Tag Archives: GooglePlay

Introducing the Fused Orientation Provider API: Consistent device orientation for all

Posted by Geoffrey Boullanger – Senior Software Engineer, Shandor Dektor – Sensors Algorithms Engineer, Martin Frassl and Benjamin Joseph – Technical Leads and Managers

Device orientation, or attitude, is used as an input signal for many use cases: virtual or augmented reality, gesture detection, or compass and navigation – any time the app needs the orientation of a device in relation to its surroundings. We’ve heard from developers that orientation is challenging to get right, with frequent user complaints when orientation is incorrect. A maps app should show the correct direction to walk towards when a user is navigating to an exciting restaurant in a foreign city!

The Fused Orientation Provider (FOP) is a new API in Google Play services that provides quality and consistent device orientation by fusing signals from accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer.

Although currently the Android Rotation Vector already provides device orientation (and will continue to do so), the new FOP provides more consistent behavior and high performance across devices. We designed the FOP API to be similar to the Rotation Vector to make the transition as easy as possible for developers.

In particular, the Fused Orientation Provider

    • Provides a unified implementation across devices: an API in Google Play services means that there is no implementation variance across different manufacturers. Algorithm updates can be rolled out quickly and independent of Android platform updates;
    • Directly incorporates local magnetic declination, if available;
    • Compensates for lower quality sensors and OEM implementations (e.g., gyro bias, sensor timing).

In certain cases, the FOP returns values piped through from the AOSP Rotation Vector, adapted to incorporate magnetic declination.

How to use the FOP API

Device orientation updates can be requested by creating and sending a DeviceOrientationRequest object, which defines some specifics of the request like the update period.

The FOP then outputs a stream of the device’s orientation estimates as quaternions. The orientation is referenced to geographic north. In cases where the local magnetic declination is not known (e.g., location is not available), the orientation will be relative to magnetic north.

In addition, the FOP provides the device’s heading and accuracy, which are derived from the orientation estimate. This is the same heading that is shown in Google Maps, which uses the FOP as well. We recently added changes to better cope with magnetic disturbances, to improve the reliability of the cone for Google Maps and FOP clients.

The update rate can be set by requesting a specific update period. The FOP does not guarantee a minimum or maximum update rate. For example, the update rate can be faster than requested if another app has a faster parallel request, or it can be slower as requested if the device doesn’t support the high rate.

For full specification of the API, please consult the API documentation:

Example usage (Kotlin)

package ...

import android.content.Context
import com.google.android.gms.location.DeviceOrientation
import com.google.android.gms.location.DeviceOrientationListener
import com.google.android.gms.location.DeviceOrientationRequest
import com.google.android.gms.location.FusedOrientationProviderClient
import com.google.android.gms.location.LocationServices
import com.google.common.flogger.FluentLogger
import java.util.concurrent.Executors

class Example(context: Context) {
  private val logger: FluentLogger = FluentLogger.forEnclosingClass()

  // Get the FOP API client
  private val fusedOrientationProviderClient: FusedOrientationProviderClient =

  // Create an FOP listener
  private val listener: DeviceOrientationListener =
    DeviceOrientationListener { orientation: DeviceOrientation ->
      // Use the orientation object returned by the FOP, e.g.
      logger.atFinest().log("Device Orientation: %s deg", orientation.headingDegrees)

  fun start() {
    // Create an FOP request
    val request =

    // Create (or re-use) an Executor or Looper, e.g.
    val executor = Executors.newSingleThreadExecutor()

    // Register the request and listener
      .requestOrientationUpdates(request, executor, listener)
      .addOnSuccessListener { logger.atInfo().log("FOP: Registration Success") }
      .addOnFailureListener { e: Exception? ->
        logger.atSevere().withCause(e).log("FOP: Registration Failure")

  fun stop() {
    // Unregister the listener

Technical background

The Android ecosystem has a wide variety of system implementations for sensors. Devices should meet the criteria in the Android compatibility definition document (CDD) and must have an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer available to use the fused orientation provider. It is preferable that the device vendor implements the high fidelity sensor portion of the CDD.

Even though Android devices adhere to the Android CDD, recommended sensor specifications are not tight enough to fully prevent orientation inaccuracies. Examples of this include magnetometer interference from internal sources, and delayed, inaccurate or nonuniform sensor sampling. Furthermore, the environment around the device usually includes materials that distort the geomagnetic field, and user behavior can vary widely. To deal with this, the FOP performs a number of tasks in order to provide a robust and accurate orientation:

    • Synchronize sensors running on different clocks and delays;
    • Compensate for the hard iron offset (magnetometer bias);
    • Fuse accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer measurements to determine the orientation of the device in the world;
    • Compensate for gyro drift (gyro bias) while moving;
    • Produce a realistic estimate of the compass heading accuracy.

We have validated our algorithms on comprehensive test data to provide a high quality result on a wide variety of devices.

Availability and limitations

The Fused Orientation Provider is available on all devices running Google Play services on Android 5 (Lollipop) and above. Developers need to add the dependency play-services-location:21.2.0 (or above) to access the new API.


No permissions are required to use the FOP API. The output rate is limited to 200Hz on devices running API level 31 (Android S) or higher, unless the android.permissions.HIGH_SAMPLING_RATE_SENSORS permission was added to your Manifest.xml.

Power consideration

Always request the longest update period (lowest frequency) that is sufficient for your use case. While more frequent FOP updates can be required for high precision tasks (for example Augmented Reality), it comes with a power cost. If you do not know which update period to use, we recommend starting with DeviceOrientationRequest::OUTPUT_PERIOD_DEFAULT as it fits most client needs.

Foreground behavior

FOP updates are only available to apps running in the foreground.

Copyright 2023 Google LLC.
SPDX-License-Identifier: Apache-2.0

Enabling New Blockchain-Based Experiences on Google Play

Posted by Joseph Mills, Group Product Manager, Google Play

As a platform, we always want to help developers bring innovative ideas to life. Google Play hosts a variety of blockchain related apps, and we know that our partners are excited to expand on these offerings to create more engaging and immersive digital experiences with tokenized digital assets such as NFTs. Like with any emerging technology, we must balance innovation with our responsibility to protect users. So, we’ve spoken with developers about responsibly supporting those opportunities while continuing to provide a safe, transparent, and trusted experience for everyone.

Today, we’re pleased to share that we’re updating our policy to open new ways to transact blockchain-based digital content within apps and games on Google Play. From reimagining traditional games with user-owned content to boosting user loyalty through unique NFT rewards, we’re excited to see creative in-app experiences flourish and help developers expand their businesses.

Keeping Users Protected While Fostering Innovation

As blockchain technology continues to evolve, maintaining user trust is paramount. As part of the policy update, we’re requiring that apps be transparent with users about tokenized digital assets. For example, if an app or game sells or enables users to earn tokenized digital assets, developers must declare this clearly. And while tokenized assets are meant to build more enriched, immersive experiences, as an added user protection, developers may not promote or glamorize any potential earning from playing or trading activities.

In line with Google Play’s Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy, apps that have not met gambling eligibility requirements cannot accept money for a chance to win assets of unknown real-world monetary value, including NFTs. For example, developers should not offer purchases where the value of the NFT users receive is not clear at the time of purchase. This includes, but is not limited to, offering mechanisms to receive randomized blockchain-based items from a purchase such as “loot boxes”.

Unlocking Innovation Across the Industry

Google Play succeeds when our partners succeed. These new guidelines were developed in close consultation with app and game developers and incorporates their feedback on how we can continue to support their businesses.

"We really appreciate Google's partnership in this collaborative effort to bring about innovation in this space and move these new economies forward. We think these new policies are steps forward for both players and developers alike and will positively impact the adoption of new technology while also protecting consumers."

– John Linden, CEO, Mythical Games

"At Reddit we believe in empowering our users by providing transparency and a responsible approach to blockchain-based digital content – like our Collectible Avatars. We partnered with Google to help update their policy, aimed at creating a level playing field that promotes user trust, and responsible usage of blockchain technology. By setting clear guidelines, we can ensure that our users make informed decisions while enjoying immersive experiences."

– Matt Williamson, Senior Engineering Manager, Reddit

Looking Ahead to Future Opportunities

We will continue to engage with developers to understand their challenges and opportunities — and how we can best support them in building sustainable businesses using blockchain technology. As a next step, we’re talking to industry partners about further improving our support of blockchain-based app experiences, including in areas such as secondary markets.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime, we’re excited to see how today’s blockchain policy announcement brings more fun and delight to apps and games across Google Play.

For more on the blockchain policy and other changes announced today:

Improve Your Game with Texture Compression Format Targeting

Posted by Yafit Becher, Product Manager & Dan Galpin, Developer Advocate

Play Asset Delivery downloads the best supported texture for the device

Google Play Asset Delivery allows you to publish an Android App Bundle to Google Play containing all the resources your game needs. It offers multiple delivery modes, auto-updates, compression, and delta patching, all hosted at no cost to you.

As of today, you can use Google Play Asset Delivery to include textures in multiple texture compression formats in your Android App Bundle and Google Play will automatically deliver the assets with the best supported texture compression format for each device. With Texture Compression Format Targeting, you can start using ASTC for devices that support it while falling back to ETC2/ETC1 to devices that don’t. The Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) format offers advantages, such as improved rendering performance, faster load times, a smaller in-memory footprint, better battery life, and improved visual quality. You can even dramatically reduce your download size and on-device footprint by optimizing the tradeoff between size and quality.

Higher bandwidth version of much of this information

Android App Bundle will be the required publishing format for all new games and apps as of August 2021, which means that Google Play Asset Delivery will be required for new games that want Google Play to host more than 150MB of assets. Texture format targeting provides value even for smaller games due to the advantages of newer texture compression formats.

Texture compression

Texture compression is a form of lossy image compression that allows the GPU to render directly from the compressed texture using specialized silicon blocks, reducing the texture memory and memory bandwidth required to render the texture. As GPUs have gotten more advanced, more sophisticated texture compression formats have been developed, but not all GPUs can take advantage of them.

ASTC was released in 2012 to give developers more flexibility in trading compression size vs image quality. It compresses using fixed 128-bit block sizes, but allows for variable block footprints from 4x4 (8 bits per texel) to 12x12 (.89 bits per texel).

Texture compression format image  Texture compression format image Texture compression format image

Googleplex from Google Earth at 12x12 (.89 BPT), 6x5 (4.27 BPT), 4x4 (8 BPT)

This allows almost any type of texture to be used in compressed form, and allows for textures to occupy much less space in RAM — up to 36x less space compared to uncompressed 2D textures depending on quality. Smaller textures also take less time to load, making games start faster.

Memory bandwidth

Since the GPU needs to do fewer reads from texture memory in order to render the texture, the memory bandwidth required to render the scene is reduced, often substantially when texture caches are taken into account.

Texture compression formats in Android

The top compression formats in Android are ETC1, ETC2, and ASTC.

texture compression image

Top texture compression formats with device penetration as of September 2020

ETC1 is supported on practically all devices. It has no transparency support; games can use a second texture for the alpha component. It has quality issues with sharp transitions such as edges and text.

ETC2 is supported by all devices that support GLES3. It supports multiple transparency modes and improves quality compared to ETC1.

ASTC is a more recent format that's more flexible; it supports many different kinds of textures, allowing for just about any texture in your game to benefit from compression. In addition, it supports various block sizes with different associated compression ratios. Using this format is a good way to optimize the size, image quality, and performance of your game.

Asphalt Xtreme Gameloft image

When experimenting with ASTC on Asphalt Xtreme Gameloft found that they could reduce the size of their game by up to 30%

Using texture compression format targeting

Once you've implemented Google Play Asset Delivery in your game, adding texture format targeting is an incremental step. Inside your asset packs, make sure you have a directory that holds just your textures, such as [assetpackname]/textures. This directory will be used to hold default textures (probably in ETC1 or ETC2 format).

Then, create additional texture directories with a suffix representing the additional formats you wish to support.


Finally, update your app build.gradle file to enable texture splits in asset packs:

// In the app build.gradle file:
android {
    bundle {
        texture {
            enableSplit true

Google Play strips off the texture suffixes so your game reads its assets from the default directory, regardless of what textures are delivered to the device.

If you're using Unity, our Play Asset Delivery plugin for Unity is ready to create app bundles with texture-targeted packs.

Texture compression format targeting is available now

We're committed to helping you serve your entire game through Play with customized dynamic delivery and features such as texture compression format targeting. Documentation at d.android.com will walk you through the integration process depending on the game engine you use, and we also have codelabs ready for both C/C++ and Unity games. We have more information on all of our game related developer resources at d.android.com/games and stay up to date with Google Play Asset Delivery and other game developer tools by signing up for the games quarterly newsletter.

Android GPU Inspector Open Beta

Posted by Jay Kong, Gaming and Graphics Product Manager

With the rollout of Android 11 on Pixel, Android GPU Inspector (AGI) has graduated from a limited developer preview to an open beta. During the preview, AGI has been helpful in finding performance bottlenecks for developers we've been working with, and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback.

What is Android GPU Inspector?

AGI is a graphics profiling tool that allows you to look into the GPU of Android devices to better understand graphics bottlenecks and optimize the performance of games and apps that leverage 3D graphics APIs. It shows a timeline of events for your running game or app, which includes system activities, high frequency GPU hardware counters, and, if you are using Vulkan, GPU activity information.


What devices can I use it on?

AGI relies on updated firmware and video drivers to get information it needs; the first devices to support it are the Pixel 4 and 4XL running Android 11. While we are working with device manufacturers and SoC vendors to enable more supported devices, the key insight we’ve learned on our journey is that being able to look into the GPU—even on a single device—creates a lot of value.

Working with Blizzard Entertainment Inc. and NetEase, Inc., AGI helped pinpoint 45% vertex bandwidth savings for the upcoming Diablo Immortal, a dark gothic action RPG game.


Diablo: Immortal

Working with King, AGI helped improve GPU frame time from 11-16ms to a stable 8ms for the upcoming Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!, allowing the game to reduce battery drain and run faster for a smoother experience.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run

Crash Bandicoot: On The Run

In collaboration with Jam City, AGI helped reduce GPU frametime by 45% on World War Doh: Real Time PvP.

World War Doh: Real Time PvP

World War Doh: Real Time PvP

Optimization tutorials

Stay tuned for more information on how to use the tool and address common issues we’ve seen when working with real games. We’ll begin by demonstrating using AGI to indicate optimizations to make in your game’s textures.

You can also read about this topic on Medium, here.

How do I get started?

You can download AGI here, and the setup instructions are here. AGI is in beta, so there will be issues. Check out the release notes, and let us know if you see any issues here.

To learn about new device support, you can check this page. Stay up to date with AGI and all of our game developer tools by signing up for the games quarterly newsletter.

11 Weeks of Android: App distribution and monetization on Google Play

Posted by Alex Musil, Director of Product Management, Google Play

11 Weeks of Android Week 8 App Distribution & Monetization

This blog post is part of a weekly series for #11WeeksOfAndroid. Each week we’re diving into a key area of Android so you don’t miss anything. This week, we spotlighted app distribution and monetization on Google Play; here’s a look at what you should know.

Thanks for joining us for this week of 11 Weeks of Android, where we focused on app distribution and monetization. The developments we announced will enable you to deliver the exciting improvements to the Android platform you’ve been hearing about since week 1.

Google Play partners with developers to deliver amazing digital experiences to billions of Android users. From the start, we’ve committed to providing the tools and insights you need to reach more users and grow your business. This week, we launched even more features — and improved existing ones — to help you continue to maximize your success.

Key takeaways

  1. We released several webinars about the new Google Play Console beta. Check out the videos if you weren’t able to tune in live.
  2. We shared recent improvements we’ve made to app bundles, as well as our intention to require new apps and games to publish with this format in the second half of 2021.
  3. Developers can now ask for ratings and reviews from within your app with the new in-app review API.
  4. To increase user trust in our billing platform, we made some product updates and reminded you of our policy around more transparent subscriptions. We also expanded our feature set to help you better reach and retain buyers, and launched Play Billing Library 3, which will be required by mid-2021.
  5. Google Play Pass launched in nine new markets last month. With an innovative revenue model, participating titles together have earned 2.5x the revenue of Google Play Store-only sales, without diminishing Play Store earnings. You can learn more and express interest in joining.

Google Play Console beta

Thank you to everyone who has already shared their feedback on the new Google Play Console beta, which launched a few months ago at play.google.com/console. As we’ve continued to update the beta, we’ve launched a number of key releases including:

  • Major performance increases across different browsers, which many of you requested
  • New menus and headers on mobile for a better responsive experience
  • Features including Inbox (your Google Play Console messaging hub) and enhanced subscription retention reports

Earlier this week, we hosted three webinars to get you up to speed on what’s new and what’s changed from the classic Play Console. If you weren’t able to tune in live, you can watch the videos on demand below.

If you’re just getting started, join Google Play Console’s lead engineer, Dan White, for a look at new features like Inbox, policy status, app content, and enhanced team management capabilities.

To help you release with even more confidence, check out this webinar with Google Play UX designer Matt McGriskin, who will walk you through the new testing and publishing workflow.

Finally, if you want to grow your audience, join Google Play engineer Ryan Fanelli for app store optimization best practices and an overview of the new acquisition reports.

You can also take our Play Console Play Academy course. And if you haven’t already, please opt in to 2-Step Verification to sign into Google Play Console, which will be required later this year.

Android App Bundle

We’re glad so many of you are already using the Android App Bundle to release your apps and games. We’re continuing to make app bundles a better publishing format with several recent improvements:

  • The recently-launched Play Asset Delivery brings the benefits of app bundles to games and allows developers to improve the user experience while cutting delivery costs and reducing the size of their game
  • You can now shrink resources when building modular apps
  • Install-time modules are now automatically fused by default when app bundles are processed into distribution APKs
  • Feature-to-feature dependency is now stable in Android Studio 4.0

If you haven’t switched to the app bundle yet, we’ve published some FAQs on Play App Signing—which is required for app bundles—as well as guidance on how to test your app bundle. Check out our recent blog post to find out more about the recent improvements we’ve made to developing, testing, and publishing with app bundles.

As we announced as part of the Android 11 Beta launch, we intend to require new apps to publish with the Android App Bundle on Google Play in the second half of 2021. This means that we will also be deprecating APK expansion files (OBBs) and making Play Asset Delivery the standard for publishing games larger than 150MB.

In-app review API

Because ratings and reviews are such an important touchpoint with your users, many of you asked us to give users the ability to leave a review from within your app. Now, with the new in-app review API, you can do just that. Choose when to prompt users for a review and get feedback when it’s most valuable. The in-app review API is available now in the Play Core Library.

We've also released a unified sample for Play Core APIs, which includes in-app reviews as well as on-demand feature modules and in-app updates. Check it out to learn how to use these APIs using our Play Core Kotlin extensions artifact, which makes working with Play Core easier for Kotlin users.

Google Play Commerce

We’ve made a number of updates to Play Commerce aimed at building user trust through clearer, easier payment experiences. The user trust policies we announced in April offer users greater transparency, safer trial experiences, and easier cancellations.

We also launched Play Billing Library 3, which supports cash payments, a better subscription promo code redemption experience, purchase attribution, and more. Billing Play Library 3 will be mandatory for all new apps starting August 2, 2021.

For more information, check out this session with Mrinalini Loew, Group Project Manager for Google Play Commerce.

We’ve also just kicked off a six-article series on Google Play Billing, which you can follow here on Medium.

Google Play Pass

Google Play Pass enables developers to earn additional revenue and connect with untapped audiences by offering experiences free of ads and in-app purchases. Since launching last September, Play Pass has added over 200 new titles to the catalog, from puzzles and racing games to utility and kid-friendly apps. We’re also excited to celebrate the world premieres of Super Glitch Dash and Element this week as the newest “Premiering on Play Pass” titles.

The expanded catalog has enabled rich user experiences and provided a sustainable stream of revenue for developers using an innovative revenue payout model. In aggregate, titles on Play Pass earn more than 2.5x the revenue compared to their Play Store-only earnings in the US.

Last month, we made Google Play Pass available in nine new markets and gave users the option to get started with either an annual subscription or the existing monthly plan.

Today, we are announcing that developers with in-app subscriptions can now nominate their titles to join Play Pass. If you’re building a great experience that Google Play Pass users would love, you can learn more and express interest in participating.

Learning path

If you’re looking for an easy way to pick up the highlights of this week, check out the app distribution and monetization pathway. Test your knowledge of key takeaways to earn a limited-edition virtual badge.

Thanks for joining us for 11 Weeks of Android! We hope you find these recent announcements and resources helpful in powering your success on Google Play.


You can find the entire playlist of #11WeeksOfAndroid video content here, and learn more about each week here. We’ll continue to spotlight new areas each week, so keep an eye out and follow us on Twitter and YouTube. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of this experience with you!

Introducing Google Play Asset Delivery

Posted by Dan Galpin, Developer Advocate

Two years ago, we introduced the Android App Bundle, a new publishing format that allows Google Play to help optimize your app delivery. The app bundle is now Play’s recommended publishing format; with almost 50% of all top apps & games already using it.

It replaces the traditional monolithic APK at publishing time, allowing you to package all of your languages, screen densities and device architectures into a single artifact. The bundle itself can't be installed; Play takes care of generating APKs optimized for each requesting device from the single bundle that you publish.

Dynamic Delivery with App Bundle Produces Optimized APKs

Dynamic Delivery with App Bundle Produces Optimized APKs

Apps have seen great success with app bundles, but games often have different delivery challenges.

Today, large Android games rely on APK Expansion Files and custom Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to deliver content. APK Expansion Files, also known as OBBs, support large resources but require you to maintain an additional publishing artifact, which causes many developer issues. Using CDNs for resource delivery often results in a suboptimal user-experience; users install and open the game just to face a long progress bar as they wait for additional resources to be downloaded. Users may also have to wait for updated resources, rather than having them delivered as part of the game auto-update. Finally, CDNs usually aren’t free, so this way of delivering game assets also involves extra cost that needs to be accounted for.

To handle the unique needs of games, Play is introducing Play Asset Delivery, giving you dynamic delivery of the right game assets to the right devices at the right time at no additional cost. To achieve this, we extended the Android App Bundle publishing format by adding asset packs.

The contents of an Android App Bundle with one base module, two dynamic feature modules, and two asset packs.

The contents of an Android App Bundle with one base module, two dynamic feature modules, and two asset packs.

Asset packs contain non-code game content such as textures, materials, and sounds. They are served from Google Play with large size limits that are ideal for games, and you can customize how and when each asset pack is downloaded onto a device.

Keeping assets up-to-date

Play Asset Delivery (PAD) lets you rely on Google Play to take care of updating your assets, just like it does with your game binary. When your app auto updates, the entire game gets updated, including all assets. When your users open the game, they will already have the freshest binary and assets, and they won’t need to wait for resources to get updated. Play also takes care of delta patching for you, minimizing the download size and the update time.

To handle cases when the user opens the game before it has had a chance to update, you can trigger updates within the context of your game with our In-App Updates API.

Play Asset Delivery engine support

  • Version 4.25 of Unreal engine supports building App Bundles with asset packs instead of APK expansion files and includes a plugin that provides function calls for managing downloads and requesting information from Play Asset Delivery.
  • We have built a Unity plugin that takes care of packaging your Unity Asset Bundles into asset packs and lets you build an Android App Bundle that includes them. The plugin is now available in our Package Registry and is compatible with Unity 2017.4 and higher.
  • For other engines, that Android Gradle plugin 4.0 release lets you combine your asset packs and your binary into an App Bundle. Just update your gradle plugin version and configure the delivery mode in the build.gradle file for each individual asset pack.

Customizing when asset packs are installed

You can customize when asset packs are installed according to three delivery modes: install-time, fast-follow, and on-demand.

  • install-time asset packs allow you to deliver up to 1GB of game assets as part of the initial game installation. To your app, this works like a large APK, with no need for expansion files or special API calls. Just package your assets in asset packs and publish to Play.
  • fast-follow asset packs are automatically downloaded as soon as the app is installed, allowing the user to start playing while important assets are still downloading. The app doesn't have to be opened for the download to start.
  • on-demand asset packs are downloaded upon request by the app.

Both on-demand and fast-follow assets are delivered as raw files and placed in your game’s internal storage. You can track download progress with the PAD API and access the assets directly using file system calls.

Extending Android App Bundle for Games

When using Play Asset Delivery, you get to take advantage of the App Bundle format, which allows Play to optimize the binary for the device, making it easier to support both 64-bit and 32-bit devices and different CPU architectures such as ARM and X86. We also want to help you serve the optimal set of assets to each device, and the first step in this direction is texture compression format targeting.

In an upcoming release of Play Asset Delivery, you'll be able to package textures in multiple texture compression formats, relying on Play to serve optimal assets per device model. This means you won't need to compromise by using suboptimal texture compression formats, and your users will always get the best assets suitable for their device without wasting network bandwidth or having suboptimal loading performance.

Better retention with an improved install experience

image of car racing from Asphalt 8 game by Gameloft

Asphalt 8 by Gameloft

Gameloft integrated Play Asset delivery into Asphalt 8, Asphalt Xtreme, and Minion Rush. Asphalt Xtreme was easy to switch from using APK expansion files to using PAD with install-time delivery. Asphalt 8 and Minion Rush both originally used a custom CDN, which Gameloft replaced with PAD. They were able to leverage fast-follow and on-demand delivery by replacing their custom CDN calls with calls to the PAD API. They saw the expected reduction in CDN costs, but with fast-follow delivery, they have also seen a significant increase in the number of users who completed the secondary download to start playing the game. This resulted in better user retention, with 10% more new players compared to their previous CDN asset delivery system. With the promising early results and seamless implementation process, Gameloft plans to use PAD in more of their upcoming releases. Read more about their experience.

Improved user experience with cost savings

Puzzle Kids - Animals Shapes and Jigsaw Puzzles game

Puzzle Kids - Animals Shapes and Jigsaw Puzzles by RV AppStudios

US-based developer RV AppStudios has over 200 million downloads to date across their portfolio of casual games, educational kids apps, and utility apps. Their Puzzle Kids app delivers over 23 MB of assets as players progress through the levels. When they switched from a third-party CDN to using Play Asset Delivery’s on-demand mode, they saw a 4.7% increase in 15-day retention and 21% reduction in crashes & ANRs. Overall, these changes helped improve the user experience by offering more stable, transparent, and secure downloads, while also saving costs for RV AppStudios. Read more about their experience.

Play Asset Delivery is available now

We're committed to helping you serve your entire game through Play with customized dynamic delivery. Play Asset Delivery, with the new app bundle format for games, along with its three delivery modes and updates + patching are all generally available. You can find documentation at d.android.com that will walk you through the integration process depending on the game engine you use.

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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Make stronger decisions with new Google Play Console data

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play

At this year’s Google I/O, we announced a slate of new features to help you take your business further with Google Play. Launching today, these changes include several improvements designed to help you make better decisions about your business by providing clearer, more actionable data.

We know the right data is critical to help you improve your app performance and grow your business. That’s why we’re excited to share a major update that enables you to better measure and analyse your core statistics — the most fundamental install and uninstall metrics by user and device. We’ve also enhanced the Statistics page on the Play Console to show change over time, enable more granular configurations, and, coming soon, exclusive benchmarks for core stats!

Statistics page on the Play Console

More granular configurations are now available on the Statistics page to help you better understand your acquisition and churn.

More accurate and more expansive than before, the new metrics will help you better understand your acquisition and churn. For the first time, we are including data on returning users and devices - something that we understand is critical to many developers' growth strategies.

We’re also including new install methods (such as pre-installs and peer-to-peer sharing) and the ability to aggregate and dedupe over periods that suit your business needs. With these new updates, you can perform analyses that weren’t possible before, such as how many people re-installed your app last month.

Here’s what else is new:

  • Clearer, consistent metrics definitions:
    • Select users or devices, acquisitions or losses
    • Define if you’re interested in new, returning, or all users
    • Measure events (for example, when someone installs) or uniques (for instance, every person who installs)
  • Change analysis charts automatically show the largest changes during a selected period of time for a given dimension, making it easy to see the largest contributors to your metric trends.
  • Saved reports allow you to configure your metrics just the way you want them, then save them for easy retrieval and common analyses.
  • Suggested reports help you to find interesting ways to combine your data for more valuable analysis.
  • And finally, all configured data can be downloaded as CSVs from within the interface.

As a result of these updates, you will notice a few changes to your metrics. Old metrics names will be deprecated, but you can configure new metrics that map to the old ones with this cheat sheet. And don’t forget to use the ‘save report’ feature on the stats page so you can easily return to any configurations you find particularly helpful!

Save report feature on the stats page

Don’t forget to use the ‘save this report’ feature on the stats page to easily return to any configurations you find particularly helpful.

Other metrics like active user and active device will see a step-change as the new definitions are more expansive and include previously under-counted data.

Some new metrics map onto older ones. Where this happens, all historic data will be automatically included. But in other cases new metrics will only be generated from launch day. For unique devices or users, weekly metrics will start to appear two weeks after launch, monthly metrics once there’s a single full month’s data, and quarterly metrics once there’s a full quarter’s data.

We know it’s a lot to take in at once, so make sure to bookmark the cheat sheet for helpful tips as you navigate the transition and explore your new metrics. Additionally, our Decision-Making with the Google Play Console session from Google I/O and our Play Academy training are other great resources to help you get up to speed.

Check out these updates in the Google Play Console today — we hope you find them useful. Your comments help to shape the future of Google Play, so please continue to let us know what you think.

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Get your apps ready for the 64-bit requirement

Posted by Vlad Radu, Product Manager, Play and Diana Wong, Product Manager, Android

64-bit CPUs deliver faster, richer experiences for your users. Adding a 64-bit version of your app provides performance improvements, makes way for future innovation, and sets you up for devices with 64-bit only hardware.

We want to help you get ready and know you need time to plan. We’ve supported 64-bit CPUs since Android 5.0 Lollipop and in 2017 we first announced that apps using native code must provide a 64-bit version (in addition to the 32-bit version). Today we’re providing more detailed information and timelines to make it as easy as possible to transition in 2019.

The 64-bit requirement: what it means for developers

Starting August 1, 2019:

  • All new apps and app updates that include native code are required to provide 64-bit versions in addition to 32-bit versions when publishing to Google Play.
  • Extension: Google Play will continue to accept 32-bit only updates to existing games that use Unity 5.6 or older until August 2021.

Starting August 1, 2021:

  • Google Play will stop serving apps without 64-bit versions on 64-bit capable devices, meaning they will no longer be available in the Play Store on those devices.
  • This will include games built with Unity 5.6 or older.

The requirement does not apply to:

  • APKs or app bundles explicitly targeting Wear OS or Android TV, which are form factors that do not currently support 64-bit code.
  • APKs or app bundles that are not distributed to devices running Android 9 Pie or later.

We are not making changes to our policy on 32-bit support. Play will continue to deliver apps to 32-bit devices. This requirement means that apps with 32-bit native code will need to have an additional 64-bit version as well.

Preparing for the 64-bit requirement

We anticipate that for most developers, the move to 64-bit should be straightforward. Many apps are written entirely in non-native code (e.g. the Java programming language or Kotlin) and do not need code changes.

All developers: Here is an overview of the steps you will need to take in order to become 64-bit compliant. For a more detailed outline of this process refer to our in-depth documentation.

Inspect your APK or app bundle for native code. You can check for .so files using APK Analyzer. Identify whether they are built from your own code or are imported by an SDK or library that you are using. If you do not have any .so files in your APK, you are already 64-bit compliant.

Enable 64-bit architectures and rebuild native code (.so files) imported by your own code. See the documentation for more details.

  • Upgrade any SDKs and libraries to 64-bit compliant versions, if needed. Reach out to the SDK or library owner if one is not available. We’re working with top library owners on their 64-bit compatibility.
  • Test for issues locally once you’ve rebuilt your app.
  • Rollout to your testers using testing tracks for thorough testing.

Game developers: The three most used engines all currently support 64-bit (Unreal & Cocos2d since 2015, Unity since 2018). We understand that migrating a 3rd party game engine is an intensive process with long lead times.

Since Unity only recently began providing 64-bit support in versions 2017.4 and 2018.2, we are granting an automatic extension to existing games using versions 5.6 or older until August 2021. Unity provides guides that can help you through the process of upgrading to a 64-bit compliant version.

SDK and library owners: Update for 64-bit compliance as soon as possible to give app developers time to adapt, and let your developers know. Sign up and register your SDK to receive updates about the latest tools and information that can help you serve your customers.

Going forward

For those that already support 64-bit - thank you and great work! If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to begin any work for the 64-bit requirement as soon as possible. As we move closer to the deadline, we’ll be updating our developer documentation with more information on how to check if your app is compliant.

We’re excited about the future that 64-bit CPUs bring in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and immersive mobile. Supporting 64-bit prepares the ecosystem for the innovation enabled by the advanced compute capabilities of 64-bit devices, and for future Android devices that only support 64-bit code.

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Our big bet on mobile games at Game Developers Conference 2018

Posted by Benjamin Frenkel, Product Manager, Google Play Instant

We've been working hard to make Google Play the premier platform for game discovery and a place for you to grow your business. In the last year, the number of Android users who installed a game has more than doubled. Nearly 40% of that growth came from emerging markets, including Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico. Our investments extend beyond the Play Store and include many key Google products:

  • Last week, we introduced a gaming solution from Google Maps APIs that enables you to build game worlds based on real world data to find the best places for gameplay.
  • We also launched Agones, an open source, dedicated game server hosting product built on Google Cloud Platform, in collaboration with Ubisoft, to support multiplayer games.
  • At last month's Mobile World Congress, we released version 1.0 of ARCore, our augmented reality SDK for Android, enabling you to publish AR apps and games to Google Play for the first time and reach 100M devices across the Android ecosystem.
  • Over the next few months, we'll roll out a beta for click-to-play video ads on Google Play—a new way to reach players with sight, sound and motion. These placements will help you showcase your games.

Today, during our annual Google Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference, we introduced new tools and platforms to improve the overall game discovery on Google Play and give you more ways to deliver engaging player experiences.

Introducing Google Play Instant

With all the great games available on Google Play, we want to make discovery easier and remove friction during the install process. Installing and opening a game takes time and results in many players never getting to experience your game. We're thrilled to announce that instant apps is now available for games.

This means that with a tap, players can try a game without having to download it first. Games available instantly today include: Clash Royale, Words with Friends 2, and Bubble Witch 3 Saga, and other titles from Playtika, MZ, Jam City, and Hothead Games.

[Insert YouTube vido] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_STBSPQxYA&feature=youtu.be

We're calling this new experience Google Play Instant. To try it out, simply launch the Google Play Store on your Android device and visit the Instant Gameplay collection. Or, you can visit the "Arcade" in our redesigned Google Play Games app and launch any of the "Instant Gameplay" collection games. Google Play Instant makes it easier to have your players invite their friends to try out games right away through social invites and lets you share games through marketing campaigns.

Google Play Instant is still in closed beta and we look forward to opening it more broadly later this year. It provides a collection of extensions to the instant apps framework that better support the needs of game developers; including a higher APK size limit to 10MB, progressive download support for executable code and game assets, and support for NDK and game engines using existing tool chains. We're also working with popular game development platform Unity, and others including Cocos, to add IDE support making it easy for developers to build instant apps. Developers can sign up for more information about Google Play Instant as it becomes available.

Discover insights from game developers who have successfully benefited from Google Play Instant. Read how Zynga, King, Hothead Games, Jam City, Playtika, MZ and Magma Mobile successfully used instant apps to acquire new users, improve retention, and effectively cross-promote their games.

Google Play Console tools to build high quality games

We also added some useful tools to the Play Console to help you build great games, including:

  • A new internal testing track that will allow you to quickly test and iterate on new games and features. The track is additional to the alpha and beta testing tracks, and makes your game available for up to 100 testers within seconds.
  • Demo loops for the pre-launch report, a new feature that lets you predefine a likely series of actions in a game and have this "loop" run on on live devices in the Test Lab (bypassing the robo crawler).

This is just the start of what we have planned for 2018. We can't wait to see Google Play Instant bring new audiences to your games.