently released the first canary version of Android Studio 4.0 with powerful, integrated tooling support for Compose. It also has a new Motion Editor, Java 8 Language library desugaring, full support for KTS files, Kotlin live templates, and more.

Android 10

Android 10, released earlier this year, is built around three important themes. First, Android 10 is shaping the leading edge of mobile innovation with advanced machine-learning and support for emerging devices like foldables and 5G enabled phones. Next, Android 10 has a central focus on privacy and security, with almost 50 features that give users greater protection, transparency, and control. Finally, Android 10 expands users' digital wellbeing controls so individuals and families can find a better balance with technology.

Modern app and game distribution

We introduced Android App Bundles last year as a mechanism to simplify and streamline app distribution, overcome the constraints of APK publishing, and introduce advanced distribution features such as dynamic delivery. There are now over 300K app bundle apps and games in production, covering nearly 30% of all active installs. If this doesn’t include your app or game, check out 16 reasons to publish your apps and games with the Android App Bundle.

This year we’ve made it much easier to test and implement app bundles and dynamic delivery. Internal app sharing makes it easy to share test builds with others. You can easily grant anyone on your team the ability to upload a test build to Play and get a download link to share with your testers. With internal app sharing, you can be sure that each device is receiving exactly what Play would deliver in the wild. You don’t need to use version codes or the prod signing key, and can even upload debuggable artifacts.You can also get download links for old versions of your app from the Play Console, whether they’re app bundles or APKs.

Protecting the ecosystem

In 2019, you helped us make Google Play even safer, building user trust in your apps and Google Play as a whole. Thanks to your hard work, we have:

  • Made Google Play safer for children and families by helping ensure apps and games for children have appropriate content, show suitable ads, and handle personally identifiable information correctly.
  • Reduced access to sensitive data by restricting SMS and call log permissions to apps whose core functionality needs them, resulting in 98% fewer apps accessing this sensitive data.

To help you protect your apps, we’ve improved our ability to detect impersonators, repackaging, bad content, and other forms of abuse. Additionally, we’re investing in resources like policy-focused Play Academy courses to help you better understand and navigate our policy changes.

Because the threats are always changing, it’ll take all of us working together to keep users safe and our platform secure. Thank you for continuing to work with us on this.

Building better app businesses

During 2019 we continued to look for new ways to help you market and monetize your apps and games:

  • Google Play got a visual refresh which improves app discovery and accessibility for the wide diversity of store visitors.
  • App tags improve discoverability, enabling you to describe the content and functionality of your game with up to five tags.
  • Your app’s rating is now weighted towards your most recent ratings, instead of a lifetime cumulative average, so that it better reflects your app’s current state.
  • Improved and more granular benchmarks in the Google Play Console’s User Acquisition-, Ratings-, and Android Vitals-reports; and new benchmarks for core statistics against 200 curated peer-sets; with period-on-period growth rates, including user and device acquisitions, churn, actives, and more.
  • If you’re using subscriptions, the pause subscription report offers you new insights including the length users paused for and whether they returned or churned at the end of their pause period.
  • We expanded our buyer support so you can now sell apps and games to people in Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Iraq, and Turks and Caicos. We also welcomed many new developers to the Google Play Store’s family with Seller Support, with more than 35 additional countries launched this year. Find out more.

And that’s a wrap

With such scale comes responsibility. We’re committed to ensuring our users’ safety for the future, to making development easier and distribution faster, and to offering you more effective ways for your app to be discovered and monetized.

On this note, we hope we can all continue working together to make Android and Google Play better for billions of people around the world, in 2020, and the years to come. From everyone on our team, we wish you all a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.

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

Posted by Marcus Leal, Product Manager, Google Play Ads

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

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

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

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

Modern app and game distribution on Google Play

Posted by Kobi Glick, Product Lead, Google Play

Today we’re kicking off Playtime, our annual event series where we host developers from all over the world to discuss features and best practices to help you grow your apps and games businesses. Last month’s Android Dev Summit focused on modern Android development. Here on the Google Play team, we’re focusing on modern app and game distribution — our set of powerful and customizable distribution features and tools that work together to power your success on Google Play.

The future of Android distribution

The Android App Bundle is foundational to modern app and game distribution, replacing the monolithic APK. Since it launched 18 months ago, over 270K apps and games have made the switch, representing over 25% of active installs. Those that switched have seen an average size savings of 20% compared to a universal APK and more efficient releases as a result.

A recent internal analysis revealed that users with storage-constrained devices are much more likely to uninstall apps, so optimizing how much space your app needs is important. Our new metrics on the app size report in the Play Console can show you how many of your active users have little free storage on their devices and if they’re uninstalling more than other users.

New tools to speed up your workflows and engineering velocity

Testing app bundles is now much easier with internal app sharing. Make anyone in your company an uploader without giving them access to the Play Console and they’ll be able to share test builds of your app as easily as they used to share APKs. With internal app sharing, you can be sure that each device is receiving exactly what Play would deliver in the wild. You don’t need to use version codes or the prod signing key, you can upload debuggable artifacts, and you’ll soon be able to get install links for old versions of your app, too.

The app bundle also lets you modularize your app with dynamic feature modules. Modularization speeds up build times and engineering velocity, since different teams can design, build, test, and debug features in parallel rather than working on the same complex code for a monolithic app. Based on your feedback, we’ve made it easier to develop modular apps with tools such as the new Dynamic Feature Navigator library and FakeSplitInstallManager, which lets you test on-demand delivery while offline instead of waiting for the Play Store.

Get more users on your latest release with improved in-app updates

In-app updates let you prompt users to update to the latest version of your app, without them having to leave your app. More than 10% of the top apps and games are already using in-app updates with an average acceptance rate of 24%. Based on your feedback, we’re also giving you more control over how and when you show update prompts:

  • Set an update priority per release to determine whether the user is interrupted with an immediate or flexible update flow or no prompt at all.
  • Get app staleness, the number of days the app on this device has had an update available without upgrading. You can use both priority and staleness as you’d like when determining which update flow to trigger.
  • You can check the download progress of a flexible update so that you can display your own progress bar in your app.
  • Finally, you can now test your in-app update flows using internal app sharing.

Modern game distribution

For some games with rich content, the 150MB app bundle size limit is not enough. Using expansion files or content delivery networks can get around this but could introduce complexity when you’re building and releasing your game, and can result in a poor user experience. That’s why we’re extending the app bundle format to support asset delivery with a new delivery construct called asset packs which can go up to multiple gigabytes.

Asset packs are packaged in the app bundle alongside your binary, so you can publish a single artifact to Play that contains everything your game needs, giving you full control of your asset delivery. Play’s asset delivery will also enable texture compression targeting, so that your users only get the assets suitable for their device with no wasted space or bandwidth. And you can rely on Play to keep your assets up to date, just as it does with your game binary. We’re currently testing this with some early partners and hope to make it more widely available soon.

Here’s to another successful Playtime

Look out for the sessions from this year’s Playtime, which will be added to the Android Developers YouTube channel. We look forward to sharing more tools and services for your apps and games, made possible by the app bundle and our new dynamic framework. And as always, please give us your feedback and let us know what you think.

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Privacy protections for physical activity in Android 10

Since Google Fit was released in 2015, apps with an abundance of features for health and fitness tracking have integrated with the Google Fit APIs. Over the years, the number of users using Google Fit as a central repository for their fitness and wellness data has grown significantly.

With Android 10, we're making further updates to give users even more control over this personal data. One key change concerns how Android apps can monitor a user’s physical activity and retrieve data from Android sensor APIs and the Google Fit platform.

In Android 10: Activity recognition permission

Android 10 introduces a new runtime permission for activity recognition for apps that make use of the user's step and calorie count or classify the user's physical activity, such as walking, biking, or moving in a vehicle through one of the following APIs:

If your app relies only on raw data from other built-in sensors on the device, such as the accelerometer and gyroscope, you don't need to declare this new permission in your app.

Activity Recognition Permission Enforcement

  • Starting December 2019, data will be restricted from apps not including the Google Play Services legacy activity recognition permission in the manifest. If your app doesn’t currently request this permission, you should add it today to ensure no loss of service for your users.
  • When a user upgrades to Android 10, the system auto-grants this permission to your app if it previously requested the legacy permission.
  • As you begin targeting Android 10, you should register the ACTIVITY_RECOGNITION permission and adopt the new permission model to adhere to the new policy.

Google Fit physical activity APIs

This new permission affects a subset of data types available in the Google Fit APIs on Android. If your app accesses these types from Google Fit today, then you need to update your app inline with the new permissions.

The activity recognition runtime permission is required for accessing the following APIs / data types:

  • RecordingAPI - recording the following data types:
    • com.google.step_count.delta
    • com.google.step_count.cadence
    • com.google.activity.segment
    • com.google.calories.expended
  • HistoryAPI - reading the following data types:
    • com.google.step_count.delta
    • com.google.step_count.cadence
    • com.google.activity.segment
    • com.google.activity.exercise
    • com.google.activity.summary

With Android 10 now launched and SDK 29 becoming your primary development target, now is the time to make sure your apps are compatible with the new runtime permission.

Introducing Google Play Points in the U.S.

Posted by Paul Feng, Product Manager, Google Play

three mobile displays with apps At Google Play, we continue to build new experiences to delight users and help developers succeed. Today, we’re excited to announce that the Google Play Points rewards program is expanding to the United States following successful launches in Japan and Korea, where millions of people have already enrolled. The program is designed to show appreciation to our users and help increase engagement with your games and apps.

Google Play Points rewards users for any purchase they make on Play — including apps, games, in-app items, music, movies, books, and subscriptions - and for downloading select apps and games. For all developers, if you’re on Play billing, users will earn points on your apps and games immediately.

Play Points can then be redeemed for unique rewards like special items and discounts in Candy Crush, Homescapes, Lords Mobile and many others. We’re fortunate to be working with a select group of developers to offer these rewards for the U.S. launch — including Niantic, King, Electronic Arts, Playrix, Jam City, Kabam, Ludia, Kongregate, and others. Users can also redeem their points for Google Play Credit, and spend it on your app or game just as they do today.

Users are finding value in our initial Play Points markets, Japan and Korea, and developers there are incredibly happy with the results. In the future, we look forward to working with additional partners to deliver more unique rewards to users as Google Play Points evolves.

Google Play Points is rolling out in the US over the next few days. If you’d like to enroll as a user in the program, open the Play Store app on your Android device, tap menu, then tap Play Points to get started.

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High engagement, larger screens: How Android developers can reach users on any device

Posted by Allan Livingston, Product Management Director, Chrome OS App Ecosystem

Android fuels mobile apps on devices that range far beyond your typical small-screen smartphone, from new Chromebooks like the lightweight, high-performance Google Pixelbook Go to multi-display devices and foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Not to mention the more than 175M Android tablets that have the Google Play store installed.1

These large-screen devices set the stage for more engaging and visually immersive experiences, whether by creating a larger canvas for creativity or by giving users faster, more flexible ways to work. As we’ve continued to prioritize large-screen devices with OEM partners like Samsung, Asus, and Lenovo, we’ve been able to expand our reach to a huge new audience of users.

During the week of Black Friday in 2018, 1 in 3 notebooks sold in the U.S. were Chromebooks.2 Chromebook unit sales also increased 22% YoY, while the rest of the notebook category decreased -6.1%.3 And we’re not just reaching more users — we’re reaching more engaged users. In fact, in just the last year, the total amount of time spent in Android apps on Chrome OS has grown 4X.4

YoY notebook sales in the U.S.

By making adjustments for larger screens, you can provide richer experiences across all these devices and tap into a wider audience of app users. Development teams around the world — including Adobe Lightroom, Evernote, and Gameloft, among many others — have already seen some incredible results:

App developers driving engagement on larger screens

With the goal of allowing users to play any video file, anywhere, on any device or screen size, the developers at VideoLAN project decided to adapt VLC — an open source, cross-platform multimedia player — for all screens. The team started by adding keyboard and mouse support before designing multiple versions of the layout to allow users to easily scale and resize the app.

Users can now enjoy the same immersive experience across a range of different devices and form factors, and VideoLAN has already received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users around the world.

War Robots — a 12-player real-time battle game developed by Pixonic — was originally designed for early-generation phones. The team enabled windowed gameplay so users could play in one window while watching their favorite streamers or upgrading their robots in another, created new tutorials and controls that appear whenever players switch between desktop and tablet mode, and added support for keyboard and mouse input.

More than 100,000 players have already played War Robots on Chrome OS since Pixonic rolled out the latest optimizations, which made War Robots’ battles even more thrilling and engaging on larger screens, and Pixonic has seen 25% longer user sessions on Chromebooks as a result.

Is your app optimized for large-screen devices? Here are a few things to consider:

1) Laptop and tablet mode
Test your core app functions to make sure everything works smoothly without crashing as users switch between different modes.

2) Window management and layout
Support multi-window mode and free-form window resizing, and be sure to design optimized layouts for both landscape and portrait orientations. Set up your app to correctly handle configuration changes to avoid crashes when people rotate their devices.

Suite of devices

3) Keyboard and mouse input
Make sure your app is fully functional without touch input, and add support for keyboards, mice, and game controllers (if applicable).

4) Hardware support
If you’re using NDK, be sure to support x86 (32 and 64bit) ABIs to ensure the highest possible performance.

Build, test, and run Android apps on a Chromebook

From the start, our goal has been to make the Chromebook a simple, secure, and speedy environment for everyone. The launch of Linux (Beta) on Chrome OS allowed Android developers to build and test apps with a Chromebook. And earlier this year at I/O, we announced that Android Studio 3.5 now fully supports Chrome OS with a simple one-click installation.

Since then, we’ve been working on a few improvements that make Chromebooks an even better place for safe and seamless Android app development. Let’s start with the biggest one:

Deploying an app directly to Chrome OS to enable full Android development
In the past, you could only test your apps by deploying them to Android phones. With Chrome OS’s upcoming M80 release, you’ll be able to deploy Android apps directly to your Chromebook. That way, you can develop and test your app on the same machine, all without a connected device or needing to put your laptop in developer mode. Developers can start testing this feature in developer channel in November.

GPU acceleration for a snappier, jank-free UI (now in beta channel)
We’ve enabled GPU support to reduce latency and deliver a snappier UI. That goes for developer apps such as Android Studio, Unity Editor, or Visual Studio Code. And for developers who also work on web apps, GPU acceleration means faster testing with Chrome Canary or Firefox.

Container backup and restore to easily move between devices
Previously, Linux files and apps were tied entirely to the device — if you lost your device, you lost all the work inside of it. Now, Chrome OS’s container-based architecture allows you to pack up your entire workspace and export it to external storage or Drive. The backup file can be restored at any point, either on the same machine — which is helpful when jumping back to a previous state — or to move to another Chromebook.

You can now find import and export buttons in your Linux settings.

Picture-in-picture (PiP) support

If you’ve built PIP support into your Android apps, you’ll see that function work seamlessly in Chrome OS in 2020. But you can start testing this feature now by enabling PiP in Android settings → Developer options.

Build your apps with larger screens in mind

With millions of users on Chromebooks, tablets, foldables, and now multi-display devices, designing app experiences with larger screens in mind is crucial. Seize this opportunity to engage more users by optimizing your existing apps to work great across all screens. And the latest Linux features on Chrome OS give you the power to use a single machine to build and run Android apps. Don’t hesitate to take action to ensure your apps work seamlessly on larger screens with Linux on Chrome OS.









Sources

1. The number of tablets only accounts for devices that have the Google Play Store installed (e.g., excluding tablets in China); the actual number of tablets capable of running Android applications is much larger.

2. The NPD Group, Inc., Retail Tracking Service, U.S., Notebook Computers, Chrome OS, based on units, Nov. 18, 2018–Nov. 24, 2018 vs. Nov. 19, 2017–Nov. 25, 2017.

3. The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Notebook Computers, based on units, Sept. 2018–Aug. 2019. Sales are adjusted for 5 weeks in Jan. 2018 vs. 4 weeks in Jan. 2019.

4. Google Internal Data, March 2018–March 2019.

All About Updates: More Treble

Posted by Iliyan Malchev, Project Treble Architect

Android 10, our newest release, brings helpful tools for both developers and consumers like suggested actions in Smart Reply to help you multitask faster, Dark theme for battery saving, Focus mode that keeps you from digital distractions, and more. And with almost 50 changes related to privacy and security, Android 10 gives you greater protection, transparency, and control over your data than ever before. It is important to both users and developers that these new releases find their way to mobile devices as fast as possible. In this post, we’ll share an update on the progress we’ve made with Project Treble, an initiative to help manufacturers update devices to new versions of Android more quickly.

Wait and See

When we launched Project Treble with Android 8.0 Oreo, we asked ourselves if our investment would pay off. There were two factors to consider in measuring the effectiveness of the program:

  • Complexity: The new architecture was a major overhaul, meaning it could only be implemented for devices launching with Android 8.0 Oreo and not for devices upgrading from Android 7.0 Nougat and older versions.
  • Time: We had to wait until we released Android 9 Pie to measure the rate of upgrades from Oreo and compare this number to the previous releases.

The Partner Beta Program

One of the earliest indications that Project Treble was having a positive effect was our ability to run the Beta program for Android 9 Pie on many more devices from more manufacturers. In addition to Google Pixels, we had 7 device models from 7 OEMs supporting Android 9 Pie Beta.

With Android 10, this year, we increased the number of devices to 18 (again, in addition to Pixels), representing 12 OEMs. This represents a significant increase over the previous year and shows that Project Treble is having an impact.

Distribution Chart

Beta releases are great, but how did we fare on actual upgrades? To answer this question, we considered two points in time. The first point is right before we released Android 9. The second point is right before we released Android 10. By each of these points in time, the previous release had had a year to reach devices.

In late July, 2018, just before Android 9 Pie was launched in AOSP, Android 8.0 (Oreo) accounted for 8.9% of the ecosystem. By comparison, in late August 2019, just before we launched Android 10, Android 9 (Pie) accounted for 22.6% of the ecosystem. This makes it the largest fraction of the ecosystem, and shows that Project Treble has had a positive effect on updatability.

Graph of Android Oreo Adoption rate

The adoption of Android Pie has been much higher than that of Android Oreo and Oreo MR1 when measured relative to the launch date.

Continuous Improvements in Updatability

The progress shown above results from work we did in Android 8.0 Oreo. We have made serious improvements with Android 9 Pie as well. The most significant one was our behind-the-scenes collaboration with silicon manufacturers. This work had the effect of reducing the average time to upgrade by more than 3 months, and we expect to see upgrades from Android 9 to Android 10 noticeably sooner this year.

There is also the sheer amount of hardening work on the architecture. We completed the seal between the vendor and system components of Android, which ensures that new versions of the top part of the OS run on older versions provided by our partners. We formalized the interface to the Android Linux kernel, expanded the Treble test suite (VTS), and did so much more. As a result, upgrades from Android 9 to Android 10 are going much more smoothly, as evidenced by direct feedback from our OEM and silicon partners.

We are beginning to see the effects already. This year, we saw two OEMs issue software updates to Android 10 on the day we announced it: Xiaomi and Essential. On the same day, OnePlus started a public beta program, and just a few days later, they started updating devices. HMD Global’s Nokia 8.1 just started receiving the update this week. In addition to these partners, many manufacturers such as ASUS, LG, Motorola, OPPO, Realme, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Transsion, and Vivo have committed to updating some of their devices to Android 10 by the end of the year. Plus, new devices are already hitting shelves with Android 10, such as the OnePlus 7T. We are very excited that Samsung announced an open beta for Android 10 on their devices and started the rollout on October 12th, compared to November 15th last year.

The ROM developer community benefits from improved updatability as well. Mere days after the Android 10 launch, external developers ported it to 15 devices that launched on Android 8 and 9. This work was made much easier thanks to Project Treble, and we are very excited about the potential for open-source development on the OS. We made this even easier by publishing Google-signed Generic System Images (GSIs) and GMS binaries on android.com, as well as posting detailed instructions for developers to try them on their own.

DSU and Project Mainline

In Android 10, we delivered Dynamic System Updates (DSU). For every device launching on Android 10 that supports DSU, developers are able to install Google-signed Generic System Images and boot into them without having to touch the factory ROMs on their devices. We showcased this work at Google I/O, switching painlessly between GSIs and Factory ROMs on Pixel devices.

We also implemented Project Mainline, which allows Google to update directly, via the Play Store, components of the OS that are critical to security and app compatibility. Project Mainline is to the core of the Android OS what Project Treble is to its foundation. It is a dramatic improvement in the velocity of updates of the OS components that fall under its umbrella.

Project Mainline also builds on the work we've done on a less obvious part of Android, called Google Mobile Services (GMS), which has been receiving updates in this way for years. GMS is the part of your Android device that makes it work seamlessly with all of Google's services. Yet another piece, called Webview, is at the core of your browser and every application that interacts with the web. This security- and correctness-critical component also gets updated via Play Store.

Looking Forward

The Android ecosystem is truly vast. There are hundreds of phone manufacturers, dozens of SoC (mobile CPU) models, and thousands of very different devices. Creating an updatability architecture that covers all of them is a complex task. Android is committed to updatability in all forms, whether it’s real-time updates to first- and third-party apps, developer libraries such as Jetpack, or regular security updates for Android devices.

It has been exciting to see the impact of our efforts on updatability. We have a lot more work to do, and we are tirelessly investing on improving updates. I am proud of the progress we all—Android, Google at large, and our many partners—have made so far. I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to sharing our work for the next release of Android.

Celebrating 1 year of Google Play’s Academy for App Success

Posted by Dan Lavelle, Head of Learning Operations, Google Play

One year ago, we introduced the Academy for App Success , an e-learning platform to help apps and games businesses who want to grow on Android and Google Play. In that time we've seen tens of thousands of people register for free learning, complete over 50,000 courses, and provide an average course rating of 4.66 out of 5 stars. Thank you to everyone who has spent time learning about best practices, Play Console features, policies and other aspects that are critical to growing your business - we hope to see more of you in the future.

New content and features

Since the debut of Play Academy, we've been working hard to expand our offering to cover the topics you want to learn about. In this time, we have:

  • Created and updated 30+ courses
  • Localized Play Academy in 9 additional languages
  • Developed tailored content for specific markets, such as India, Indonesia and Korea
  • Launched content updates to share the best of GDC and Google I/O
  • Refreshed the visual experience.

We've also been listening to your feedback and have updated Play Academy with content to cover key areas that might interest you:

illustration for Google Play policy illustration for Subscription model for games Track installs, uninstalls, and upgrades

Google Play policy

Subscription model for games

Track installs, uninstalls, and upgrades


What's next?

Our goal at Play Academy is to provide you with a free learning resource to optimize your use of Play Console features, learn best practices to apply to your app or game business, and stay on the right side of Google Play policy.

Over the coming year, we will continue to create and update content in these key areas, in addition to investing in new learning formats to complement our interactive e-learning content.

Start learning now!

At Google Play, we're looking forward to another great year of learning with you.

It's easy to get started with Play Academy - simply head to g.co/playacademy, sign up for your free account, and choose from over 75 e-learning courses and assessments. While you're there, leave a rating and review on any courses you complete.

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Android Automotive OS updates for developers

Posted by Madan Ankapura, Product Manager, Android

Google’s vision is to bring a safe and seamless connected experience to every car. Since 2017, we have announced collaborations with vehicle manufacturers like Volvo Car Group, General Motors and others to power infotainment systems with Android Automotive OS, Google’s open-source Android platform, and to enable integration of Google technology and services. Now with the reveal of Volvo’s XC40 Recharge and the previously announced Polestar 2, we are making progress on our vision with these brand new, customized infotainment systems that feature real-time updates to the Google Assistant, Google Maps and automotive apps created by Google, and the global developer community.

Volvo XC40 carVolvo XC40 infotainment unit

Volvo XC40 Recharge & its infotainment unit

With more manufacturers adding Android Automotive OS based infotainment systems to their vehicles, app developers have an opportunity to reach even more users with innovative, and drive optimized experiences.

Concept image from GM on Maps & Media integration

Concept image from GM on Maps & Media integration

Developing & testing media apps on emulator

At Google I/O 2019, we published design guidelines for developing media apps for cars, added wizard support to Android Studio, updated emulator to have car specific controls and the Android Automotive OS emulator system image. These latest features helped Android developers start to design, as well as develop and test their existing media apps to run on Android Automotive OS (review developer documentation here).

Today, we’re announcing that developers can download an updated Android Automotive OS emulator system image that includes the Google Play Store. This means developers no longer have to wait to get their hands on a vehicle, but can design, develop, run apps right within the emulator, and can now test distribution via Play Console by requesting access.

In addition to the apps announced at Google I/O, more media app developers, including Amazon Music, Audioburst and YouTube Music, are adapting their apps for Android Automotive OS. The process of porting existing media apps that support Android Auto to this platform is simple and requires minimal development resources.

Audioburst, Amazon Music and YouTube Music running on the Android Automotive OS emulator

Audioburst, Amazon Music and YouTube Music running on the Android Automotive OS emulator

And if you want to learn more about creating apps for Android Automotive OS — join us at Android Dev Summit 2019. Come talk to us in our sandbox, tune in via livestream on YouTube, or post on the automotive-developers Google Group or Stack Overflow using android-automotive tags.

We hope to see you there!