Tag Archives: Android

Improve your app mileage with Android for Cars App library

Posted by Madan Ankapura, Product Manager

In April, we announced our first version of the Android for Cars App Library as part of Jetpack, reaching a milestone to let developers publish their navigation, parking, charging apps on the Google Play Store.

Today, we’re announcing that version 1.1 is in alpha, which brings the following features to developers:

  • Sign-in template - Allows users to sign in to your app directly from the car screen while parked.
  • Long Message template - Allows you to show long messages like terms of service to users as part of the setup flow while parked.
  • Multiple-length text - Different car screen sizes may show different amounts of text. We added an API you can use to specify multiple variants of a text string in select templates to fit different screen sizes.
  • Map Interactivity - You can now add capabilities such as zooming and panning to your navigation template.
Android for Cars App library

For the entire list of changes, please see the release notes. To start building your app for the car, check out our updated developer documentation, car quality guidelines and design guidelines.

These library features are available for testing only with the Desktop Head Unit. We will announce when these features are available to run in cars in the future.

If you’re interested in joining our Early Access Program in the future, please fill out this interest form. You can get started with the Android for Cars App Library today, by visiting g.co/androidforcars.

6 new features on Android this summer

From keeping your account password safe to scheduling text messages to send at the right moment, we’re constantly rolling out new updates to the 3 billion active Android devices around the world. Today, we’re welcoming summer with six updates for your Android that focus on safety  — so you’re protected at every turn.


1. Android Earthquake Alerts System is rolling out globally

Earthquake alert screen that clicks through to an earthquake safety info screen

Last year, we embarked on a mission to build the world’s largest earthquake detection network, based on technology built into Android devices. With this free system, people in affected areas can get alerts seconds before an earthquake hits, giving you advance notice in case you need to seek safety. We recently launched the Android Earthquake Alerts System in New Zealand and Greece. Today, we’re introducing the Android Earthquake Alerts System in Turkey, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

We are prioritizing launching Earthquake Alerts in countries with higher earthquake risks, and hope to launch in more and more countries over the coming year.


2. Star what’s important with the Messages app

With tons of messages from family, friends, colleagues and others, it’s easy for information to get lost. Now, you can star a message on your Messages app to keep track of what’s important, and easily find it later without scrolling through all of your conversations. Just tap and hold your message, then star it. And when you want to revisit a message, like your friend’s address or the photo from your family reunion, tap on the starred category. 


Starred messages will start to roll out more broadly over the coming weeks.


3. Find the perfect Emoji Kitchen sticker at the perfect time

After typing a message, relevant emoji mixes are proactively displayed at the top of the keyword

In May, we introduced a new section in your recently used Emoji Kitchen stickers so you can quickly get back to the ones you use most frequently. Soon you’ll also start to see contextual suggestions in Emoji Kitchen once you’ve typed a message. These will help you discover the perfect emoji combination at the exact moment you need it.


Contextual Emoji Kitchen suggestions are available in Gboard beta today and are coming to all Gboard users this summer for messages written in English, Spanish and Portuguese on devices running Android 6.0 and above.


4. Access more of your favorite apps with just your voice

Ask Google to open or search many of your favorite apps using just your voice — you can say things like,  “Hey Google, pay my Capital One bill” to jump right into the app and complete the task or “Hey Google, check my miles on Strava” to quickly see your weekly progress right on the lock screen. See what else you can do by saying “Hey Google, shortcuts.” 


5. Improved Password Input and gaze detection on Voice Access

A gaze detection icon on a screen changes from crossed out to active when a character turns its head towards the device to speak the "scroll down" command in Voice Access

Built with and for people with motor disabilities, and helpful for those without, Voice Access gives you quick and efficient phone and app navigation with just your voice.


With gaze detection, now in beta, you can ask Voice Access to work only when you are looking at the screen — so you can naturally move between talking to friends and using your phone. 


Voice Access now has enhanced password input. When it recognizes a password field, it will let you input letters, numbers and symbols. For example, you can say “capital P a s s w o r d” or names of symbols (like “dollar sign” to input a $), so it’s faster to safely enter your password.


6. More customization and new app experiences on Android Auto

After a user taps on the Messages app icon and + New, Google Assistant is activated to help send a new message from the launcher screen

You can now customize more of your Android Auto experience for easier use, like personalizing your launcher screen directly from your phone and manually setting dark mode. It’s also easier to browse content with new tabs in your media apps, a “back to top” option and an A to Z button in the scroll bar. And, if it’s your first time using Android Auto, you can now get started faster in your car with a few simple taps.


We’ve also added new app experiences to help enhance your drive. EV charging, parking and navigation apps are now available to use in Android Auto. Plus, we’ve improved the messaging experience, so you can access your favorite messaging apps  from the launcher screen. You can easily read and send new messages directly from apps like WhatsApp or Messages — now available globally. 


These Android Auto features are available on phones running Android 6.0 or above, and when connected to your compatible car.

Build sophisticated search features with AppSearch

Posted by Dan Saadati, Software Engineer, and Hanaa ElAzizi, Technical Program Manager

Introducing AppSearch in Jetpack, now available in Alpha. AppSearch is an on-device search library which provides high performance and feature-rich full-text search functionality.

With AppSearch, your application can:

  • Offer offline search capabilities as AppSearch data lives completely on-device.
  • Have lower latency for indexing and querying over large data sets compared to SQLite, due to lower I/O use.
  • Provide relevant search results with built-in scoring strategies, such as BM25F.
  • Provide multi-language support for text search.
  • Issue a single query to retrieve data of multiple data types compared to issuing one query per data type in SQLite.

In AppSearch, you need to create a database to manage structured data, called “documents”. You then define what the structure looks like using “schema types”. For instance, you can model a message as a schema type with properties such as subject, body, and sender.

Documents that are added to your database can be queried over. Querying for “body:fruit” will retrieve all documents with the term “fruit” in the “body” of the Message.

Diagram illustrating the indexing of grocery list items in AppSearch, and searching for those items later

Diagram illustrating indexing and searching within AppSearch

To showcase how an application might integrate AppSearch, take this example of a grocery list application. Users can add grocery items to their list to refer to when they’re out shopping. Since AppSearch offers multi-language support by default, users can also include specialty ingredients for their global recipes. Users add an item by typing in the name and selecting the store and category it belongs to. The user can search by item name and select filters for store or category. AppSearch will return matching results for the application to display.

Ready to dive into using AppSearch to enrich your app’s search functionality? Check out the AppSearch guide and start using it in your app.

Help us make the library better: give us feedback on things you like, and issues or features you would like to see. If you find a bug or issue, feel free to file an issue.

Android 12 Beta 2 Update

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android 12 logo

Just a few weeks ago at Google I/O we unwrapped the first beta of Android 12, focusing on a new UI that adapts to you, improved performance, and privacy and security at the core. For developers, Android 12 gives you better tools to build delightful experiences for people on phones, laptops, tablets, wearables, TVs, and cars.

Today we’re releasing the second Beta of Android 12 for you to try. Beta 2 adds new privacy features like the Privacy Dashboard and continues our work of refining the release.

End-to-end there’s a lot for developers in Android 12 - from the redesigned UI and app widgets, to rich haptics, improved video and image quality, privacy features like approximate location, and much more. For a quick look at related Google I/O sessions, see Android 12 at Google I/O later in the post.

You can get Beta 2 today on your Pixel device by enrolling here for over-the-air updates, and if you previously enrolled for Beta 1, you’ll automatically get today’s update. Android 12 Beta is also available on select devices from several of our partners - learn more at android.com/beta.

Visit the Android 12 developer site for details on how to get started.

What’s new in Beta 2?

Beta 2 includes several of the new privacy features we talked about at Google I/O, as well as various feature updates to improve functionality, stability, and performance. Here are a few highlights.

Privacy Dashboard - We’ve added a Privacy Dashboard to give users better visibility over the data that apps are accessing. The dashboard offers a simple and clear timeline view of all recent app accesses to microphone, camera, and location. Users can also request details from an app on why it has accessed sensitive data, and developers can provide this information in an activity by handling a new system intent, ACTION_VIEW_PERMISSION_USAGE_FOR_PERIOD. We recommend that apps take advantage of this intent to proactively help users understand accesses in the given time period. To help you track these accesses in your code and any third-party libraries, we recommend using the Data Auditing APIs. More here.

Privacy Dashboard and location access gif

Privacy dashboard and location access timeline.

Mic and camera indicators - We’ve added indicators to the status bar to let users know when apps are using the device camera or microphone. Users can go to Quick Settings to see which apps are accessing their camera or microphone data and manage permissions if needed. For developers, we recommend reviewing your app’s uses of the microphone and camera and removing any that users would not expect. More here.

Microphone & camera toggles - We’ve added Quick Settings toggles on supported devices that make it easy for users to instantly disable app access to the microphone and camera. When the toggles are turned off, an app accessing these sensors will receive blank camera and audio feeds, and the system handles notifying the user to enable access to use the app’s features. Developers can use a new API, SensorPrivacyManager, to check whether toggles are supported on the device. The microphone and camera controls apply to all apps regardless of their platform targeting. More here.

Clipboard read notification - To give users more transparency on when apps are reading from the clipboard, Android 12 now displays a toast at the bottom of the screen each time an app calls getPrimaryClip(). Android won’t show the toast if the clipboard was copied from the same app. We recommend minimizing your app’s reads from the clipboard, and making sure that you only access the clipboard when it will be expected by users. More here.

More intuitive connectivity experience - To help users understand and manage their network connections better, we’re introducing a simpler and more intuitive connectivity experience across the Status Bar, Quick Settings, and Settings. The new Internet Panel helps users switch between their Internet providers and troubleshoot network connectivity issues more easily. Let us know what you think!

Quick Settings controls

New Internet controls through Quick Settings.

Visit the Android 12 developer site to learn more about all of the new features in Android 12.

Android 12 at Google I/O

At Google I/O we talked about everything that’s new in Android for developers - from Android 12 to Modern Android Development tools, new form factors like Wear and foldables, and Google Play. Here are the top 3 things to know about Android 12 at Google I/O.

#1 A new UI for Android - Android 12 brings the biggest design change in Android's history. We rethought the entire experience, from the colors to the shapes, light and motion, making Android 12 more expressive, dynamic, and personal, under a single design language called Material You.

#2 Performance - With Android 12, we made significant and deep investments in performance, from foundational system performance and battery life to foreground service changes, media quality and performance, and new tools to optimize apps.

#3 Privacy and security - In Android 12 we’re continuing to give users more transparency and control while keeping their devices and data secure.

For an overview of Android 12 for developers, watch this year’s What's new in Android talk, and check out Top 12 tips to get ready for Android 12 for an overview of where to test your app for compatibility. The full list of Android content at Google I/O is here.

App compatibility

With more early-adopter users and developers getting Android 12 beta on Pixel and other devices, now is the time to make sure your apps are ready!

To test your app for compatibility, install the published version from Google Play or other source onto a device or emulator running Android 12 Beta. Work through all of the app’s flows and watch for functional or UI issues. Review the behavior changes to focus your testing. There’s no need to change your app’s targetSdkVersion at this time, so when you’ve resolved any issues, publish an update as soon as possible for your Android 12 Beta users.

timeline for Android 12

With Beta 2, Android 12 is closing in on Platform Stability in August 2021. Starting then, app-facing system behaviors, SDK/NDK APIs, and non-SDK lists will be finalized. At that time, you should finish up your final compatibility testing and release a fully compatible version of your app, SDK, or library. More on the timeline for developers is here.

Get started with Android 12!

Today’s Beta release has everything you need to try the latest Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. Just enroll any supported Pixel device to get the update over-the-air. To get started developing, set up the Android 12 SDK.

You can also get Android 12 Beta 2 on devices from some of our top device-maker partners like Sharp. Visit android.com/beta to see the full list of partners participating in Android 12 Beta. For even broader testing, you can try Android 12 Beta on Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device you can test on the Android Emulator.

Beta 2 is also available for Android TV, so you can check out the latest TV features and test your apps on the all-new Google TV experience. Try it out with the ADT-3 developer kit. More here.

For complete details on Android 12 Beta, visit the Android 12 developer site.

Rust/C++ interop in the Android Platform

One of the main challenges of evaluating Rust for use within the Android platform was ensuring we could provide sufficient interoperability with our existing codebase. If Rust is to meet its goals of improving security, stability, and quality Android-wide, we need to be able to use Rust anywhere in the codebase that native code is required. To accomplish this, we need to provide the majority of functionality platform developers use. As we discussed previously, we have too much C++ to consider ignoring it, rewriting all of it is infeasible, and rewriting older code would likely be counterproductive as the bugs in that code have largely been fixed. This means interoperability is the most practical way forward.

Before introducing Rust into the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), we needed to demonstrate that Rust interoperability with C and C++ is sufficient for practical, convenient, and safe use within Android. Adding a new language has costs; we needed to demonstrate that Rust would be able to scale across the codebase and meet its potential in order to justify those costs. This post will cover the analysis we did more than a year ago while we evaluated Rust for use in Android. We also present a follow-up analysis with some insights into how the original analysis has held up as Android projects have adopted Rust.

Language interoperability in Android

Existing language interoperability in Android focuses on well defined foreign-function interface (FFI) boundaries, which is where code written in one programming language calls into code written in a different language. Rust support will likewise focus on the FFI boundary as this is consistent with how AOSP projects are developed, how code is shared, and how dependencies are managed. For Rust interoperability with C, the C application binary interface (ABI) is already sufficient.

Interoperability with C++ is more challenging and is the focus of this post. While both Rust and C++ support using the C ABI, it is not sufficient for idiomatic usage of either language. Simply enumerating the features of each language results in an unsurprising conclusion: many concepts are not easily translatable, nor do we necessarily want them to be. After all, we’re introducing Rust because many features and characteristics of C++ make it difficult to write safe and correct code. Therefore, our goal is not to consider all language features, but rather to analyze how Android uses C++ and ensure that interop is convenient for the vast majority of our use cases.

We analyzed code and interfaces in the Android platform specifically, not codebases in general. While this means our specific conclusions may not be accurate for other codebases, we hope the methodology can help others to make a more informed decision about introducing Rust into their large codebase. Our colleagues on the Chrome browser team have done a similar analysis, which you can find here.

This analysis was not originally intended to be published outside of Google: our goal was to make a data-driven decision on whether or not Rust was a good choice for systems development in Android. While the analysis is intended to be accurate and actionable, it was never intended to be comprehensive, and we’ve pointed out a couple of areas where it could be more complete. However, we also note that initial investigations into these areas showed that they would not significantly impact the results, which is why we decided to not invest the additional effort.

Methodology

Exported functions from Rust and C++ libraries are where we consider interop to be essential. Our goals are simple:

  • Rust must be able to call functions from C++ libraries and vice versa.
  • FFI should require a minimum of boilerplate.
  • FFI should not require deep expertise.

While making Rust functions callable from C++ is a goal, this analysis focuses on making C++ functions available to Rust so that new Rust code can be added while taking advantage of existing implementations in C++. To that end, we look at exported C++ functions and consider existing and planned compatibility with Rust via the C ABI and compatibility libraries. Types are extracted by running objdump on shared libraries to find external C++ functions they use1 and running c++filt to parse the C++ types. This gives functions and their arguments. It does not consider return values, but a preliminary analysis2 of those revealed that they would not significantly affect the results.

We then classify each of these types into one of the following buckets:

Supported by bindgen

These are generally simple types involving primitives (including pointers and references to them). For these types, Rust’s existing FFI will handle them correctly, and Android’s build system will auto-generate the bindings.

Supported by cxx compat crate

These are handled by the cxx crate. This currently includes std::string, std::vector, and C++ methods (including pointers/references to these types). Users simply have to define the types and functions they want to share across languages and cxx will generate the code to do that safely.

Native support

These types are not directly supported, but the interfaces that use them have been manually reworked to add Rust support. Specifically, this includes types used by AIDL and protobufs.

We have also implemented a native interface for StatsD as the existing C++ interface relies on method overloading, which is not well supported by bindgen and cxx3. Usage of this system does not show up in the analysis because the C++ API does not use any unique types.

Potential addition to cxx

This is currently common data structures such as std::optional and std::chrono::duration and custom string and vector implementations.

These can either be supported natively by a future contribution to cxx, or by using its ExternType facilities. We have only included types in this category that we believe are relatively straightforward to implement and have a reasonable chance of being accepted into the cxx project.

We don't need/intend to support

Some types are exposed in today’s C++ APIs that are either an implicit part of the API, not an API we expect to want to use from Rust, or are language specific. Examples of types we do not intend to support include:

  • Mutexes - we expect that locking will take place in one language or the other, rather than needing to pass mutexes between languages, as per our coarse-grained philosophy.
  • native_handle - this is a JNI interface type, so it is inappropriate for use in Rust/C++ communication.
  • std::locale& - Android uses a separate locale system from C++ locales. This type primarily appears in output due to e.g., cout usage, which would be inappropriate to use in Rust.

Overall, this category represents types that we do not believe a Rust developer should be using.

HIDL

Android is in the process of deprecating HIDL and migrating to AIDL for HALs for new services.We’re also migrating some existing implementations to stable AIDL. Our current plan is to not support HIDL, preferring to migrate to stable AIDL instead. These types thus currently fall into the “We don't need/intend to support'' bucket above, but we break them out to be more specific. If there is sufficient demand for HIDL support, we may revisit this decision later.

Other

This contains all types that do not fit into any of the above buckets. It is currently mostly std::string being passed by value, which is not supported by cxx.

Top C++ libraries

One of the primary reasons for supporting interop is to allow reuse of existing code. With this in mind, we determined the most commonly used C++ libraries in Android: liblog, libbase, libutils, libcutils, libhidlbase, libbinder, libhardware, libz, libcrypto, and libui. We then analyzed all of the external C++ functions used by these libraries and their arguments to determine how well they would interoperate with Rust.

Overall, 81% of types are in the first three categories (which we currently fully support) and 87% are in the first four categories (which includes those we believe we can easily support). Almost all of the remaining types are those we believe we do not need to support.

Mainline modules

In addition to analyzing popular C++ libraries, we also examined Mainline modules. Supporting this context is critical as Android is migrating some of its core functionality to Mainline, including much of the native code we hope to augment with Rust. Additionally, their modularity presents an opportunity for interop support.

We analyzed 64 binaries and libraries in 21 modules. For each analyzed library we examined their used C++ functions and analyzed the types of their arguments to determine how well they would interoperate with Rust in the same way we did above for the top 10 libraries.

Here 88% of types are in the first three categories and 90% in the first four, with almost all of the remaining being types we do not need to handle.

Analysis of Rust/C++ Interop in AOSP

With almost a year of Rust development in AOSP behind us, and more than a hundred thousand lines of code written in Rust, we can now examine how our original analysis has held up based on how C/C++ code is currently called from Rust in AOSP.4

The results largely match what we expected from our analysis with bindgen handling the majority of interop needs. Extensive use of AIDL by the new Keystore2 service results in the primary difference between our original analysis and actual Rust usage in the “Native Support” category.

A few current examples of interop are:

  • Cxx in Bluetooth - While Rust is intended to be the primary language for Bluetooth, migrating from the existing C/C++ implementation will happen in stages. Using cxx allows the Bluetooth team to more easily serve legacy protocols like HIDL until they are phased out by using the existing C++ support to incrementally migrate their service.
  • AIDL in keystore - Keystore implements AIDL services and interacts with apps and other services over AIDL. Providing this functionality would be difficult to support with tools like cxx or bindgen, but the native AIDL support is simple and ergonomic to use.
  • Manually-written wrappers in profcollectd - While our goal is to provide seamless interop for most use cases, we also want to demonstrate that, even when auto-generated interop solutions are not an option, manually creating them can be simple and straightforward. Profcollectd is a small daemon that only exists on non-production engineering builds. Instead of using cxx it uses some small manually-written C wrappers around C++ libraries that it then passes to bindgen.

Conclusion

Bindgen and cxx provide the vast majority of Rust/C++ interoperability needed by Android. For some of the exceptions, such as AIDL, the native version provides convenient interop between Rust and other languages. Manually written wrappers can be used to handle the few remaining types and functions not supported by other options as well as to create ergonomic Rust APIs. Overall, we believe interoperability between Rust and C++ is already largely sufficient for convenient use of Rust within Android.

If you are considering how Rust could integrate into your C++ project, we recommend doing a similar analysis of your codebase. When addressing interop gaps, we recommend that you consider upstreaming support to existing compat libraries like cxx.

Acknowledgements

Our first attempt at quantifying Rust/C++ interop involved analyzing the potential mismatches between the languages. This led to a lot of interesting information, but was difficult to draw actionable conclusions from. Rather than enumerating all the potential places where interop could occur, Stephen Hines suggested that we instead consider how code is currently shared between C/C++ projects as a reasonable proxy for where we’ll also likely want interop for Rust. This provided us with actionable information that was straightforward to prioritize and implement. Looking back, the data from our real-world Rust usage has reinforced that the initial methodology was sound. Thanks Stephen!

Also, thanks to:

  • Andrei Homescu and Stephen Crane for contributing AIDL support to AOSP.
  • Ivan Lozano for contributing protobuf support to AOSP.
  • David Tolnay for publishing cxx and accepting our contributions.
  • The many authors and contributors to bindgen.
  • Jeff Vander Stoep and Adrian Taylor for contributions to this post.


  1. We used undefined symbols of function type as reported by objdump to perform this analysis. This means that any header-only functions will be absent from our analysis, and internal (non-API) functions which are called by header-only functions may appear in it. 

  2. We extracted return values by parsing DWARF symbols, which give the return types of functions. 

  3. Even without automated binding generation, manually implementing the bindings is straightforward. 

  4. In the case of handwritten C/C++ wrappers, we analyzed the functions they call, not the wrappers themselves. For all uses of our native AIDL library, we analyzed the types used in the C++ version of the library. 

Android @ Google I/O: Recapping building across devices

Posted by The Android Team

At Google I/O this year, we talked about how your app can take advantage of Android's different screens, both large and small. But if you missed the show, here are the top things you should know:

Tablets, Foldables, and Large Screens

It's more important than ever to design your app to work well on large screens — including tablets, foldables, and Chrome OS laptops. There are already over 250 million large screen Android devices in use today. Meanwhile, new foldable devices are making it easier for users to multitask, and opening up new experiences like tabletop mode for hands-free activities. See this example of Disney+ using tabletop mode on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2.

foldables image

Fortunately, it's also easier than ever to design apps which seamlessly scale to adapt to any device size — including dynamically resizing on Chrome OS and foldable devices, taking advantage of Jetpack Compose or ConstraintLayout to build responsive layouts. We also studied how people interact with large screens, like where their fingers are placed, and we’re giving you APIs and Tools to make that experience easier:

We’ve also made updates to the Android platform, Chrome OS, and Jetpack WindowManager, so apps just work better by default. For example, many UI elements now have default Max Width values to make sure they look better on large screens, while changes to the Display API ensure that existing apps continue to render correctly on foldables even if they aren't using WindowManager to query window metrics.

Learn more about how we are helping you build for large screens with these I/O sessions:

For even more details, check out the what's new in foldables, tablets, and large screens article, or read the case study on how Google Duo sees increased engagement and improved ratings.

Wear OS

We announced our biggest update yet to the Wear platform, with new features, APIs and tools to help developers create beautiful, high quality wearable experiences.

There are new Jetpack APIs to help you streamline your development. The Tiles library gives users fast, predictable access to the information and actions they rely on most. Another notable addition is the Ongoing Activities API, which enables you to let your users return to your app after they’ve navigated away (to start some other task such as music playback). Both of these libraries are currently in alpha.

We also released a new set of APIs for health and fitness that act as an intermediary to the sensors and related algorithms on the device to provide apps with high-quality data related to activity, exercise, and health. The alpha of the Health Services platform is available to use today.

Download Android Studio Arctic Fox Beta to try out a developer preview of the new Wear system image and start preparing your apps for the new platform. Check out the I/O sessions below to learn more about these announcements:

You can also read more details on the latest changes to Wear, as well as learn about how Spotify is building on Wear.

Android TV

Android TV OS now has over 80 million monthly active devices, with 80% growth in the US and is at the heart of the Google TV experience launched last fall. Meanwhile, Google TV itself can be found on streaming devices like the Chromecast with Google TV, smart TVs from Sony, and as an app on Android devices — including tablets.

This year at I/O, we announced several new tools and features to make developing for Android TV OS easier:

  • Cast Connect with Stream Transfer allows moving existing audio and video streams between cast devices, while Stream Expansion allows playing audio on multiple devices simultaneously.
  • We are now making our first Google TV Emulator available alongside the Android TV emulator, both running on Android 11.
  • Firebase Test Lab is adding Android TV support, letting you test your app in the cloud across hundreds or thousands of virtual devices. Physical Devices will be coming soon.
  • We are making the Android 12 Beta 1 available for TV on ADT-3 today.

These releases make it easier to build and test applications across a range of device configurations, while bringing the latest Android 12, Googler Assistant, and Cast features to the TV. To learn more, watch the What's new in Android TV and Google TV session from I/O.

Android for Cars

Android Auto allows applications to connect with the infotainment displays built into many modern vehicles. To make this even easier we recently made the Android for Cars App Library available as part of Jetpack. This library allows navigation, EV charging, and parking apps to integrate directly with compatible cars.

We plan to expand to more app categories in the future, so if you’re expressing interest in bringing your app to Android Auto please fill out this interest form. You can also get started with the Android for Cars App Library today, by visiting g.co/androidforcars. Watch the What’s new with Android for Cars session from I/O for even more detail, or the accompanying What's new with Android for Cars blog post.

Grow your indie game with help from Google Play

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Global Developer Marketing

Indie game image

At Google Play we’re committed to helping all developers thrive, whether these are large multinational companies or small startups and indie game studios. They are all critical to providing the services and experiences that people around the world look for on their Android devices. The indie game developer community, in particular, constantly pushes the boundaries with their creativity and passion, and bring unique and diverse content to players everywhere.

To continue supporting indies, today we’re opening submissions for two of our annual developer programs - the Indie Games Accelerator and the Indie Games Festival. These programs are designed to help small games studios grow on Google Play, no matter what stage they are in:

  • If you are a small games studio looking for help to launch a new title, apply for the Accelerator to get mentorship and education;
  • Or, if you have already created and launched a high quality game that is ready for the spotlight, enter the Festival for a chance to win promotions.

This year the programs come with some changes, including more eligible markets and fully digital event experiences. Learn more below and apply by July 1st.

Accelerator: Get education and mentorship to supercharge your growth

If you’re an indie developer, early in your journey - either close to launching a new game or recently launched a title, this is the program for you. We’ll provide education and mentorship that will help you build, launch and grow successfully.

This year we have nearly doubled the eligible markets, with developers from over 70 countries being eligible to apply for the 2021 program.

Selected participants will be invited to take part in a 12-week online acceleration program. During this time you’ll get exclusive access to a community of Google and industry experts, as well as a network of other passionate developers from around the world looking to supercharge their growth.

Festival: win promotions that put your game in the spotlight

If you're an indie game developer who has recently launched a high quality game, this is your chance to have your game discovered by industry experts and players worldwide.

This year we will, again, host three competitions for developers from Japan, South Korea, and selected European countries.

Prizes include features on Google Play store, promotional campaigns worth 100,000 EUR, and more.

#AndroidDevJourney spotlight – May edition

Posted by Luli Perkins, Developer Relations Program Manager

Android Dev Journey, 5 Developers featured in May

The May edition of #AndroidDevJourney spotlights five Android developers from around the world and each of their own unique experiences. In January we started the #AndroidDevJourney series to highlight members of the Android developer community on our Twitter account. As we reach the end of our six month journey, be sure to check out all the great developers we’ve featured on Twitter. 


Mada Aflak profile feature photo

Mada Aflak

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My journey in becoming an Android Developer started in 2015, during my final year of engineering school in Paris. My friends and I created a startup that allows you to easily create social events. As an Android user, my mission was to create an Android app. The experience made me excited to build apps, brainstorm products, engage with users; understand metrics and the process of innovation.

Initially, learning to code in Android was a tool to help reach my goal: to create a product that would be used by the largest audience possible. My passion to develop on Android, however, gave me the patience and perseverance needed to self-improve and become an expert. I realized the key to success is consistency: that step-by-step progress allows big achievements.

Although I entered the Android field by chance, I feel very grateful to have specialized in a technology which allows me to reach the huge Android marketplace, with an incredibly diverse user base. I believe when you love working on products, specifically in B2C business, being a client software engineer is very appealing. You’re in a unique position where you can interact with customers, as well as product, design, backend, and data scientists.

After receiving my Master's, I took intensive Java training and worked at a chic software consultant engineering company, in the famous avenue Les Champs & Elysee. Whilst I learned a lot from this experience, I wanted to give entrepreneurship another shot so I left Paris for San Francisco and opened a startup called Tribe, with friends. Tribe consisted of 10 talented French entrepreneurs aiming to re-invent the video chat messaging app. This is where I started to specialize in live video streaming technology and - more precisely - WebRTC.

Tribe gathered thousands of upvotes on Product Hunt and was awarded several times by worldwide institutions including Google and Time, and also featured in various international publications such as TechCrunch, Business Insider, and more! Our hard work and determination led us to be backed by Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins Capital. This experience was utterly unique: we all were working and living in the same house with a common goal to create an everlasting impact! With this experience, I learned the power of collective intelligence; that people will go far in learning how to work with each other.

After three years of entrepreneurship, we made the hard decision to discontinue Tribe and I decided to return to Europe. During this time, Twitter contacted me for my skills in live video streaming technology. As my passion for social science, politics and economy was growing, Twitter interested me greatly as it’s the only social media platform that enables public conversation; its main focus is to highlight and discuss what’s happening in the world. Considering myself a “citizen of the word”, I found that its purpose resonated strongly with me: a global inclusive platform, where everyone has a voice. What I love the most about working at Twitter is that Twitter has a unique position by being relatively small as a company, but has a huge impact on society.

My Twitter journey began working on a live video streaming product on Periscope, called Hydra. After sunsetting Periscope, my team began to wonder what to do with the live streaming publishing pipeline technology that we built. We then partook in a brainstorm session, concluding that audio was an under-used and under-valued media that could enhance and drive Twitter’s public conversation.

We started small with one developer on each platform, reaping the benefits of being a small team that could iterate and move fast. Today, the team has vastly expanded and I am proudly operating as the Android Space Tech Lead. Twitter Space has now become one of the company's top priorities: we have only just started to witness the powerful impact of live audio, with a social media network set to drastically change social behavior.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

Learning how to use Android Studio property is a must! There are many hidden tools in Android Studio that can help developer velocity.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

1- Learn English fluently

2- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

3- Work on something you love!

Lin Guo developer profile feature photo

Lin Guo

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

That was a story from a long time ago. I was learning Java when I got into college in 2008. One day in 2010, I was just browsing the Internet as usual, and found a course talking about how to learn Android development. That was the first time I heard about Android. It was a brand-new mobile system for me, besides, Java just happened to be the designated programming language for it. I was very interested at that time, and made a decision to get onboard.

Now I am an Android GDE and work for Microsoft where I continue my Android development journey. I also published a book in 2014 which is the best-selling Android programming book in China. I feel so fortunate to have made that decision in 2010.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

I really do have one. Use Ctrl+W to expand selection in Android Studio.

gif of Ctrl+W in use

This is absolutely my favorite one. I often have some conditions where I need to copy some part of code to somewhere else. Dragging to select is the last thing I want to do. With Ctrl+W, I can always select the part of the code just as I wanted quickly and conveniently. Thanks to Google and JetBrains.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

I joined the Microsoft Edge mobile team recently. It is an Android project, but most of the code was written in C++. I was struggling with it at first, because I had never written C++ code before.

Now, I have started learning C++ programming from scratch. It is still a happy journey to learn something new. But I wish someone would have given me this advice when I started with Android: C++ is also an important part of Android development.

Anita Singh developer profile feature photo

Anita Singh

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

I started my career after university in Silicon Valley as a Java backend engineer and was curious about mobile, and wanted to give it a try. At my first job, I was working at Intuit on Mint and asked the mobile PM if I could help out with either the iOS or Android app.

At the time I was an iOS user so I was leaning towards iOS, but upon research I saw that Android was dominating in the global market. Since I already knew Java, the barrier of entry was lower.

I then joined the Mint mobile team and learned Android development on the job, converted to being an Android user and never looked back :-). Since then I’ve led both Android and cross-functional teams, and enjoy collaborating across functions to deliver great mobile experiences to users.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

The “Design View” in Android Studio where I can quickly see what screens look like in night mode, landscape, and small devices while developing screens, helps save time.

In the Compose world, Interactive Mode and Deploy Preview are quite handy in quickly iterating over them as well. I am looking forward to performance improvements here.

A second tip would be to use the Accessibility Scanner to help identify accessibility improvements. This is another great tool that can give you quick wins!

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

To lean into the Android community. I relied solely on Android documentation to learn when I started, and didn’t know about the supportive community and content that surrounds it until later!

Reading blog posts, watching/giving talks, and connecting with other developers accelerated my learning, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Marion Hayoun developer profile feature photo

Marion Hayoun

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My Android journey began with a G1, the very first commercialized Android smartphone. It had a built-in keyboard, a joystick and hard buttons, to me it was amazing. At the time I was still in engineering school and hadn't even developed in Java yet but I had the opportunity to help organize meetups with the Paris Android User Group.

That’s how I started to meet people and saw what they were trying to build. Everyone I met at the time was really open minded and I wanted to be a part of this community and contribute to this platform by building beautiful apps too.

I started my professional journey back in 2012 and had the opportunity to work for editors and in agencies too. Today I’m working at Dashlane and I’m still organizing events with the Paris Android User Group :)

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

I used to mostly rely on Find Usage ⌥F7 to navigate code base, but then I started using Go to Implementation ⌥⌘B. It is really *really* helpful to jump to any interface's implementation right away. It is a "more advanced" shortcut, but it is one that will make navigating a codebase with composition, contract, multi-modules, etc. really smooth. Especially when an interface and implementation can be far apart in the file hierarchies.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

Find what works for you to keep learning. Huyen Tue Dao gave an amazing talk with a lot of advice on this, check it out here. She covered talks, to podcasts, articles, newsletters, Twitter, community, sketchnotes, and more. She shared a lot of ways to stay up to date and gave us the honest truth: you just can't keep up with everything ^^ So find what best fits you and your lifestyle to keep improving and learning.

There will always be highs and lows in your career; knowing people who will support you is why you may be able to overcome challenges in the long run. And that is why, I would recommend you to take a look at your local developer community. Those are perfect spots to learn, share what you learn, and meet people who understand what you're doing. It’s perfect to gain knowledge, take a step back, share advice and experiences, and support each other. We're human first and foremost, and most solutions are human too.

Gonzalo Serrano developer profile feature photo

Gonzalo Serrano

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My path to becoming an Android developer started my senior year of high school when I Googled “What do you need to do to be a computer programmer?” We had a class assignment about researching a career. I had always been interested in coding. As a kid, I played way too many video games and wanted to learn how they worked. Then, when I got into high school, I started teaching myself to code from reading blogs.

I grew up poor in East Los Angeles and went to a school that had little money with very little access to quality technology. I didn’t know anyone else who was coding, but the Internet said to be a developer, you needed to go to college and get a bachelor’s degree. So I went and studied computer science, learning C++, JavaScript, Java, and other languages.

In 2014, I went to a panel at my community college and met AnnMaria, a co-founder of 7 Generation Games, where we develop educational games aimed at closing the math gap, especially within Latino and Indigenous communities. I applied for an internship, because I wanted to be part of making software for good. Initially, we were just making games for computers or to run on the web. But as technology evolved and we expanded to mobile, it was really important that we were developing for Android because those are the primary devices people are using in many of the communities we’re in. Because of my background, developing for Android was especially important to me because I know how valuable quality and accessible technology is for students. In 2016, I offered to take the lead on our first Android project, a game - now a series - called Making Camp. I downloaded Android Studio, cracked open the documentation and got to work.

When I graduated with my bachelor’s in 2018, I joined 7 Generation Games full-time. I am now our lead Android developer and just put our 10th app into Google Play.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

On Android, I primarily work in WebView. When trying to execute JavaScript code on the WebView from outside the page, it is easily facilitated by passing a string in Java with the code you want to execute. But the reverse is less common. My hack for this is if you want the app to react to JavaScript code, you have to create an event to catch the error returned from the page, then parse the string for what you wanted to do and react outside the WebView with that information.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't think everyone knows more than you because they don't. That said, the most useful piece of advice I was given was to read documentation. It might seem simple, but I’ve been surprised by how often people don’t. That’s advice I would give to anyone starting out.



The Android Developer community prides itself in its inclusivity and welcomes developers from all backgrounds and stages of life. If you’re feeling inspired and want to learn more about how to become a part of our community, here are a few resources to help get you started.

Dive into developer.android.com

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Join a chapter near you here.

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Founded in 2014, Google’s Women Techmakers is dedicated to helping all women thrive in tech through community, visibility and resources. With a member base of over 100,000 women developers, we’re working with communities across the globe to build a world where all women can thrive in tech.

Become a member here.

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Learn more about the program here.


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Introducing Security By Design

Posted by Jon Markoff, Staff Developer Advocate & Sean Smith, Technical Program Manager

Android header graphic

As a developer, are you struggling to figure out when to build security threat protection into your roadmap? Integrating security into your app development lifecycle can save a lot of time, money, and risk. That’s why we’ve launched Security by Design on Google Play Academy to help developers identify, mitigate, and proactively protect against security threats.

The Android ecosystem, including Google Play, has many built-in security features that help protect developers and users. The course Introduction to app security best practices takes these protections one step further by helping you take advantage of additional security features to build into your app. For example, Jetpack Security helps developers properly encrypt their data at rest and provides only safe and well known algorithms for encrypting Files and SharedPreferences. Are you concerned about using Rooted or compromised devices that may allow a bad actor to use your app in a non-sanctioned way? The SafetyNet Attestation API is a solution to help identify potentially dangerous patterns in usage. There are several common design vulnerabilities that are important to look out for, including using shared or improper file storage, using insecure protocols, unprotected components such as Activities, and more. The course also provides methods to test your application, to keep apps safe in the wild after launch. Finally, you can set up a Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP) to engage security researchers to help.

In the next course, you can learn how to integrate security at every stage of the development process by adopting the Security Development Lifecycle. The SDL is an industry standard process and in this course you’ll learn the fundamentals of setting up a program, getting executive sponsorship and integration into your development lifecycle.

secruity development lifecycle graphic

Threat modeling is part of the Security Development Lifecycle, in this course you will learn to think like an attacker to identify, categorize, and address threats. By doing so early in the design phase of development, you can identify potential threats and start planning for how to mitigate them at much lower cost and create a more secure product for your users.

Secruity design graphic

Improving your app’s security is a never ending process. Sign up for the Security by Design module where in a few short courses, you will learn how to integrate security into your app development lifecycle, model potential threats, and app security best practices into your app, as well as avoid potential design pitfalls.

Introducing Security By Design

Integrating security into your app development lifecycle can save a lot of time, money, and risk. That’s why we’ve launched Security by Design on Google Play Academy to help developers identify, mitigate, and proactively protect against security threats.

The Android ecosystem, including Google Play, has many built-in security features that help protect developers and users. The course Introduction to app security best practices takes these protections one step further by helping you take advantage of additional security features to build into your app. For example, Jetpack Security helps developers properly encrypt their data at rest and provides only safe and well known algorithms for encrypting Files and SharedPreferences. The SafetyNet Attestation API is a solution to help identify potentially dangerous patterns in usage. There are several common design vulnerabilities that are important to look out for, including using shared or improper file storage, using insecure protocols, unprotected components such as Activities, and more. The course also provides methods to test your app in order to help you keep it safe after launch. Finally, you can set up a Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP) to engage security researchers to help.

In the next course, you can learn how to integrate security at every stage of the development process by adopting the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL). The SDL is an industry standard process and in this course you’ll learn the fundamentals of setting up a program, getting executive sponsorship and integration into your development lifecycle.

Threat modeling is part of the Security Development Lifecycle, and in this course you will learn to think like an attacker to identify, categorize, and address threats. By doing so early in the design phase of development, you can identify potential threats and start planning for how to mitigate them at a much lower cost and create a more secure product for your users.

Improving your app’s security is a never ending process. Sign up for the Security by Design module where in a few short courses, you will learn how to integrate security into your app development lifecycle, model potential threats, and app security best practices into your app, as well as avoid potential design pitfalls.