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What’s new for Android developers at #AndroidDevSummit’21

Sagar Kamdar, VP of Product Management

Android Dev Summit graphic with laptop, watch and phone

The app experiences that you as developers build help people around the world in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and at Android Dev Summit, happening over the next two days, we’ll talk about that spirit – focusing on the user, understanding their needs, and then building experiences to delight them. We just wrapped up the keynote, and over the next two days, we’ll focus on an important theme for Android: helping you build excellent apps, across devices. First on updates to our modern Android development offering to help you stay more productive so you can focus on building great applications, and then helping you extend those apps across devices to all form factors. And as a big part of this, we’re introducing the 12L feature drop on foldables and tablets – a set of features optimising Android 12 for large screens – read on to learn more!

Excellent apps: bringing Material You to Jetpack Compose

When it comes to helping you build excellent apps, our expanding collection of development tools, APIs, language, and distribution technologies–Modern Android Development, MAD for short–are your partners to help you stay more productive. And we’ve got a number of new features across MAD to help you be productive and create better apps, starting with one of our biggest announcements: the introduction of Material You and its radical new design vision into Jetpack Compose, Android’s modern toolkit for building native UI.

Material You, introduced in Android 12 earlier this year at Google I/O, focuses on delivering experiences that are personal for every style, accessible for every need, and adaptive for every screen. We’re releasing the first alpha of Compose Material 3, which offers Material Design 3 styled components and theme, enabling Material You personalization features like dynamic color. We’re also releasing the first beta version of Jetpack Compose 1.1 with features like stretch overscroll for Android 12, improved touch-target sizing, experimental lazy layout animations, and more. Jetpack Compose is stable and ready for use in production and we continue to add the features you need to make it fast and easy to build Android UI across all form factors, with new support for Wear OS and for building homescreen widgets.

GIF showing Compose Material 3

Jetpack: more features to help you create excellent apps

Beyond Compose, Jetpack continues to add the features you’ve been asking us for. Navigation adds multiple backstacks support. WorkManager, our recommended solution for persistent work, makes it easier to handle Android 12 background restrictions, adding support for expedited jobs. Room adds auto-migration and multi-map relations. DataStore, our recommended replacement for SharedPreferences, has reached 1.0 and Macrobenchmark, a tool to measure and improve startup and frame performance, added simplified and more accurate frame timing, and compatibility back to Android M.

Introducing 12L, an OS designed for large screens, together with new tools

Large screens have seen some incredible momentum: a 92% Year-over-Year growth in Chrome OS, making it the fastest growing desktop OS in the world, a 20% growth in tablet sales in the last year and a 2.5x growth in foldables sales, the newest and most innovate form factor…altogether those represent over 250M active large screen Android devices – and Android is giving you an OS to match. And we’ve got some… *large* news to *unfold* here: a developer preview of an upcoming feature drop for Android 12, with updates added JUST for large screens; we call it 12L. With 12L we’ve optimised and polished the system UI for large screens, made multitasking more powerful and intuitive, and improved our compatibility support for apps so they look better right out of the box. You can try the new large-screen features today as part of the 12L developer preview. Check out what is in 12L and how we’re making it easier to build for large screens here.

GIF showing maps being used on Large Screen device

Watch out for Wear OS

Many developers have created helpful experiences for the latest version of Wear OS which launched earlier this year, and we’re looking forward to richer, more immersive app experiences like what we’re seeing from Strava, Spotify, and Calm. Jetpack Compose makes building UIs so much faster and easier – so we’re bringing Compose support to Wear OS. Compose for Wear OS is now in developer preview, with new samples and documentation to help you get started. The ​​Tiles API, now in Beta, provides predictable, glanceable access to information and quick actions. We’ve also partnered with Samsung to make it easier to design watch faces. Watch Face Studio, created by Samsung, allows you to produce your own watch faces without any coding, so watch you see..is watch you get. You can read more about all of the Wear OS news here.

Google Play: More features and investments to help you grow your business

We’ve invested in more ways to power your business growth on Google Play. To strengthen user trust, we’ve introduced the Data safety section to highlight your privacy practices and the Play Integrity API to make sure your app installs are always genuine. We’ve also invested in more tools and features to help boost your app quality and recently updated our programs so that 99% of developers qualify for a service fee of 15% or less. To learn more, check out our blog post or watch the full session.

#AndroidDevSummit kicks off now!

We just dropped over 30 technical sessions, which you can watch here at your own pace. And over the next two days, we have a lot more live content for you to enjoy – including your opportunity to get your burning #AskAndroid questions answered by the team who built Android on topics like Modern Android Development, Large Screens, or Compose with Material You. Plus, we’ll also be hosting live Android Code-Alongs, where you can tune in to watch Android experts as they code, tackle programming challenges, and answer your questions live across Jetpack Compose and Compose for Wear OS. You can check out the full agenda with timings here. While we can’t wait for the opportunity to connect with you in person soon, we’re excited to engage with you remotely over the next two days. Enjoy your #AndroidDevSummit!

Source: Android Developers Blog

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