Android Studio Reaches Release Candidate Status
Android app developers have a few options when comes to Android IDEs. One of the most commonly used is the Android Studio. The IntelliJ Studio has been in active development for some time now. Android Studio is nearing its first stable release. As such, the first Release Candidate has been submitted to the Canary channel.
The release can still be described as not fully functional. There are a few bugs that still need to be ironed out, but the IDE will get its stable release shortly. In addition to some bug fixes, Android Studio has a new logo that is now available on the splash screen. The release candidate comes with Maven repository bundled up, so there is no need to be online in order to create a project.
Android Studio is one of the most capable IDEs available for Android. If you haven’t had a chance to test this suite yet, this is a great time to give it a shot. All you need to do is change your update channel to Canary to get in on the release candidate status.
Android Studio Hits Beta; Supports Android L, Wear, and TV
We’ve talked about Android Studio quite a bit in recent months. This relatively new IDE was first unveiled at last year’s I/O as a more streamlined way to create Android apps versus using Eclipse-based solutions thanks to key improvements like live code rendering across multiple layouts and more. In the time since, Android Studio has matured very quickly. And for many users, it has become their go-to Android IDE.
We last talked about Android Studio back when it reached version 0.6.1 a few weeks ago. For those who don’t remember, this update brought quite a few updates including a revamped New Project Wizard, a new SDK Level dialog to help you better target your application, and various bugfixes. Now, Android Studio 0.8.0 has been released, and in doing so, it exits Alpha and enters Beta.
Although a formal changelog has not yet been posted, Android Studio 0.8.0 Beta brings quite a lot to the table. Namely, version 0.8.0 brings support for Material Design and Android L Developer Preview. In addition, 0.8.0 also allows you to create apps specifically geared towards Android Wear and Android TV. As stated on the Android Developers blog post:
To help you develop your apps for the upcoming Android version and for new Android device types, we’re also happy to announce Android Studio Beta. Android Studio Beta helps you develop apps by enabling you to:
- Incorporate the new material design and interaction elements of the L Developer Preview SDK
- Quickly create and build apps with a new app wizard and layout editor support for Android Wear and Android TV
Building on top of the build variants and flavors features we introduced last year, the Android Studio build system now supports creating multiple apks, such as for devices like Android Wear. You can try out all the new features with the L Developer Preview by downloading the Android Studio Beta today.
You can learn more by heading over to the Android Developers blog, and you can install the latest version yourself by heading over to the project download page. Then when you’re done, head over to our app development forums to share your development experiences with Android Studio and other development tools. Also, be sure to check out all of our past Android Studio coverage to learn more about its history and to find compatible tools and guides.
[Many thanks to yourarjunjadeja for the heads up!]
Android Studio 0.6.1 Brings SDK Level Dialog, Improved New Project Wizard, and More
Android Studio was first unveiled at last year’s Google I/O conference. For the unaware, this IDE was created to streamline Android app development by bringing several key improvements over existing Eclipse-based solutions such as live code rendering across multiple layouts and much more. Ever since then, the app has received quite a few, rather significant updates. And now, it has received yet another significant addition.
Just under a week ago, we talked about two updates to Android Studio, which brought several highly requested features such as improved console messages during builds. Now, version 0.6.1 has been released, and it brings much more than you’d expect from an x.x.1 revisions.
The first thing you’ll likely notice with this new version is a revamped New Project Wizard, which can be seen in the screenshot to your right. In the New Project Wizard, you’ll also see a new minSdkVersion dialog, which helps you choose which API level you should target. This dialog displays API level, Android version number and name, cumulative distribution, and various key APIs present. In addition to the new features, this build also brings a few new lint checks, as well as many bugfixes.
You can learn more by heading over to the Android Studio 0.6.1 release notes. Then when you’re done, head over to ourapp development forums to share your development experiences with Android Studio and other development tools. Also, be sure to check out all of our past Android Studio coverage to learn more about its history and to find compatible tools and guides.
Android Studio 0.6.0 Released
The world was first introduced to Android Studio back in May of last year at Google I/O 2013. Based on Jetbrains IntelliJ, the Android Studio IDE was created to streamline the process of developing Android applications by offering features such as live code rendering across multiple device types, as well as the ability to easily add any Android API into your code immediately.
Since its release, we’ve seen Android Studio mature into a genuinely useful tool for app developers. The last time we talked about it was back in August of last year with its update to version 0.2.4. This version ushered in various improvements such as the ability to jump between a layout and its associated code, as well as the ability to create missing onClick handlers. Android Studio has received quite a few updates since then, and as such, it is now at version 0.6.0.
Android Studio 0.6.0, which was just released yesterday evening, is primarily a bugfix release. However, version 0.5.9, which was released just under one week ago, brought with it many significant improvements. Chief among the improvements are ProGuard editor code syntax completion and highlighting, a tweaked project structure editor, improved console messages during builds, and a new Gradle lint check.
You can learn more about all of Android Studio’s recently incorporated features and bugfixes by viewing the release notes for 0.6.0 and 0.5.9. Don’t forget to head over to our app development forums to share your tips and tricks and ask for support with Android Studio and any other development tools. Also, be sure to check out all of our past Android Studio coverage to learn more about its history and to find compatible tools and guides.
Migrate from Eclipse to Android Studio
Recently, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the Android Studio IDE. Launched originally at Google I/O 2013, Android Studio aims at replacing Eclipse + Android Developer Tools, and bringing a few niceties such as live code rendering for different layouts.
As with any big change, some developers have experienced a few growing pains ranging from differences in handling external libraries to pains during initial setup. Aside from problems, just learning a new way of doing things can also be a hassle. Luckily, XDA Forum Member JoshieGeek has a guide in our App Development Forums geared at helping developers make the move to Android Studio.
The guide begins by giving a brief overview of the IDE, as well as pros and cons when making the switch. Then, JoshieGeek covers installation across three platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), as well as creating your first project. Next, he covers the differences in exploring your project when compared to Eclipse, as well as how to view your app in different layouts. Finally, the guide covers how to generate a signed APK.
How to Use Google Play Services Library with Android Studio
We’ve written about Android Studio a few times in the past. Google’s would-be replacement for Android Developer Tools first made its appearance at Google I/O 2013. Based on Jetbrains IntelliJ, Android Studio offers many benefits over the older ADT such as live code rendering to see how your app will look across a variety of devices and layouts, as well as the ability to easily add any Android API into your app’s code. However, the transition hasn’t been without its share of growing pains.
One such issue that has popped up isn’t an issue per se, but rather a difference in how things are done. Since Android Studio is based on Gradle-build, the way it references external libraries (such as Google Play Services) is a bit different. Luckily, XDA Forum Member JoshieGeek has already gone through the process of learning how this is done, and has shared it in our App Development forums.
If you’re a developer looking to make the switch to Android Studio but you’ve either held back due differences in external library support or have just been waiting for the growing pains to subside, JoshieGeek’s guide will likely be of use. Make your way over to the tutorial thread to get started.
Android Studio 0.2.4 Released, Improvements for App Devs
Back at Google I/O 2013, Android Studio was released in beta form. The tool, which was released with the help of Jetbrains and based on IntelliJ, featured various “killer features” such as live rendering of your code and the ability to easily add any API into your code.
Since then, we’ve talked a little about it, including troubleshooting tips for setup and a graphing library compatible with the tool. Now, version 0.2.4 has been released, bringing with it several key improvements, including:
- XML attribute documentation
- The ability to jump between a layout and its associated activity
- The ability to create missing onClick handlers
- Improvements to the Gradle synchronization
- Improvements to layout editing and various bugfixes
To get your Android Studio updated, you simply have to restart it or manually check for updates (Help -> Check for Updates). To learn more about exactly what was changed, head over to the Android Tools Project Site.
Having a Hard Time Setting up Android Studio?
By now, most developers have heard of Android Studio, Google’s new replacement for Android Developer Tools based on IntelliJ IDEA that was launched back at Google I/O this past year. While many who have used Android Studio now swear by its ease of use, especially when targeting multiple screen sizes, device types, and resolutions, a sizeable number of users have faced difficulty in using the app.
The difficulties that users have experienced are not unexpected, however. After all, Android Studio is not a finished product. Rather, much in the way of Google’s many other semi-perpetually “beta” products, it’s still in its early access preview. Because of the difficulties he faced when trying to get Studio running for the first time, XDA Forum Member lolrenx decided to create a thread detailing his experiences with the hopes of helping future developers attempting to install Studio. Since then, others have joined in on the fun and stated their issues, as well as what they have done to overcome them (if applicable).
So whether you want to see if the issues you’re currently battling have been solved by someone else previously or if you just want to share stories of the developer daemons you’ve encountered, head over to the original thread.
Google Set To End Support For ADT In Eclipse
In a move that was predicted since Android Studio was launched back in 2013, Google has announced that they will be ending official support for Eclipse at the end of this year. This specifically includes the Eclipse ADT (Android Developer Tools) plugin and the Android Ant build system.
Over the past few years, our team has focused on improving the development experience for building Android apps with Android Studio. Since the launch of Android Studio, we have been impressed with the excitement and positive feedback. As the official Android IDE, Android Studio gives you access to a powerful and comprehensive suite of tools to evolve your app across Android platforms, whether it’s on the phone, wrist, car or TV.
Back when it was released, Android Studio had drawn mixed reactions. You either loved the new features and polish that it promised to bring along, or you still preferred to remain with Eclipse and the extensive troubleshooting documentation that it had accumulated from the community. However, Google has indeed delivered on its promise of providing a robust development platform for app developers, with Android Studio having matured into a stable and reliable tool. What’s more, Google will be migrating the rest of the standalone performance tools like DDMS and Trace Viewer to Android Studio, along with building additional support for the Android NDK, so little reason will remain to still continue on using Eclipse over Android Studio.
If you are an Eclipse die-hard, you can still continue on using it even after support ends.
Android tools inside Eclipse will continue to live on in the open source community via the Eclipse Foundation. Check out the latest Eclipse Andmore project if you are interested in contributing or learning more.
As a suggestion, it is better to make the switch to Android Studio as soon as you can.
XDA Recap: This Week In Android (May 31 – Jun 6)
Another week, another recap. The Sunday tradition marches on this week with a fresh no-nonsense look at big-picture news. Here in the digital XDA writers’ room, we spend our days pouring over an average of 2,500 news items and forum threads every 24 hours. Only the most timely and interesting bits survive the editing process, but the portal’s front page still sees weekly counts in excess of 100 posts. This is a glut of content to absorb, especially if following the news cycle isn’t your full-time job. However, the tech world is vast, and the information must flow. With this in mind, let’s dive into a slimmed-down version of this week’s news that’s the perfect size for easy Sunday afternoon consumption!
Notable Links & Announcements
- Last week’s Google I/O roundup, or click here for the bookmark-able archive page of our regularly scheduled news recaps.
- This week’s app roundup, or click here for the bookmark-able archive page.
- XDA articles – original reporting and in-depth analysis. This week, we take a look back at the Ouya to understand the flop, then return to the present with an overview of Material Design changes this year, a first look at Android M’s theming framework called the PRO Theme Engine, and a review of the OnePlus Bamboo Styleswap Cover. On the more editorial side, Mario Serrafero argues that I/O didn’t go far enough to safeguard Android Wear’s future, and opens the floor up to debate on Google’s (lack of) AOSP focus.
For The Community, By The Community
- The Path of Curiosity (Voices of XDA) – Start your journey into the depths of the XDA Forums with this beginner-focused primer that’s an excellent read for all community members. Voices of XDA is an ongoing series of features from forum members like you! Find out how to bring your voice to the portal’s front page here.
- Forum Member Opinions on I/O and Android M (XDA News) – I/O brought a little something for everyone, but reactions are often colored by our areas of expertise. This feature brings a sampling of reactions from around the forums into the spotlight.
- Extreme Battery Life Guide (XDA Forums) – This week’s featured forum thread guides you through improving battery life on any device, and is well worth the read.
- AMA with Android Developer MohammedAG (Reddit) – Noted Xposed developer MohammedAG answered dozens of questions about his apps and coding process over on Reddit. Join the conversation!
This Week in XDA TV
XDA covers more than just news, and nowhere is that more apparent than Jordan Keyes’ weekly posts to XDA TV. Here’s the latest round of ROM updates and phone tweaks mixed with a dose of current events; enjoy!
Full annotations for this video can be found in the main XDA TV post from Friday. For more from the TV team, Monday’s recap of last weekend highlights noteworthy community announcements that didn’t make it to the Friday feature. However, if you’re already two deep into these YouTube videos, you might as well settle in with some popcorn and fire up the complete archive (found here).
For all the news and only the news, read on.
Lollipop Marches Onward & Upward
Sony announced this week that 21 of their devices will make the jump to 5.1 during July, including those on the previously announced 5.0 roll out list being pushed to the likes of T-Mobile’s Z3 as we speak.
Samsung’s 5.1.1 update is still a little ways off as well, but a preview firmware for the S6 and S6 Edge has surfaced at SamMobile, complete with multi user support and new camera modes – video and writeup available here. In related news, the same update is expected to land on the Note 4 in late July.
Motorola’s smartwatch is conspicuously absent from the update list this time around, even though 5.1.1 was promised to the Moto 360 more than a month ago. However, a recent tweet points to performance issues as the root cause of the delay, and hopefully the end product will be worth the wait.
For the most up-to-the-minute news about these and all other devices, be sure to subscribe to the relevant general thread within the XDA Forums proper.
Modular Watches & Android Cars
Zenwatch 2 – the latest square Asus watch leans heavily on style, and comes in two sizes to fit a range of wrist types. Both models feature 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3, AMOLED displays, and Qualcomm chips, but very little is known about the internal specs. Check out our feature post for pictures, videos, and the complete rundown.
Tag Hauer Carrera Wearable 01 – Swiss watchmaker Tag Hauer’s upcoming Wear watch is set to be available in October or November for an astounding $1,400. For that price, CEO Jean-Claude Biver plans to fashion a truly upgradable watch from his company’s partnership with Intel, though what that means is anyone’s guess. Read up on the full story here.
Blocks Modular Smartwatch – Speaking of upgradability, the Blocks smartwatch adds components like batteries, sensors, and screens into the watch band links themselves, treating the device like an Ara prototype you can strap to your wrist. This Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 powered watch will be available in seven to eight months, but you can browse our early analysis here.
Two Indian Cars Gain Android Auto – Mahindra and Mahindra, the Indian automotive manufacturer behind the Mahindra XUV500 and Scorpio, has signed on to the Open Automotive Alliance and announced its intentions to include Android Auto. Read more.
Google Privacy & Security Hub – take a privacy checkup, change which apps can access your account, and alter your ad preferences from a newly unified account page. Google’s revamped settings hub places familiar tools in a more manageable context, and attempts to allay concerns about data collection; learn more!
Samsung Galaxy S6 Teardown – Have you ever wondered what’s under the hood of a Samsung flagship? Find out in this newly released teardown on SamsungTomorrow.
LG G4 International Gains TWRP – Minor announcement that is what it says on the tin. Learn more!
ARM and Samsung Sign Agreement for Mali GPUs – Thanks to a new partnership, Mali GPUs from ARM will make their way into Samsung phones at all price points. Learn more!
Windows 10 – Microsoft’s newest OS is set to release on July 29 for the low low price of “free.” Retail copies will run from $119 to $199 for the desktop and tablet versions, but upgrades from Windows 7 or 8.1 within the first year will come at no charge. Once on Windows 10, reinstalling the OS and receiving updates will remain free for the lifetime of your hardware, though Microsoft has yet to nail down the meaning of that language. The operating system itself offers a number of multi-tasking improvements such as virtual desktops, along with more intuitive switching between tablet and desktop modes, and Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant. Expect deeper coverage to follow, but here’s a quick peek at what Windows has to offer.
New & Upcoming Device Launches
Orderes Open Now
Elephone S2 and S2 Plus – The Chinese bit-player Elephone is back with two devices now up for pre-order. Both the Elephone S2 and S2 Plus sandwich 2 GB of RAM and a MediaTek 6735 processor between two sleek panes of glass, and feature Android 5.1 out of the box. You can pre-order the 5” HD version for $159.99 direct from elephone.hk, or the 5.5” model from the same site coming in at reasonable $10 markup.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Emerald Green) – Shoppers in India finally have the option to buy Samsung’s latest flagship in Emerald Green for Rs. 58,900. Only the 32GB model comes in this trim color so far, and the Blue Topaz version is still MIA, but expanded purchasing options are always welcome. Buy now, if this strikes your fancy.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active – AT&T is now hinting at the release of a new S6 variant that earlier popped up in support pages with a 5.1” 2560 x 1440 super AMOLED display and a 2550 mAh battery. Unfortunately, very few specifics are known about the device so far, aside from the usual expectations of a rugged frame and comparable specs to its namesake S6. Read our full coverage here for more.
HTC “Hero Product” – October could see another HTC flagship launch in a bid to make up for the tepid response to this year’s M9. No specifics were given alongside this revelation during the annual general meeting, but HTC CEO and Chairwoman Cher Wang appears confident that the new strategy will put the company back on track. Learn more!
Market Share Stats
App development runs on numbers, and the latest batch of usage statistics is now up for grabs.
Google’s worldwide metrics on phones pinging the Play Store show that Lollipop has now reached 12.4% of all Android phones – up 2.7% over last month. KitKat and Jelly Bean unsurprisingly still take the lion’s share at 39.2% and 37.4% respectively, but it’s nice to see incremental losses across the board for older versions. Screen size and density breakdowns remain largely unchanged, and the OpenGL standards in use likewise saw little improvement – normal HDPI and XHDPI phones with OpenGL 2.0 and 3.0 are the norm. Read the full story here!
Comscore also released April numbers, but with a focus on OEMs in the US market over the last quarter. Android maintains its slim majority lead over iOS by a nine point margin, down slightly over last quarter’s nearly twelve percent lead in the States. While Apple is the sole purveyor of iOS and thus controls 43% of the device market, the rest is split among Samsung (28.6%), LG (8.4%), Motorola (4.9%), and HTC (3.7%), most of which comes from Android. You can check out the full story here, including a breakdown of the top 15 apps that shows Snapchat and Pinterest each installed on one in five phones.
Android Nanodegree Q&A
Knowing the lay of the land is one thing, but breaking into the world of Android app development is another. In an effort to help out, Google launched a new development course at I/O through a partnership with Udacity, and now the team is back with a 45 minute Q&A session on YouTube to explain the course basics. Check it out here if you’re still on the fence about dedicating the next 9-12 months and up to $2,400 to the program.
What’s New in Development Tools
Are you still working through the backlog of recorded talks from I/O? The folks over at RoboVM have compiled a handy written summary of the dev tools section to speed up the process. Bone up on the improved Gradle plugin and build system, enhanced emulation suite, and host of new additions to Android Studio including C/C++ support, profiling tools, annotations, and more over on the full site.
Android Studio 1.3 Preview 1
Speaking of development tools, Android Studio has reached version 1.3 in the canary channel. Among the new features are SDK update notifications, an allocation tracker, additional code inspections, live code templates, and the usual round of bug fixes. Read more and grab your copy here.
Chrome for Android Adds App Install Prompts
Chrome has allowed users to create website shortcuts on their homescreens for a while, but version 44 now brings similar functionality to websites with native Android app counterparts. Assuming a few site conditions are met, the familiar “add to Home screen” menu item can now walk users through the app installation process, complete with permissions screens and opening prompts. News of this feature first broke last month, but somehow it slipped through the cracks. To find out how to upgrade your own site, check out the Google Developers Blog here.
That is it for this week, but we will be back next Sunday for another round of recaps. After all, the news never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your own rest to stay informed!
XDA Forum Member Opinions on I/O and Android M
Google’s I/O event this year brought many announcements that affected us as developers. To better understand just how our community felt about the new products and services, we reached out to some of you in the forums. We received many great responses; here are just a few of the things you felt were important.
“There’s going to be a huge fuss over the smaller but more specific changes to Android, and they’re going to grab the media limelight for the most part. For example, I can already picture the myriad of stories covering disappointing results from things like Doze, or a million apps ungracefully crashing from declined permissions, but as usual, most of these will affect the ‘power users’. What’s actually caught my attention lies more in line with Google’s wider plan.
Firstly, Google (aiming for ‘The Next Billion’ I’m assuming) looks to be focusing on continuing to make things easier for new developers. The new features and changes to Android Studio are pretty huge, and elements like the reduced build times and scalable vector images go a long way to ensure the whole developing process looks far less imposing. Material Design in itself provides a lot of answers to the eternal back and forth question for many developers, namely, how to make a clear but functional UI, but adding to that this year with the Android Design Support Library is the icing on the cake. Want to add a new button? Here’s one, use this. Now everyone can get used to what this icon does, regardless of the app the you’re in. That’s really important for making Android look less convoluted to all its users, and hopefully the addition of more support annotations will help with the reliability of each app and the speed at which they can be tested and ultimately brought to market. Again, for the new developer, this is brilliant.
Secondly, and this is slightly more implied, to me it looks as if Google is slowly adding more features to AOSP that previously you would have only seen in OEM-skinned UI’s. Besides having almost admitted as much, this could be a tactical move rather than a redundant competitiveness for Nexus users. If more of these features are already built into ‘Vanilla’ Android, then the companies that want to add their own flavor on top of the operating system don’t have to spend as much time (and money) developing them themselves, and that means faster updates. Timely software updates have been a very vocal complaint with Android almost since it’s inception, and if this feature-rich AOSP direction continues, combined with the separation and rapid update schedule of Google Play Services, Google could really be on to something.
Now, I’m not foretelling the death of third-party Android builds; manufacturers will always want to add more features, their own style, and fundamentally attempt to differentiate themselves from their rivals, and that’s part of what makes Android so great. After all, we may not have ever had an (admittedly basic and potentially buggy) implementation of multi-window functionality without the efforts of Samsung, LG et al, but in my mind, anything that can take some of the feature development onus away from said manufacturers is beneficial to everyone.”
“The truth is I was expecting the event to be bigger and more important to the world of android. I’d love if a new nexus 5 was announced this summer. My favourite announcement was the “doze mode”, even if most people didn’t seem to like it. Smartphones these days have great performance, camera, design etc, but the only thing that is maybe getting even worse is the battery, take a look at the S6 for example. So, if doze is gonna make battery better, I like it.
My only concern for Android M, is that Android is becoming less clean. It is now more like a custom rom, this is NOT necessarily a bad thing. What is bad is that manufacturers are going to take that new and “heavier” stock android and add more and more features that will make it run slower. Some of those features may also be the same as stock Android’s so we’ll basically get double all the features or apps. (Android pay-samsung pay, two browsers and other apps, and many battery saving modes etc).”
“App permissions: As a user this is a welcomed change as I get to choose what I want to share and my data is finally under my control. As a developer I am worried will the new feature keep bugging the user (if he selected “no”) for that one little network connectivity permission so that I can display my ads for revenue in my file manager app, will it cut in on my ads revenue? (turning down the network permission could be taken out)
Photos (purely a user’s POV): unlimited storage up to 16mp? Sure they compress the image, but this is ok as long as there won’t be any perceivable change in quality of the image. The ability to get a link to photos will be extensively used by all, as this makes it incredibly simple to share the selected album.
NDK support in android studio (a dev’s POV): finally! this is long overdue, sure Android depends a lot on java, but games are still done better using the old native languages (c++). Eclipse has been missing a lot of things from android studio (sure plugins help but they can only do so much) it will be really interesting to see how NDK will evolve with the studio.”
“Personally, I feel that they have good intentions with the new features that Android M has to offer. Google Photos was separated from Google+ FINALLY! It’s also very user-friendly and easier to use two accounts. The battery saving technique they have come up with is actually rather good. I saw folks complaining that they need to focus on Screen ON Time instead of Screen OFF Time. To me, better SOFFT allows for better SONT.
Users voiced their concerns on LP and it seems as though the team listened. Did they listen to everything? Probably not, but what M has to offer is a good start so far. People however have a lot of concerns when it comes to the new features they have decided to put into M. For me personally, my only concern is with the Automatic Backup feature! User id and password information is sent to Google in plain text format which can be intercepted and there goes your Google account. So far I haven’t seen any secure way mentioned for the data being backed up. I don’t mind basic settings being saved on a server such as XDA Premium App: Dark Mode, notification settings; just to name a few examples. More sensitive data however such as login info, personal notes(Memo app, note app) etc, should stay on the device. I understand how some may find this feature useful in a day-to-day world where people are too busy to save everything they need on an SD Card or their own personal cloud system. However for the majority of us deeper Android users, this can be a nightmare. Now I know a lot of people are going to say that you can just turn it off. Well you can, but from what we saw from the I/O, it’s on automatically and that is very dangerous especially if you’re using an OEM device that receives an OTA. Upon reboot after M update is installed, is my data going to begin backup without me telling it to? That’s what it appears like.
This reminds me of one of the things I hate the most when it comes to Google Play Store; Automatic Updates when connected to Wifi. I flash custom Roms a lot on my device; A LOT and yes I need help. When setting up a new Rom, I like to bring my configuration of apps from the previous set up because I don’t want to go through the trouble of selecting each app to install again. Yes there is Titanium Backup but that has its slew of issues when switching Roms; not knocking the app, it’s great, but it’s not for me. So after I put in my information and I’m brought to the launcher home screen, Play Store goes to work and installs the apps that I had on my list. It also automatically adds apps needing to be updated on the list. This can be a pain if you’re OCD about BLOAT and happen to be trying out a custom OEM Rom that was not debloated to your liking.”
“Since we started to work smart devices into our lives, the one constant we’ve had is a bad to mediocre battery life. Long gone are the days when a charge could last you a week of moderate to heavy use from our old indestructible Nokias. The two features that most hold my interest are the granular app permissions control and the Doze mode.
The first one we’ve all been waiting for since AppOps was “leaked”, and is also the one thing iOS has been ahead of Android for a while. This way we can keep unruly apps under control (looking at you, Facebook!) without a need for root, which may not affect us here in XDA, but not everyone can get root on every device, so this is great news.
And Doze, which is basically the Stamina mode many OEMs, namely Sony, have in their devices. If this one can manage to wrangle Google Play Services, which I’ve found to be the biggest offenders in the battery department, I think M could be a great OS.”
“The things that really peaked my interest is all the back-end stuff in regards to Android M, especially when it comes to performance and battery life. Doze is a feature I’m really excited about because at times some apps can go rogue due to poor coding both for that particular device or in general. Google finding a way to save battery life even further without totally shutting down major services during standby/sleep is a great achievement by itself.
The ability to manage your permissions is something I think many people have been waiting for including myself. Some people like it for security purposes but my reason again is that it provides users with a way to deal with wakelock problems. Many apps have wakelock issues that can significantly effect battery life and having the power to effectively turn off specific permissions within an app can possibly help rectify any of these problems.
These two features should help users get more out of their devices while maintaining the great user experience that Android M will provide.”
“Project ARA progress was my favourite announcement because I strongly believe that modular computing (not only mobile) will be the future and this is the first big and real step in this direction. I was proposing this to my OEM-friends in Shenzhen for around.the last 5 years whilst in the mean time I can see it’s worked on several fronts from different angles of attack. The Nexpaq would be my favourite example while it even has the potential to prevail over ARA because of it’s wider focus.
Doze seems to be quite a hit as well as multi-window, about time I’d say. This is almost as exciting as the choice between dark and light interface and the fact that external SD cards are finally getting out of the corner is just about good style. I have no idea what made the so big, they just make up additional and unnecessary hassle to their users.
I’m indeed concerned about letting Google backup my data “automatically” with no idea as to where, for how long and who will have access. Even though I can choose freely, I prefer to transfer app data via OTG USB-Stick over cloud backups, not even talking about the fact that they can take forever (chrome backup haha) I shall certainly stick with offline backups which I later can copy to my computer for safety.”
“Android M: While it didn´t get everyone excited, it got me, sure it won’t bring a lot of new things or new UI elements, however android M seems to be marking a point in the history of android, it finally seems that Android is getting mature, it’s finally a system made with every part in mind, the “core” with all Android’s customizability and power, the UI and how the System interacts with the user (and Vice-versa), with focus on features to make android even more powerful, without being less attractive for new users.
App Permissions: FINALLY, We can’t deny android didn’t really handle permissions well before, sure in a security point of view it was working, however the interaction between how it handles them was non-existent. If an app didn’t have a permission for what it was trying to do, it would just crash, the user itself would not even know. As a developer you would need to read the logcats to see what happened, it was a mess for the user, you either had the app and you let it use all the permissions it wanted, or you didn’t install it. Finally this is over, however I still feel sad at the fact it won’t work with apps targeted for earlier versions than M. It’s still hard to find versions targeting L or even KK (most apps are JB, with features via app compat, and I know the difference between min sdk and target sdk).
Doze and per app hibernating: Useless on phones and to be honest it’s not more than just a hacky fix. The system should have better integration with apps, it’s sad but the more apps you have the more sluggish your system will run. This isn’t something we see on iOS and WP. I’m sorry but once you need to make a new service to make a custom keyboard, something just seems wrong.
Cardboard: Good idea, however since I live in Brazil I will not see anything from it, for me this is just an experiment, I believe in the future google will make another VR project based on cardboard. Which would explain why they have not mass marketed it.
Project ARA: Oh this one, this should have been on the keynote alongside android M, the demo was good and bad at same time. I personally have a lot to say, ARA will fail even counting the fact that google will sell it, most of people who will buy are techies and such some months later it’s going be doomed. The project however, will go on. I don’t know but a lot of things from the small to the bigger just felt wrong on that demo, it seems that it is my paranoia but:
- The pieces were added in such a particular order.
- He said “applications processor” instead of SOC (and I bet he knows the difference), which lead me to think that there is a co-processor handling all the communication inside the main frame.
- How it will handle other SOC (remember, the SOC controls everything, not just CPU/GPU, it goes from display to usb port to the bootloaders).
- Why didn’t they made the display also detachable? they could have made a frame with just the base chips,a big nand (8gb) JUST for the system and some low level bootloaders (like a bios in a pc), on it you could attach what you wanted, and with 8gb just for the system, they could have made a build of android with assets for all densities, etc.
- How are the antennas being handled? Another chip inside the main display frame? If so how again, will it handle other processors, camera, etc.
- Why it was running launcher2? AOSP by default builds launcher 3 since KK, launcher 2 we only see in phones upgraded from JB to KK or L.
However the demo at least showed us that ARA was actually a thing and it was somewhat working, even being a “safe” environment.
I/O overall: It seemed more organized than last years however I didn’t like it that much, it didn’t bring much. The only thing for me that helped when developing was the update to the Material design guidelines and the fact that finally, after almost 2 years Android Studio is fully supporting the NDK. I also liked the fact they gone and made more I/O widespread not just in the main cities, e.g. we had I/O extended to my town, and it was pretty cool.”
These were just a few of the responses we received, but you can already see recurring themes and concerns. Coming up to the final release of Android M this fall we will no doubt see more opinions and thoughts arise. To read the concerns of Senior Recognised Developer Pulser regarding backups head over to here. Or to see our summary of the event head over here!
What do you think to the Google I/O and Android M announcements? Leave a comment below!
HTC M9 Receiving Android M & More – XDA TV
The HTC One M9 has been slated to receive Android M! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is the announcement of Google’s Project Tango 2 using a Qualcomm SD810 and be sure to check out the article talking about the release of Android Studio 1.3 Preview. That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan mentioned the Google I/O 2015 Recap video released this weekend on XDA TV. XDA TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video covering XPrivacy. Then rirozizo reviewed the Doosl FM Transmitter. Also, TK gave us an app review of ChronoSnap. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
I/O Summary: Development, Play Store, The Next Billion
VP of Engineering Jen Fitzpatrick began talking about what Google is doing to help “the next billion” come online. More and more people are getting their first smartphone, and for many people this first phone will be their first computer.
The majority of the next billion will be Android users and they “want to remove the barriers of smartphone adoption”. While there are huge displays of phones on sale, not all are able to run the latest and greatest apps for an affordable price.This is why Google has been working with hardware partners to bring high quality devices for affordable prices, such as Chromebooks and Android One. Sadly, they did not tease about a new Nexus like we wish they would have.
“We are taking many of our core products and making them far better in a world where speed size and connectivity are central concerns”, Jen said. Chrome, for example, is being optimized to load pages 5 times faster, use 80% fewer bytes, and have an 80mb reduction in memory use. They also are coming up with a superior network quality estimator, which adapts the fidelity of the webpage according to the speed of your current connection. Finally, they are bringing support to save pages for later and access them offline. With upcoming offline maps you won’t need to suck down expensive data or have data reliability either. Place search will work offline as well.
Now that mobile has evolved, Google is turning its attention to cross-platform developments with a renewed emphasis on Polymer. This push for cohesion takes the form of a consistent API chain across platforms, which aims to ease the burden on developers. Google’s aim is to help you find ways to develop, engage and earn through Google itself. They are attempting to do this by giving developers the tools to quickly develop across platforms. Today they are sharing the Android Studio v 1.3 Preview with faster grade build speeds and a new memory profiler, but the biggest feature is full editing support for C/C++. They also announced Polymer 1.0, with elements that make it easier to drop toolbars and services like maps. They had supported iOS libraries before, but are starting to bring them together cohesively via Cocoapods. We will cover these developments in-depth in the coming days.
They are also building a Cloud Test Lab to automate the testing of mobile apps. All you need to do is upload the app and Google will run it across top selling devices, and you’ll get in-depth details and crash reports, etc. Firebase also makes it easy and quick to build an app, but after development, the next step is to get users and keep them coming back.
Many developers want to start marketing their apps but do not have specialized teams for the task. Google will try and take care of this: you set their service up to pay for users and they will set up ad campaigns through Admob and other services. Through Google analytics you can then track the state of apps. Google claims that developers love the Google Play developer console, and they want to make it a better tool to make it easy to attract users. Now you can look at how many people are looking at your listing. and you can easily use collected data to make your listing even better. You can run experiments on your listing by testing different styles of graphics and text, and Google will do all the number crunching for you. You can also create your own Google Play homepage to explain what your company is all about. When it comes to earning, Google wants to integrate Analytics with Admob for smarter monetization.
Ellie Powers, Product Manager of Google Play then took the stage to talk about the Play Store. She stated that Google Play has delivered 50 billion app installs in the past 12 months alone, with 1 billion active users. This number is growing twice as quickly in many developing markets. With more than a billion users on Play, the ecosystem is extremely diverse, and Google claims that personalized listings doubles the likelihood that people will install an app. Google will finally make searching for apps smarter and more efficient. One of the ways Google is doing this is by grouping apps into more categories and organizing the results better (“fashion”, “coupons”, etc). Another focus for Google is finding the right content for families, which is why they are introducing the new family discovery experience on Google Play.
In this new Family feature of the Play Store, you can browse by age and the search will filter out apps that are not designed for families or do not have family-appropriate content. You can also browse through popular characters in case your children have an affinity for certain cartoon or movie protagonists or villains.
Finally, Google is teaming up with Udacity to introduce the Android Nanodegree, a 6 month course for 200 dollars each month where the entire core process of Android development is covered.
Are you excited for the new developments surrounding Android apps? Sound off below!