Google LLC’s Android Dev Summit 2021 happened two days ago and was all about enabling developers to build better apps across devices.
To begin, the Android team is expanding its collection of development tools by bringing Material You to Jetpack Compose. And Jetpack itself is getting jam-packed with new features that developers have been clamouring for.
A new operating system optimization feature for Android 12 called 12L that’s designed specifically for large screens was also announced to make it work better for tablets, Chromebooks and foldable. Smaller form factors also got some love with Wear OS updates in Jetpack Compose.
Here comes Material You to Jetpack Compose
Material You is a set of design updates that launched with Android 12 that delivers an adaptive user interface on Android devices. The Android team has now brought its capabilities into Jetpack Compose, a developer toolkit for building native UIs.
With this integration, developers will be able to access Material You’s personalization features with the first alpha build of Compose Material 3, which offers Material Design 3 components and themes. The new Material Theme builder is available as a Figma plugin and a web tool.
Android team is releasing the first beta version of Jetpack Compose 1.1 with features such as stretch over scroll for Android 12, improved touch-target sizing, experimental lazy layout animations and more which aims to allow developers to design for more screen sizes and form factors.
On the other hand, Jetpack is getting more features developers have been asking for
For instance, Navigation has added multiple back stacks support. WorkManager, the recommended solution for persistent work, which makes it easier to handle Android 12 background processes, added support for expedited jobs. Room adds auto-migration and multimap relations. DataStore, the replacement for SharedPreferences, reaches version 1.0. And Macro Benchmark, a tool to measure and improve startup, adds simplified frame timing and compatibility.
According to Google, there are a lot of large-screen devices running on Android and as a result, the Android team is looking to increase support for those devices with “12L.”
12L is a special feature drop for Android 12 that optimizes for these large screens and provides a new set of tools to make multitasking more powerful and intuitive compatibility support for apps.
The refinements include UI changes that allow large screens above 600dp, to take advantage of a new two-column layout. This includes the notification shade, lock screen and other system surfaces. In 12L there is also a new taskbar that lets users instantly switch between apps on the fly. It makes split-screen mode more accessible than ever.
Google plans to launch 12L early next year in step with the next wave of Android 12 tablets and foldable.
Wear OS gets Jetpack Compose support
Tiles API is currently in beta, which provides predictable and glanceable access to information and quick actions on the watch face. And Android has partnered with Samsung to make it easier to design watch faces. The Watch Face Studio enables developers to create watch faces rapidly without any coding knowledge.