Category: Android Development

Android Wear 2.9 to Bring Oreo Style Unread Notification Indicators

Today the Android team in Google released a new Android Wear SDK and emulator update for developers.  The new tools bring the SDK to version 2.2.0 and with it come several new watch face elements to the platform.

Those elements are aimed to be in the next consumer version of Wear, version 2.9.  Perhaps the biggest news of those new face elements will be unread notification indicators that can be coded into the watch faces.

Notification is a vital part of the Wear experience. As a result, starting from the next consumer release of Wear (version 2.9.0), a dot-shaped indicator will be displayed by default at the bottom of the watch face if there are new, unread notifications.

Developers of watch faces will have several options on how to implement the new feature.

Google I/O 2018 Tickets Go On Sale February 22nd

If you are aiming to get to Google I/O 2018, your first important date is February 22nd. That is when ticket sales begin at 10:00 AM Pacific which is more-or-less a ticket into the lottery to be selected.

The lottery system has been the method Google has used for the past several years as there are always far more developers interested in attending than there is space for them to attend. To attempt to make it fair, you sign up starting the 22nd and if you are selected, you complete your registration. That is, you pay for your ticket.

Google Appears to be Set to Block Hidden APIs in Android P

While we are still a few months away from seeing a developer preview, work is steadily going happening on Android P.  There is one change however that could impact developers who are accessing hidden APIs in Android.  It looks like access to them is going to be blocked in P.

A new commit in the Android Release gerrit suggests that access to hidden APIs will be blocked, forcing developers to use the approved APIs in the release.

The following patch enforces the hidden API blacklist, preventing access to boot class path methods/fields marked by the `hiddenapi` tool using static linking, reflection and JNI.

This could require some developers to rework their apps if they want them to work on Android P.

Google Cuts Subscription Transaction Fee to 15% After 12 Months

Google has made a change to their transaction fee schedule for Android Developers that, eventually, works in their favor.  Effective January 1, 2018, developers who have a subscriber who has been using their app for 12 months will get their transaction fee cut from 30% to 15%.  This only impacts subscriptions and not one-off in-app purchases.

Google has outlined the rules of engagement on this for developers and there is a bit of wiggle room on it.  Basically to quality for the cut, the subscriber has to fall in one of these areas over a 12 months period.

The move is aimed to give developers more money and mirrors, to an extent, what Apple did in 2017.

Android App Changes Coming in 2018 and 2019 Including 64-Bit Requirements

Google has laid out a three stage process that Android developers will need to pay attention to going forward.  With the goal of improving performance and security, the company to to the Android Developers Blog yesterday to outline their requirements for apps starting next year.  This will lead to the ultimate end of apps being 64-bit enabled by August of 2019.

The first step in the process starts next year with the requirement that development of new apps be around the latest APIs in the platform.  Come August 2018, app developers will be required to code against API 26, or as we end users know it, Android 8.0.  If developers have an existing app, that app has to be updated to API 26 by November of 2018.  Going forward, as you would expect, the API requirements will go up as new version of Android are release.

Readers should not that this require does not mean that the apps will only run on Oreo 8.0.  It means that developers have to develop, using the Oreo API level, in the assumption that everyone is using Oreo.  Developers are encouraged, and will, be backwards compatible to a few API levels back.

Google Drops In-App Commission to 15% Starting Next Year

In a move that is similar to the cut Apple made for iOS developers, Google has announced that they will be dropping the percentage they keep on in-app purchases.  Starting January 1, 2018, in-app purchases will have a 15% commission rate to the Mountain View company, a drop of 50% from the previous 30% rate.

For developers, this means that they will be able to keep more money when you make an in-app purchase in their app.  Ultimately it is good for developers who will be able to stay funded to further development.  For Google, that means having top-shelf apps in the Play Store.

Latest Paranoid Android Build Brings a New Camera App

Paranoid Android, the AOSP-based build for a wide range of phones, has a big update rolling out that brings a lot of improvements and features. The new update is build 7.3.0 and is rolling out now.

The biggest new feature is their own camera app.  The new camera app is a simple but effective app with easy-to-understand controls (swipe left or right to go between camera and video for example) and has all the camera features you’d expect like slow motion, HDR and red eye reduction.

Google Encouraging Android Developers to Support 18:9 Phone Ratios

With the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ and the LG G6, a new 18:9 (in the case of Samsung, 18.5:9) is making its way to Android devices and Android developers will need to support it.  If developers don’t update the maximum aspect ratio of their apps, their apps will be rendered at 16:9 on these devices.  That means that users will have a black bar at the top and bottom of the display.  It’ll work, but won’t be so pretty.

In a blog post on the Android Developer blog, Google has posted on this and is encouraging developers to increase the maximum ratio of their apps to support this new 18:9 view so their apps can take full advantage of the screen size.

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