Android Studio 3.1 Released With Several New Features & Improvements

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Google has announced the availability of Android Studio 3.1, the Android development app.  It is available to download for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit), Mac and Linux.  The release comes with a lot of new features as well as underlying performance improvements.

First, there is a new C++ performance profiler to help developers find bottlenecks in their app code.  There are also improvements to the Kotlin Lint checks that add on to the support of Kotlin in the studio.  Editing SQL/Room database code in projects are now easier too.  Android Studio 3.1 has a SQL code completion in the @query declarations and better SQL statement refactoring.

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Android Commit Hides Sensitive Numbers Hidden in Call Logs

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Two new commits in the Android AOSP (Android Open Source Project) code review suggest that native hiding of sensitive numbers is coming to the platform.  Most often these numbers are to report domestic violence where the victim would not want their perpetrator to find a call to such a number in their call log.

The two commits hand two specific elements of sensitive numbers.  First, the special numbers would not be logged at all by being masked.  The second commit refers to a new XML file that is required to assure that these numbers are not logged and that they comply with local laws as well as dealing with roaming and multiple SIM devices.  Essentially the two methods achieve the same goal, it is a matter of how AOSP wants to implement it into Android.

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Developer Preview 1 of Android P Released – Here is What’s New

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In a somewhat unexpected move, Google has released the first Developer Preview of Android P, the next major version of the platform.  While it was expected to be released this month, perhaps even on 3/14 (Pi… get it?), it seems that the wait for this alpha build was much shorter than expected.

Before going into the details of what is new in this build, let me first be very clear.  This build is alpha.  It is not going to be stable and, in fact, is not even supported in the Android beta program.  In order to get it, you have to side-load it so it is really intended for app developers only.  If you really, really, really want to download it, you can do so here but brace yourself.  It is not going to be a smooth experience.  Also, keep in mind that this alpha build is only available for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

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Android Commit Suggests Your Phone Could Become Your Bluetooth Keyboard

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An interesting new commit has been found in the Android code review Gerrit that could allow your phone to become a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse for your computer.  There commit has two parts to it.  The first enables the HID (Human Interface Device) Profile in the Bluetooth stack while the second adds Profile Proxy to the HID stack.

In theory, by enabling these features, your Android phone becomes another HID and allows it to perform functions of those devices.  Any Bluetooth keyboard, mouse or trackpad that you connect to your computer or phone is a HID.  This commit turns your phone into one.

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Android P Developer Preview Likely to be Released This Month

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It is looking increasingly likely that we will see the first Developer Preview of Android P this month.  That view comes from the ramp up in activity in the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) Git and code review but also thanks to a Tweet from the awesome Evan Blass.

If you are not following Evan on Twitter, take the time to do so. He is one of the best connected resources out there when it comes to leaks and rumors about Android. He is also deadly accurate on these leaks too so if he Tweets on it, chances are solid that it will actually happen.  Like 99% solid.

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Android Wear 2.9 to Bring Oreo Style Unread Notification Indicators

Android Wear 2.9 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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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