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Android Dev Summit: Google details Kotlin, Jetpack, and instant app improvements


Google kicked off its Android Developer Summit in Mountain View this week with a bang, and support for foldable devices only scratched the surface. The company announced that many of the new features in Kotlin 1.3 are now natively supported, and it provided updates on Jetpack, Android Studio, instant apps, and more. First up was Kotlin, a statically typed programming language from JetBrains that runs on the Java virtual machine. The latest version — 1.3 — was released last week, and brings with it a bevy of features: All of those have been integrated into Androids Kotlin-specific APIs, Google said. Google revealed Jetpack, a suite of tools and APIs designed accelerate Android app development, at Google I/O 2018 in May, and its taken off like a rocket (no pun intended) in the months since. Today, 80 percent of the top 1,000 apps and games have adopted it, according to Google. And this week, the company detailed two new Architecture Component libraries that promise to make it even more appealing: Navigation, Work Manager, and Slice. Navigation and Work Manager — both of which are launching in beta this month — offer a simplified way to implement Androids navigation principle with animated transitions, create and edit navigation flows, and perform background tasks in the most efficient manner based on application states, device API level, and other factors. Android Slices, on the other hand — which were unveiled at Google I /O and this week move to public Search experiments — show mini app snippets containing content and actions, like playing a video or booking a flight. The list of initial partners includes Doist and Kayak, among others. Android Studio, Googles official IDE for Android development, got some love during the dev conferences first keynote. Android Studio 3.3 beta 3 launches today, and its focused on stability — specifically  user-impacting bugs. The frequency of crashes, hangs, and memory usage have been reduced, and Google said its building tools that will help [developers] easily understand whats slowing an app build down. Also announced: forthcoming support for Chrome OS. Last but not least, Google revealed improvements coming to the instant apps. Within Android Studio 3.3, developers can deploy and build instant apps and installed apps from a single Android Studio project, and include them in a single Android App bundle.

You can soon continue using an Android app while it’s being updated


At todays Android Dev Summit , Google announced a new set of features as part of the Android App Bundle tool, including an In-app Updates API that will allow developers to more aggressively nudge users to download the latest version of an app. To essentially force users into updating, devs now have two new options to hasten app updates. For pressing issues — such as security bug fixes — developers can display a full-screen message the next time a user starts up an app to notify them that an update is available. Users will also have the option to opt out of the update, in case theyre not connected to Wi-Fi, are low on battery, or whatever other reason. For less urgent updates, the In-App Updates API will also allow users to continue using the app normally while the update is being downloaded in the background, with the new version applied on the next startup. This is a big deal for both the end-user and developers behind popular and up-and-coming Android apps. If an app contains a critical bug, the API helps developers more urgently push users to update to the latest patched version instead of assuming users have automatic updates turned on. It also erases the inconvenience of waiting for an app to update if you want to keep using the app, especially if youre working with low download speeds. The new Updates API is still in early testing with a few Play Store app partners, with plans to expand to more (and eventually all) developers soon.