Google is dedicated to providing a more modern Android development experience with new improvements, major updates, and new releases announced across the platform at this year’s Google I/O conference. 

According to Karen Ng, product lead for Android developer tools, the announcements focus on how to help developers build higher-quality apps faster and easier.

“We want to help you build higher-quality apps faster, and we want that to scale across the entire ecosystem, not as a small set, but we’re really thinking about the tools and APIs that help you do that.”

The main Android announcements from the conference included:

Jetpack Compose 1.0 release

The company revealed version 1.0 of its toolkit for building native UI is expected in July. The toolkit is built with Kotlin, and designed to make it easier to build native apps across the Android platform. The release is expected to incorporate the update of Material You with new Material components and support for large screens.

Android Studio Arctic Fox (2020.3.1) beta 

The beta version of the latest release is available and designed to help developers build high-quality applications faster by improving Kotlin build speeds, typing latency and test results across multiple different test devices. The latest update of the Android IDE focuses on accelerating UI design, extending apps to new devices and boosting developer productivity.

Kotlin updates

Kotlin Symbol Processing is an API for parsing Kotlin code and improving speed. According to the company, more than 1.2 million applications in the Google Play store now use the programming language Kotlin.

Android Jetpack improvements

New features include the alpha version of Jetpack Microbenchmark, which captures large interactions that impact application startup and enable developers to improve app performance; and the beta of DataStore, a new Kotlin coroutines API for persistent data.

Updates to WearOS

The company said it is making milestones with its wearable Android development with a new unified platform built with Samsung; a new consumer experience; and new health and fitness services from Fitbit coming to the platform.

Large screens enhancements

Ng commented:

“Everyone wants their application to be good quality and they want to be able to do that from the Android platform easily and not deal with all the specific challenges. If you take a look at some of the things that we’re releasing, they are going to be around app performance so how do I have my app be super performant across things. We are looking at addressing those pain points as well, but that’s the promise…help you focus on what your app does well and where your magic is.”

Google announced new APIs and tools to optimize the viewing experience, resize content automatically, and enable new navigation components.

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Nikoleta Yanakieva Editor at DevStyleR International