May 30, 2021
May has been a pretty big month for Android developers, as we suspected it might be. Google I/O saw some sizeable announcements, not least being the arrival of the Android 12 Beta. This release is a far cry from the subtle, behind-the-scenes changes that we saw in the Developer Previews. Instead, we got a huge UI overhaul! We also got a new Android Studio beta, dubbed “Arctic Fox,” extensive updates to Jetpack, better debugging, and “Kotlin Symbol Processing.”
Get the full rundown below, as always.
What’s new in Android 12 Beta — Google’s in-depth introduction to Android 12 Beta for developers. As well as UI changes (which will affect your apps), there are also new widgets with responsive layouts, dynamic color APIs (sample code here), and a bunch of new effects. System performance also gets a boost, and there are some more privacy updates, too.
Android @ Google I/O: 3 things to know in Modern Android Development — A very handy look at the most important announcements for developers from Google I/O. Including new Jetpack libraries, “Inspectors” that will make debugging easier than ever, and Kotlin Symbol Processing (KSP).
What’s new for Android developers at Google I/O — Google gives us a more detailed rundown of the news from Google I/O as it pertains to developers. Front and center, of course, is the huge design change that comes with Android 12 Beta. Also exciting, is the news that Jetpack Compose 1.0 will be landing in July. There’s also news about Kotlin, Jetpack, Wear OS, foldables, and Android Studio to sink your teeth into.
Android Studio Arctic Fox (2020.3.1) Beta — Android isn’t the only beta release this month! Devs also now get to play around with the latest Android Studio update. That means you can play around with Jetpack Compose’s new “Compose Preview” and “Deploy Preview to Device.” This should make it easier to quickly iterate on a design.
Android Studio 4.2 — For those that like their IDEs stable, Android Studio 4.2 also got an official release this month and is now available.
What’s new in Android Privacy — Developers always need to keep privacy in mind. Here are the latest changes that aim to make Android more secure going forward.
What’s new in Jetpack — Google gives the full scoop on the new Jetpack libraries and those that are now in stable.
What’s new with Wear — Sometimes it feels like Google forgets about Wear, but now we’re getting the “biggest update yet.” That includes new features, APIs, and tools for developers. You’ll first need to grab your Android Studio Arctic Fox Beta, though, to start playing around with the changes.
What’s new with Android for cars — Google also has some, admittedly smaller, updates to share about Android Auto. Largely this post just recaps the growth of Android Automotive OS and the recent addition of the Android for Cars App Library to Jetpack.
What’s new in Android TV (and Google TV!) — Along with some more back-patting, Google also announced some new tools and features for TV devs.
The top Google Play updates from I/O ’21 — Why isn’t this post called “What’s new for Google Play?” Perhaps we’ll never know. Whatever the case, Google had a few things to say about Google Play at the event. There’s a new Policy and Programs section, a new Google Play SDK Console, an upcoming public website sharing insights about popular SDKs, etc.
New safety section in Google Play will give transparency into how apps use data — As the headline says, a new safety section of Google Play is coming that will give users more information about how apps use their data. Developers will be required to share relevant information, although the precise policy requirements are not yet known.
Updated guidance to improve your app quality and discovery on Google Play — Google has “pre-announced” policy changes for app metadata and “regular-announced” new store listing guidelines. You can find those here. This is very much recommended reading for developers that want to get maximum eyeballs on their work!