Oct 16

Final Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview: iOS support. Time to upload your apps to the Play Store!

Posted by Hoi Lam, Developer
Advocate 

Cross platform support by Telegram Messenger

Today, we are releasing the fifth and final developer preview for Android Wear
2.0. In this release, we have added iOS support and included a number of bug
fixes and enhancements. Apps compiled with this preview are now ready for final
submission to the Google Play Store, so it’s time to publish
your apps. As Android Wear 2.0 approaches its final release in early
February, we would like to thank you for your continued feedback during the
developer preview program. Your input has helped us uncover bugs as well as
drive critical product decisions. Thank you!

iOS Support

Since 2015,
you’ve been able to pair Android Wear watches with iPhones, and now you can
distribute your apps to iPhone-paired watches as well. To do so, just set the standalone=true
flag in your watch app manifest. This lets the Play Store know that your watch
app doesn’t require an Android phone app, and therefore can appear in the Play
Store on watches paired to iPhones. To pair your watch to an iPhone and
test, just follow these
steps.

The available network bandwidth for standalone apps can be lower than expected,
as the platform balances battery savings vs network bandwidth. Make sure to
check out these guidelines
for accessing the network, including accessing Wi-Fi and cellular networks on
watches paired with iPhones.

Also with this developer preview release, Android Wear apps running on watches
paired with iOS devices will be able to perform phone hand-off flows such as OAuth
and RemoteIntent
for launching a web page on a paired iOS device.

Uploading Your App to the Google Play Store

The final developer preview includes an update to the Wearable Support Library.
Apps compiled with API level 25 and this support library are considered ready
for deployment in the Google Play Store. Please note that there are no updates
to the preview watch image or emulator in this developer preview release.


Other Enhancement and Bug Fixes

  • Navigation Drawer: Flip
    a flag to toggle to the single-page, icon-only action drawer, which provides
    faster, more streamlined navigation to different views in your app.
  • NFC HCE support: NFC
    Host Card Emulation FEATURE_NFC_HOST_CARD_EMULATION is now
    supported.
  • ProGuard and Complication API: New ProGuard configuration
    means complication data container classes will no longer be obfuscated. This
    fixes a ClassNotFoundException when watch faces are trying to access data supplied
    by a complication data provider.

Countdown to Launch

Thank you for the fantastic level of feedback we have gotten from you as
developers. Check out g.co/wearpreview for
the latest builds and documentation, and be sure to publish
your apps before the Android Wear 2.0 consumer launch in early February. As
we work towards the consumer launch and beyond, please continue filing bugs or posting comments in our Android Wear
Developers community. We can’t wait to see your Android Wear 2.0 apps!


Android Developers Blog

Oct 10

Android Developer Story: Wallapop improves user conversions with store listing experiments on Google Play

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Wallapop
is a mobile app developer based in Barcelona, Spain. The app provides a platform
to users for selling and buying things to others nearby in a virtual flea market
by using geolocalization. Wallapop now has over 70% of their user base on
Android.

Watch Agus Gomez, Co-Founder & CEO, and Marta Gui, Growth Hacking Manager,
explain how using store listing experiments has increased their conversion rate
by 17%, and has allowed them to optimize organic installs.

Learn
more about store listing experiments. Get the Playbook for
Developers app to stay up-to-date with more features and best practices that
will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.

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Android Developers Blog

Oct 02

Games developer, Dots, share their Do’s and Don’ts for improving your visibility on Google Play

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Developer Marketing at Google Play

Editor’s note: A few weeks ago we shared some tips from game developer, Seriously, on how they’ve been using notifications successfully to drive ongoing engagement. This week, we’re sharing tips from Christian Calderon at US game developer, Dots, on how to successfully optimize your Play Store Listing. -Ed.

A well thought-out Google Play store listing can significantly improve the discoverability of your app or game and drive installations. With the recent launch of Store Listing Experiments on the Google Play Developer Console, you can now conduct A/B tests on the text and graphics of your store listing page and use the data to make more informed decisions.

Dots is a US-founded game developer which released the popular game, Dots, and its addictive sequel, TwoDots. Dots used its store listings to showcase its brands and improve conversions by letting players know what to expect.

Christian Calderon, Head of Marketing for Dots, shared his top tips with us on store listings and visibility on Google Play.

Do’s and Don’ts for optimizing store listings on Google Play

Do’s

Don’ts

Do be creative and unique with the icon. Try to visually convince the user that your product is interesting and in alignment with what they are looking for.

Don’t spam keywords in your app title. Keep the title short, original and thoughtful and keep your brand in mind when representing your product offering.

Do remember to quickly respond to reviews and implement a scalable strategy to incorporate feedback into your product offering. App ratings are important social proof that your product is well liked.

Don’t overload the ‘short description’. Keep it concise. It should be used as a call-to-action to address your product’s core value proposition and invite the user to install the application. Remember to consider SEO best practices.

Do invest in a strong overall paid and organic acquisition strategy. More downloads will make your product seem more credible to users, increasing the likeliness that a user will install your app.

Don’t overuse text in your screenshots. They should create a visual narrative for what’s in your game and help users visualize your product offering, using localization where possible.

Do link your Google Play store listing to your website, social media accounts, press releases and any of your consumer-facing channels that may drive organic visibility to your target market. This can impact your search positioning.

Don’t have a negative, too short or confusing message in your “What’s New” copy. Let users know what updates, product changes or bug fixes have been implemented in new versions. Keep your copy buoyant, informative, concise and clear.

Do use Video Visualization to narrate the core value proposition. For TwoDots, our highest converting videos consist of gameplay, showcasing features and events within the game that let the player know exactly what to expect.

Don’t flood the user with information in the page description. Keep the body of the page description organized and concise and test different structural patterns that works best for you and your product!

Use Google Play Store Listing Experiments to increase your installs

As part of the 100 Days of Google Dev video series, Kobi Glick from the Google Play team explains how to test different graphics and text on your app or game’s Play Store listing to increase conversions using the new Store Listing Experiments feature in the Developer Console.

Find out more about using Store Listing Experiments to turn more of your visits into installs.


Android Developers Blog

Sep 30

Manage paid orders and payments settings from the Google Play Developer Console

Posted by Suzanne van Tienen, Product Manager, Google Play



Today we are simplifying and improving the merchant experience for developers
who have paid apps, in-app purchases, or subscriptions based on the feedback
we’ve heard from the community.

First, we’re moving order management from the Google Payments Center to the
Google Play Developer Console and adding some improved features. Second,
payments settings will now be accessible from the Developer Console in addition
to continuing to be available on payments.google.com. The new features come with
appropriate access control settings so you can be sure users only have access to
the tools they need.


The new order management tab in the Google Play Developer Console



You can perform the same tasks in the Developer Console which you previously
would have performed in the Google Payments Center. We’ve also made some
improvements:

  • Bulk refunds: You can now select multiple orders
    for simultaneous refund, instead of issuing them individually.
  • Subscription cancellations: You can now refund and
    revoke subscriptions directly from the order management tab (without going to a
    separate UI).
  • Permissions: We’ve added a new user access
    permission to the Developer Console called “Manage orders”. This permission will
    allow a user to find orders, issue refunds, and cancel subscriptions. Other
    features will be read-only for these users and financial reports will be hidden
    (only users with “View financial reports” can see financial data). Payments
    settings are restricted to the account owner when accessed from Developer
    Console.

Order management migration to the Developer Console



Order
management is now available in the Developer Console. Starting January 23,
order management will cease being available in Payments Center. User permissions
are not automatically carried over from the Payments Center so, as the account
owner, you will need to add all users who need access to refunds and any other
order management features to your Developer Console account with the new ‘Manage
orders’ permission by January 22 for them to have continued access.

Here’s how you can add new users to your Developer Console account:

  1. Log on to Google Payments Center
    and review all existing users.
  2. Sign in to your Developer
    Console and add one or both of the following permissions for all users that
    need access to Order Management in the Developer Console.
    1. View financial reports: Gives the right to access and view
      financial reports.
    2. Manage orders: Gives the right to view and refund orders but not
      to view aggregate financial statistics or download sales & payout reports.
  3. Let your users know about the new location for order
    management.
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Android Developers Blog

Sep 22

Get the Do’s and Don’ts for Notifications from Game Developer Seriously

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Developer Marketing at Google Play

Editor’s note: We’ve been talking to developers to find out how they’ve been achieving success on Google Play. We recently spoke to Reko Ukko at Finnish mobile game developer, Seriously, to find out how to successfully use Notifications.

Notifications on Android let you send timely, relevant, and actionable information to your users’ devices. When used correctly, notifications can increase the value of your app or game and drive ongoing engagement.

Seriously is a Finnish mobile game developer focused on creating entertaining games with quality user experiences. They use push notifications to drive engagement with their players, such as helping players progress to the next level when they’ve left the app after getting stuck.

Reko Ukko, VP of Game Design at Seriously, shared his tips with us on how to use notifications to increase the value of your game and drive ongoing engagement.

Do’s and don’ts for successful game notifications

Do’s

Don’ts

Do let the user get familiar with your service and its benefits before asking for permission to send notifications.

Don’t treat your users as if they’re all the same – identify and group them so you can push notifications that are relevant to their actions within your app.

Do include actionable context. If it looks like a player is stuck on a level, send them a tip to encourage action.

Don’t spam push notifications or interrupt game play. Get an understanding of the right frequency for your audience to fit the game.

Do consider re-activation. If the player thoroughly completes a game loop and could be interested in playing again, think about using a notification. Look at timing this shortly after the player exits the game.

Don’t just target players at all hours of the day. Choose moments when players typically play games – early morning commutes, lunch breaks, the end of the work day, and in the evening before sleeping. Take time zones into account.

Do deep link from the notification to where the user expects to go to based on the message. For example. if the notification is about “do action X in the game now to win”, link to where that action can take place.

Don’t forget to expire the notifications if they’re time-limited or associated with an event. You can also recycle the same notification ID to avoid stacking notifications for the user.

Do try to make an emotional connection with the player by reflecting the style, characters, and atmosphere of your game in the notification. If the player is emotionally connected to your game, they’ll appreciate your notifications and be more likely to engage.

Don’t leave notifications up to guess work. Experiment with A/B testing and iterate to compare how different notifications affect engagement and user behavior in your app. Go beyond measuring app opening metrics – identify and respond to user behavior.

Experiment with notifications yourself to understand what’s best for your players and your game. You can power your own notifications with Google Cloud Messaging, which is free, cross platform, reliable, and thoughtful about battery usage. Find out more about developing Notifications on Android.

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Android Developers Blog

Sep 21

Android 4.3 and Updated Developer Tools

Posted by Dave Burke, Engineering Director, Android Platform

Today in San Francisco we announced Android 4.3, a sweeter version of Jelly Bean that includes great new features for users and developers. Android 4.3 powers the new Nexus 7 tablet that’s coming soon to Google Play and retail outlets, and it’s rolling out now as an update to Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices across the world.

For developers, Android 4.3 includes the latest performance enhancements to keep your apps fast, smooth, and efficient, together with new APIs and capabilities to use in your apps. Here’s a taste of what’s new:

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 — Game developers can now take advantage of OpenGL ES 3.0 and EGL extensions as standard features of Android, with access from either framework or native APIs.
  • Bluetooth Smart — Now your apps can communicate with the many types of low-power Bluetooth Smart devices and sensors available today, to provide new features for fitness, medical, location, proximity, and more.
  • Restricted profiles — Tablet owners can create restricted profiles to limit access to apps, for family, friends, kiosks, and more. Your app can offer various types of restrictions to let tablet owners control its capabilities in each profile.
  • New media capabilities — A modular DRM framework enables media application developers to more easily integrate DRM into their own streaming protocols such as MPEG DASH. Apps can also access a built-in VP8 encoder from framework or native APIs for high-quality video capture.
  • Notification access — Your apps can now access and interact with the stream of status bar notifications as they are posted. You can display them in any way you want, including routing them to nearby Bluetooth devices, and you can update and dismiss notifications as needed.
  • Improved profiling tools — New tags in the Systrace tool and on-screen GPU profiling give you new ways to build great performance into your app.

Check out the Android 4.3 platform highlights for a complete overview of what’s new for developers. To read more about the new APIs and how to use them, take a look at the API Overview or watch the new DevBytes videos.

Along with the new Android 4.3 platform we’re releasing an update to the Android NDK (r9). The new NDK gives you native access to the OpenGL ES 3.0 APIs and other stable APIs in Android 4.3, so if you use high-performance graphics in your games or apps, make sure to check it out.

Last, we’ve updated the Android Support Library (r18) with several key APIs to help you build great apps with broad compatibility. Most important, we’ve added an Action Bar API to let you build this essential Android design pattern into your app with compatibility back to Android 2.1. For apps targeting RTL languages, there’s a new BidiFormatter utility you can use to manage RTL strings with compatibility back to Android 2.1. Also, watch for a new RenderScript feature coming soon that will let you take advantage of hardware-accelerated computation with compatibility back to Android 2.2.

You can get started developing and testing on Android 4.3 right away, in Android Studio or in ADT/Ant. You can download the Android 4.3 Platform (API level 18), as well as the SDK Tools, Platform Tools, and Support Library from the Android SDK Manager.

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Android Developers Blog

Aug 31

Final update to Android 7.1 Developer Preview

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Today we’re rolling out an update to the Android 7.1 Developer Preview — the
last before we release the final Android 7.1.1 platform to the ecosystem.
Android 7.1.1 includes the developer features already available on Pixel and
Pixel XL devices and adds optimizations and bug fixes on top of the base Android
7.1 platform. With Developer Preview 2, you can make sure your apps are ready
for Android 7.1.1 and the consumers that will soon be running it on their
devices.

As highlighted
in October, we’re also expanding the range of devices that can receive this
Developer Preview update to Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, and Pixel C.

If you have a supported device that’s enrolled in the Android Beta Program, you’ll receive an
update to Developer Preview 2 over the coming week. If you haven’t enrolled your
device yet, just visit the site to
enroll your device and get the update.

In early December, we’ll roll out Android 7.1.1 to the full lineup of supported
devices as well as Pixel and Pixel XL devices.

What’s in this update?

Developer Preview 2 is a release candidate for Android 7.1.1 that you can use to
complete your app development and testing in preparation for the upcoming final
release. In includes near-final system behaviors and UI, along with the latest
bug fixes and optimizations across the system and Google apps.

It also includes the developer features and APIs (API level 25) already
introduced in Developer Preview 1. If you haven’t explored the developer
features, you’ll want to take a look at app shortcuts,
round
icon resources, and image keyboard
support, among others — you can see the full list of
developer features here.

With Developer Preview 2, we’re also updating the SDK build and platform tools
in Android Studio, the Android 7.1.1 platform, and the API Level 25 emulator
system images. The latest version of the support library (25.0.1)
is also available for you to add
image keyboard support, bottom
navigation, and other features for devices running API Level 25 or earlier.

For details on API Level 25 check out the API
diffs and the updated API
reference on the developer preview
site.

Get your apps ready for Android 7.1

Now is the time to optimize your apps to look their best on Android 7.1.1. To
get started, update to Android
Studio 2.2.2 and then download the API Level 25 platform, emulator system
images, and tools through the SDK Manager in Android Studio.

After installing the API Level 25 SDK, you can update your project’s
compileSdkVersion to 25 to build and test against the new APIs. If you’re doing
compatibility testing, we recommend updating your app’s targetSdkVersion to 25
to test your app with compatibility behaviors disabled. For details on how to
set up your app with the API Level 25 SDK, see Set
up the Preview.

If you’re adding app shortcuts or circular launcher icons to your app, you can
use Android Studio’s built-in Image Asset Studio to quickly help you create
icons of different sizes that meet the material
design guidelines. You can test your round icons on the Google APIs emulator
for API Level 25, which includes support for round icons and the new Google
Pixel Launcher.


Android Studio and the Google APIs emulator let you quickly create and test
your round icon assets.

If you’re adding image keyboard support, you can use the Messenger and Google
Keyboard apps included in the preview system images for testing as they include
support for this new API.

Scale your tests using Firebase Test Lab for Android

To help scale your testing, make sure to take advantage of Firebase
Test Lab for Android and run your tests in the cloud at no charge during the
preview period on all virtual devices including the Developer Preview 2 (API
25). You can use the automated crawler (Robo Test) to
test your app without having to write any test scripts, or you can upload your
own instrumentation (e.g. Espresso) tests. You can upload your tests here.

Publish your apps to alpha, beta or production channels in Google
Play

After you’ve finished final testing, you can publish your updates compiled
against, and optionally targeting, API 25 to Google Play. You can publish to
your alpha, beta,
or even production channels in the Google Play Developer Console. In this way,
push your app updates to users whose devices are running Android 7.1, such as
Pixel and Android Beta devices.

Get Developer Preview 2 on Your Eligible Device

If you have an eligible device that’s already enrolled in the Android Beta Program, the device will get
the Developer Preview 2 update over the coming week. No action is needed on your
part. If you aren’t yet enrolled in program, the easiest way to get started is
by visiting android.com/beta and opt-in
your eligible Android phone or tablet — you’ll soon receive this preview update
over-the-air. As always, you can also download and flash
this update manually.

As mentioned above, this Developer Preview update is available for Nexus 5X,
Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, and Pixel C devices.

We’re expecting to launch the final release of the Android 7.1.1 in just a few
weeks Starting in December, we’ll roll out Android 7.1.1 to the full lineup of
supported preview devices, as well as the recently launched Pixel and Pixel XL
devices. At that time, we’ll also push the sources to AOSP, so our device
manufacturer partners can bring this new platform update to consumers on their
devices.

Meanwhile, we continue to welcome your feedback in the Developer
Preview issue tracker, N
Preview Developer community, or Android Beta
community as we work towards the final consumer release in December!


Android Developers Blog

Aug 29

Android Developer Story: Le Monde increases subscriptions with Google Play Billing

Watch Edouard Andrieu, Director of Mobile, and Ahcene Amrouz, Product Manager
for Mobile, explain how La Matinale has a 6% higher subscription conversion on
Android than on other platforms thanks to tools like Google Play Billing.

Learn more how to add
an introductory price to your subscription, and get the
News Publisher Playbook to stay up-to-date with more features and best
practices to help you find success for your news apps on Google Play.

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Android Developers Blog

Aug 25

Updated Udacity Android course prepares students for the Associate Android Developer Certification

Posted by Jocelyn Becker, Senior Program Manager, Android Training

As one of our most popular Udacity courses, the Developing Android Apps
course was recently updated to ensure developers have the resources to build
high quality apps. This course, which has already helped more than half a
million developers learn to build Android apps, has been through the car wash
and come out sparkling clean and updated.

Google and Udacity have worked together to update the course to include the very
latest changes in Android and Android Studio, including how to use the new
Constraint Layout editor, and how to use Firebase Job Dispatcher. Learn best
practices for building Android apps using Android 7.0 (Nougat) while keeping
your apps backwards compatible in older versions, learning at your own pace in
your own time.

You sent us feedback that some of the lessons were a little difficult to get
through, so we’ve restructured the lessons and added smaller apps for you to
build as you progress through the course. So not only will you build the
Sunshine weather app as a complete, integrated application that spans the entire
course, but you’ll also create an app in each lesson to help you learn
individual concepts.

Build a To Do app and add new tasks as you learn how to build a ContentProvider.

This course brings back Android experts Dan Galpin and Reto Meier from Google, and Lyla Fujiwara from Udacity, and introduces new faces from Google and Udacity.


Start learning now at https://www.udacity.com/course/ud851.

Combined package for Developing Android Apps course and Associate
Android Developer Certification

This updated course teaches the skills that are tested by the Associate Android
Developer certification exam. Udacity is offering a package that combines the
updated Developing Android Apps course with a voucher for the Associate Android
Developer certification exam. If you pass this exam, you will earn the Associate
Android Developer Certification and show that you are competent and skilled in
tasks that an entry-level Android developer typically performs. Enroll in
Udacity’s Fast
Track to get prepared and take the Associate Android developer exam at: https://www.udacity.com/course/nd818.


Android Developers Blog

Aug 21

Streamlining the developer experience for instant games


Posted by Vlad Zavidovych, Software Engineer; Artem Yudin, Software Engineer

Google Play Instant enables people to experience your game or app natively without having to go through a full installation process. Removing the friction of installing is a great way to increase engagement, conversions, and lifetime value of your users.

Today, we’ve made it easier to build instant games and apps by removing the URL requirement. Previously, in order to publish an instant game you had to create a web destination for it. The website also had to be connected to the instant game through intent filters and digital asset links verification.

Now, it is no longer required to add URL-based intent filters to your instant game. People will be able to access the instant experience through a ‘Try Now’ button in the Play Store or Play Games apps, via deep link API, and in the future through the app ads.

While being particularly helpful for games which often don’t have a corresponding website, the new URL-less functionality is available to both game and app developers.

How to develop and publish an instant game without adding URL support

Game developers using Unity or the latest Cocos Creator can take advantage of URL-less instant games by simply leaving the URL fields blank in the setup process.

However, if you have your own game engine or have built your game from scratch in C++, check the AndroidManifest to make sure it has the following intent filter declaration:

<intent-filter>
   <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
   <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
</intent-filter>

Starting with Android Studio 3.2, you can create a new instant game, or convert your existing game, without associating a URL with it. In fact, this is now the default behavior. Here is a run through the process:

  1. First, make sure you’re running Android Studio 3.2 or newer by either updating or downloading it here. Make sure to install Instant Apps Development SDK 1.3.0 or higher from Android SDK Manager.
  2. Then download a sample instant app from GitHub. In Android Studio, click File → New → Import Project… and import the downloaded “urlless” sample.
  3. Lastly, after gradle tasks are finished, click the green “Run” button with “instantapp” configuration.

You should see an instant game on your attached device. Instant runtime found and launched the entry point activity in your game with the ACTION_MAIN and CATEGORY_LAUNCHER intent filter.

Once you are ready to publish the sample instant game:

  1. Give your sample game a unique applicationId in app/build.gradle file by replacing existing applicationId – we don’t want different applications with the same id.
  2. Generate signed APKs for both installable and instant version of our sample game.
    • In Android Studio, Build → Generate Signed Bundle / APK…
    • Choose APK for both “app” and “instantapp” modules.
  3. In the Play Console, create a new application, upload APK under “App Releases” tab, and then upload “instantapp-release.zip” under “Android Instant Apps” tab.
    • The installable app must be rolled out before the instant one.
  4. The rollout process may be familiar to most Android developers, but here’s a step-by-step guide in case you run into any issues.

Once you publish your instant game, people can access it via a ‘Try Now’ button in Play Store within 24 hours or sooner. You can also send traffic to your instant game using the deep link API:

market://details?id=MY.PACKAGE.NAME&launch=true&referrer=myreferrer

MY.PACKAGE.NAME refers to applicationId that you have replaced in app/build.gradle file.

What’s next?

With the launch of Android App Bundle we are excited to further simplify the developer experience for Google Play Instant. In the coming months we are making it possible to deliver your app’s or game’s dynamic features instantly from the same bundle as your installable app or game. Stay tuned!

Check out more information on Google Play Instant, or feel free to ask a question on Stack Overflow, or report an issue to our public tracker.

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