Sep 01

First Preview of Android N: Developer APIs & Tools

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Today we’re happy to announce a Developer Preview of the N release of Android! We’re doing something a little different this year by releasing the preview early… really early. By releasing a “work in progress” build earlier in development, we have more time to incorporate developer feedback. Also, the earlier preview allows us to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever. We’re looking forward to getting your feedback as you get your apps ready for N.

Here are a few APIs and features we want to highlight which are available as a part of the Android N Developer Preview today, with more to come as we continue developing the release:

Multi-window – A new manifest attribute called android:resizableActivity is available for apps targeting N and beyond. If this attribute is set to true, your activity can be launched in split-screen modes on phones and tablets. You can also specify your activity’s minimum allowable dimensions, preventing users from making the activity window smaller than that size. Lifecycle changes for multi-window are similar to switching from landscape to portrait mode: your activity can handle the configuration change itself, or it can allow the system to stop the activity and recreate it with the new dimensions. In addition, activities can also go into picture-in-picture mode on devices like TVs, and is a great feature for apps that play video; be sure to set android:supportsPictureInPicture to true to take advantage of this.

Direct reply notifications: The RemoteInput notification API, which was originally added for Android Wear, now works in N for phones and tablets. Using the RemoteInput API enables users to reply to incoming message notifications quickly and conveniently, without leaving the notification shade. Learn more here.

Bundled notifications – With N, you can use the Notification.Builder.setGroup() method to group notifications from the same app together – for example individual messages from a messaging app. Grouped notifications can be expanded into individual notifications by using a two-finger gesture or tapping the new expansion button. Learn more here.

Efficiency – We launched Doze in Marshmallow to save battery when your device is stationary. In N, Doze additionally saves battery whenever the screen turns off. If you’ve already adapted your app for Doze, e.g. by using the GCM high priority message for urgent notifications, then you’re set; if not, here’s how to get started. Also, we’re continuing to invest in Project Svelte, an effort to reduce the memory needs of Android so that it can run on a much broader range of devices, in N by making background work more efficient {link to documentation}. If you use JobScheduler for background work, you’re already on the right track. If not, N is a good time to make that switch. And to help you out, we’re making JobScheduler even more capable, so now you can use {@link android.app.job.JobScheduler} to react to things like changes to content providers.

Improved Java 8 language support – We’re excited to bring Java 8 language features to Android. With Android’s Jack compiler, you can now use many popular Java 8 language features, including lambdas and more, on Android versions as far back as Gingerbread. The new features help reduce boilerplate code. For example, lambdas can replace anonymous inner classes when providing event listeners. Some Java 8 language features –like default and static methods, streams, and functional interfaces — are also now available on N and above. With Jack, we’re looking forward to tracking the Java language more closely while maintaining backward compatibility.

Get started

The N Developer Preview includes an updated SDK with system images for testing on the official Android emulator and on Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C devices (and to help test out these features on a tablet, developers can get a $ 150 discount on Pixel C).

This initial preview release is for developers only and not intended for daily use or consumer use. We plan to update the N Developer Preview system images often during the Developer Preview program. As we get closer to a final product, we’ll be inviting consumers to try it out as well.

We are also making it easier for you to try out N on your development devices with the new Android Beta Program. Starting later today, you’ll be able to update your Android devices to the Developer Preview of N and receive ongoing updates via OTA. Check back later today to learn more!

Click here for more details on getting started with the N Developer Preview and let us know what you think — the sooner we hear from you, the more of your feedback we can integrate.


Android Developers Blog

Jun 22

Get your app featured on the first smartphone with Project Tango from Lenovo

Originally posted on Google Developers Blog

Posted by Johnny Lee, Technical Project Lead, Project Tango

Today, at CES, Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer-ready smartphone with Project Tango. By adding a few extra sensors and some computer vision software, Project Tango transforms your smartphone into a magic lens that lets you place digital information on your physical world.

*Renderings only. Not the official Lenovo device.

To support the continued growth of the ecosystem, we’re also inviting developers from around the world to submit their ideas for gaming and utility apps created using Project Tango. We’ll pick the best ideas and provide funding and engineering support to help bring them to life, as part of the app incubator. Even better, the finished apps will be featured on Lenovo’s upcoming device. The submission period closes on February 15, 2016.

All you need to do is tell us about your idea and explain how Project Tango technologies will enable new experiences. Additionally, we’ll ask you to include the following materials:

  • Project schedule including milestones for development –– we’ll reach out to the selected developers by March 15, 2016
  • Visual mockups of your idea including concept art
  • Smartphone app screenshots and videos, such as captured app footage
  • Appropriate narrative including storyboards, etc.
  • Breakdown of your team and its members
  • One pager introducing your past app portfolio and your company profile

For some inspiration, Lowe’s is developing an app where you can point your Project Tango-enabled smartphone at your kitchen to see where a new refrigerator or dishwasher might fit virtually.

Elsewhere, developer Schell Games let’s you play virtual Jenga on any surface with friends. But this time, there is no cleanup involved when the blocks topple over.

There are also some amazing featured apps for Project Tango on Google Play. You can pick up your own Project Tango Tablet Development Kit here to brainstorm new fun and immersive experiences that use the space around you. Apply now!


Android Developers Blog

Mar 19

Android Developer Story: RogerVoice takes advantage of beta testing to launch its app on Android first

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Google Play team

RogerVoice is an app which enables people who are hearing impaired to make phone calls through voice recognition and text captions. Founded by Olivier Jeannel, who grew up with more than 80 percent hearing loss, the company successfully raised $ 35,000 through Kickstarter to get off the ground. Today the team publicly released the app on the Android platform first.

The team behind RogerVoice talk about how material design and beta testing helped them create an interface which is accessible and intuitive to navigate for users.


Learn more about how RogerVoice built its app with the help of Google Play features:

  • Material Design: How Material Design helps you create beautiful, engaging apps.
  • Beta testing: Learn more about using beta testing on Google Play for your app.
  • Developer Console: Make the most of the Google Play Developer Console to publish your apps and grow and engage your user base.


Android Developers Blog

Sep 13

M Developer Preview Gets Its First Update

By Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

Earlier this summer at Google I/O, we launched the M Developer Preview. The developer preview is an early access opportunity to test and optimize your apps for the next release of Android. Today we are releasing an update to the M Developer Preview that includes fixes and updates based on your feedback.

What’s New

The Developer Preview 2 update includes the up to date M release platform code, and near-final APIs for you to validate your app. To provide more testing support, we have refined the Nexus system images and emulator system images with the Android platform updates. In addition to platform updates, the system images also include Google Play services 7.6.

How to Get the Update

If you are already running the M developer preview launched at Google I/O (Build #MPZ44Q) on a supported Nexus device (e.g. Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, or Nexus Player), the update can be delivered to your device via an over-the-air update. We expect all devices currently on the developer preview to receive the update over the next few days. We also posted a new version of the preview system image on the developer preview website. (To view the preview website in a language other than English, select the appropriate language from the language selector at the bottom of the page).

For those developers using the emulator, you can update your M preview system images via the SDK Manager in Android Studio.

What are the Major Changes?

We have addressed many issues brought up during the first phase of the developer preview. Check out the release notes for a detailed list of changes in this update. Some of the highlights to the update include:

  • Android Platform Changes:
    • Modifications to platform permissions including external storage, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth location, and changes to contacts/identity permissions. Device connections through the USB port are now set to charge-only mode by default. To access the device, users must explicitly grant permission.
  • API Changes:
    • Updated Bluetooth Stylus APIs with updated callback events. View.onContextClickListener and GestureDetector.OnContextClickListener to listen for stylus button presses and to perform secondary actions.
    • Updated Media API with new callback InputDevice.hasMicrophone() method for determining if a device microphone exists.
  • Fixes for developer-reported issues:
    • TextInputLayout doesn’t set hint for embedded EditText. (fixed issue)
    • Camera Permission issue with Legacy Apps (fixed issue)

Next Steps

With the final M release still on schedule for this fall, the platform features and API are near final. However, there is still time to report critical issues as you continue to test and validate your apps on the M Developer Preview. You can also visit our M Developer Preview community to share ideas and information.

Thanks again for your support. We look forward to seeing your apps that are ready to go for the M release this fall.

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