What’s new for Android developers at Google I/O


Cross-posted on the Android Developers blog by Karen Ng, Director, Product Management & Jacob Lehrbaum, Director of Developer Relations, Android & Play

As Android developers, we are all driven by building experiences that delight people around the world. And with people depending on your apps more than ever, expectations are higher and your jobs as developers aren’t getting easier. Today, at Google I/O, we covered a few ways that we’re trying to help out, whether it be through Android 12 – one of the biggest design changes ever, Jetpack, Jetpack Compose, Android Studio, and Kotlin to help you build beautiful high quality apps. We’re also helping when it comes to extending your apps wherever your users go, like through wearables and larger-screened devices. You can watch the full Developer Keynote, but here are a few highlights:

Android 12: one of the biggest design updates ever.

The first Beta of Android 12 just started rolling out, and it’s packed with lots of cool stuff. From new user safety features like permissions for bluetooth and approximate location, enhancements to performance like expedited jobs and start up animations, to delightful experiences with more interactive widgets and stretch overscrolling, this release is one of the biggest design updates to Android ever. You can read more about what’s in Android 12 Beta 1 here, so you can start preparing your apps for the consumer release coming out later this year. Download the Beta and try it with your apps today!

Android 12 visual

Jetpack Compose: get ready for 1.0 in July!

For the last few years, we’ve been hard at work modernizing the Android development experience, listening to your feedback to keep the openness–a hallmark of Android, but becoming more opinionated about the right way to do things. You can see this throughout, from Android Studio, a performant IDE that can keep up with you, to Kotlin, a programming language that enables you to do more with less code, to Jetpack libraries that solve the hardest problems on mobile with backward compatibility.

The next step in this offering is Jetpack Compose – our modern UI toolkit to easily build beautiful apps for all Android devices. We announced Compose here at Google I/O two years ago and since then have been building it in the open, listening to your feedback to make sure we got it right. With the Compose Beta earlier this year, developers around the world have created some truly beautiful, innovative experiences in half the time, and the response to the #AndroidDevChallenge blew our socks off!

With the forthcoming update of Material You (which you can read more about here), we’ll be adding new Material components as well as further support for building for large screens, making it fast and easy to build a gorgeous UI. We’re pressure testing the final bits in Compose and will release 1.0 Stable in July—so get ready!

Android Studio Arctic Fox: Design, Devices, & Developer Productivity!

Android Studio Arctic Fox (2020.3.1) Beta, the latest release of the official powerful Android IDE, is out today to help you build quality apps easier and faster. We have delivered and updated the suite of tools to empower three major themes: accelerate your UI design, extend your app to new devices, and boost your developer productivity. With this latest release you can create modern UIs with Compose tooling, see test results across multiple devices, and optimize debugging databases and background tasks with the App Inspector. We’re also making your apps more accessible with the Accessibility Scanner and more performant with Memory Profiler. And for faster build speeds, we have the Android Gradle plugin 7.0, new DSL, and variant APIs. You can learn more about the Android Studio updates here.

Android Studio Arctic Fox

Kotlin: the most used language by professional Android devs

Kotlin is now the most used primary language by professional Android developers according to our recent surveys; in fact, over 1.2M apps in the Play Store use Kotlin, including 80% of the top 1000 apps. And here at Google, we love it too: 70+ Google apps like Drive, Home, Maps and Play use Kotlin. And with a brand-new native solution to annotation processing for Kotlin built from the ground up, Kotlin Symbol Processing is available today, a powerful and yet simple API for parsing Kotlin code directly, showing speeds up to 2x faster with libraries like Room.

Android Jetpack: write features, not boilerplate

With Android Jetpack, we built a suite of libraries to help reduce boilerplate code so you can focus on the code you care about. Over 84% of the top 10,000 apps are now using a Jetpack library. And today, we’re unpacking some new releases for Jetpack, including Jetpack Macrobenchmark (Alpha) to capture large interactions that affect your app startup and jank before your app is released, as well as a new Kotlin Coroutines API for persisting data more efficiently via Jetpack DataStore (Beta). You can read about all the updates in Android Jetpack here.

Now is the time: a big step for Wear

The best thing about modern Android development is that these tools have been purpose built to help make it easy for you to build for the next era of Android, which is all about enabling devices connected to your phone–TVs, cars, watches, tablets–to work better together.

Starting today, we take a huge step forward with wearables. First, we introduced a unified platform built jointly with Samsung, combining the best of Wear and Tizen. Second, we shared a new consumer experience with revamped Google apps. And third, a world-class health and fitness service from Fitbit is coming to the platform. As an Android developer, it means you’ll have more reach, and you’ll be able to use all of your existing skills, tools, and APIs that make your mobile apps great, to build for a single wearables platform used by people all over the world.

Whether it’s new Jetpack APIs for Wear tailored for small screens and designed to optimize battery life, to the Jetpack Tiles API, so you can create a custom Tile for all the devices in the Wear ecosystem, there are a number of new features to help you build on Wear. And with a new set of APIs for Health and Fitness, created in collaboration with Samsung, data collection from sensors and metrics computation is streamlined, consistent, and accurate–like heart rate to calories to daily distance–from one trusted source. All this comes together in new tooling, with the release of Android Studio Arctic Fox Beta, like easier pairing to test apps, and even a virtual heart rate sensor in the emulator. And when your app is ready, users will have a much easier time discovering the world of Wear apps on Google Play, with some big updates to discoverability. You can read more about all of the Wear updates here.

Tapping the momentum of larger screens, like tablets, Chrome OS and foldables

When it comes to larger screens — tablets, foldables, and Chrome OS laptops– there is huge momentum. People are increasingly relying on large screen devices to stay connected with family and friends, go to school, or work remotely. In fact, there are over 250 million active large screen Android devices. Last year, Chrome OS grew +92% year over year–5 times the rate of the PC market, making Chrome OS the fastest growing and the second-most popular desktop OS. To help you take advantage of this momentum, we’re giving you APIs and tools to make optimizing that experience easier: like having your content resize automatically to more space by using SlidingpaneLayout 1.2.0 and a new vertical navigation rail component, Max widths on components to avoid stretched UIs, as well as updates to the platform, Chrome OS, and Jetpack windowmanager, so apps work better by default. You can learn more here.

Google Duo's optimized experience for foldable devices

Google Duo’s optimized experience for foldable devices

This is just a taste of some of the new ways we’re making it easier for you to build high quality Android apps. Later today, we’ll be releasing more than 20 technical sessions on Android and Play, covering a wide range of topics such as background tasks, privacy, and Machine Learning on Android, or the top 12 tips to get you ready for Android 12. If building for cars, TVs, and wearables is your thing, we got that covered, too. You can find all these sessions – and more – on the I/O website. Beyond the sessions and news, there’s a number of fun ways to virtually connect with Googlers and other developers at this year’s Google I/O. You can check out the Android dome in I/O Adventure, where you can see new blog posts, videos, codelabs, and more. Maybe even test out your Jetpack Compose skills or take a virtual tour of the cars inside our dome!

Inviting educators to the Google Developers India Faculty Summit on 23rd April, 2021


Posted by Harsh Dattani, Community Manager

University professors have a large impact by educating the next generation of developers and engineers. Google Developers wants to enable university faculty with the best curriculum on Android development and programs. Earlier this year we announced the launch of our new faculty-led curriculum for Android Development with Kotlin in India. The curriculum is based on classroom learning (virtual or in-person) with an instructor delivering lectures on important Android concepts and students receiving hands-on practice through interactive pathways.

The Google Developers India Faculty Summit 2021 will kick things off on April 23rd. The Faculty Development Training program provides faculty from different universities in India with resources designed by a team at Google.

Current partners in India include: Shivaji University, I. K. Gujral Punjab Technical University, Chandigarh University, Ganpat University, Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK), Learn 4 Grow, Teerthanker Mahaveer University and Information, and Communication Technology Academy of Kerala. These organizations will be the first to learn and offer this curriculum to their students with more universities to follow in upcoming semesters.

Leading scholars and educational influencers from computer science faculties at Indian universities will be in attendance, giving attendees the perfect chance to network with other professionals in Android development.

Chief guest for the event is Professor Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). As he describes the upcoming summit,

Google India Faculty Summit 2021 is a great opportunity for faculties of technical institutes to understand & assimilate nuances of Android Application Development using Kotlin and in turn disseminate the same to students, challenge them to create new applications, innovative solutions and make them entrepreneurs/employable engineers.

Register today for the summit here and see you on April 23rd at 10 AM IST.

Solve for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals with Google technologies in this year’s Solution Challenge.


Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Solution Challenge image

Created by the United Nations in 2015 to be achieved by 2030, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon by all 193 United Nations Member States aim to end poverty, ensure prosperity, and protect the planet.

Last year brought many challenges, but it also brought a greater spirit around helping each other and giving back to our communities. With that in mind, we invite students around the world to join the Google Developer Student Clubs 2021 Solution Challenge!

If you’re new to the Solution Challenge, it is an annual competition that invites university students to develop solutions for real world problems using one or more Google products or platforms.

This year, see how you can use Android, TensorFlow, Google Cloud, Flutter, or any of your favorite Google technologies to promote employment for all, economic growth, and climate action, by building a solution for one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What winners of the Solution Challenge receive

Participants will receive specialized prizes at different stages:

  1. The Top 50 teams will receive mentorship from Google and other experts to further work on their projects.
  2. The Top 10 finalists will receive a 1-year subscription to Pluralsight, swag, additional customized mentoring from Google, and a feature in the Google Developers Blog and Demo Day live on YouTube.
  3. The 3 Grand Prize Winners will receive all the prizes included in the Top 10 category along with a Chromebook and a private team meeting with a Google executive.

How to get started on the Solution Challenge

There are four main steps to joining the Solution Challenge and getting started on your project:

  1. Register at goo.gle/solutionchallenge and join a Google Developer Student Club at your college or university. If there is no club at your university, you can join the closest one through the event platform.
  2. Select one or more of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals to solve for.
  3. Build a solution using Google technology.
  4. Create a demo and submit your project by March 31, 2021.

Resources from Google for Solution Challenge participants

Google will provide Solution Challenge participants with various resources to help students build strong projects for their contest submission.

  • Live online sessions with Q&As
  • Mentorship from Google, Google Developer Experts, and the Developer Student Club community
  • Curated codelabs designed by Google Developers
  • Access to Design Sprint guidelines developed by Google Ventures
  • and more!

When are winners announced?

Once all the projects are submitted after the March 31st deadline, judges will evaluate and score each submission from around the world using the criteria listed on the website. From there, winning solutions will be announced in three rounds.

Round 1 (May): The Top 50 teams will be announced.

Round 2 (July): After the top 50 teams submit their new and improved solutions, 10 finalists will be announced.

Round 3 (August): In the finale, the top 3 grand prize winners will be announced live on YouTube during the 2021 Solution Challenge Demo Day.

With a passion for building a better world, savvy coding skills, and a little help from Google, we can’t wait to see the solutions students create.

Learn more and sign up for the 2021 Solution Challenge, here.

Announcing DevFest 2020

Posted by Jennifer Kohl, Program Manager, Developer Community Programs

DevFest Image

On October 16-18, thousands of developers from all over the world are coming together for DevFest 2020, the largest virtual weekend of community-led learning on Google technologies.

As people around the world continue to adapt to spending more time at home, developers yearn for community now more than ever. In years past, DevFest was a series of in-person events over a season. For 2020, the community is coming together in a whole new way – virtually – over one weekend to keep developers connected when they may want it the most.

The speakers

The magic of DevFest comes from the people who organize and speak at the events – developers with various backgrounds and skill levels, all with their own unique perspectives. In different parts of the world, you can find a DevFest session in many local languages. DevFest speakers are made up of various types of technologists, including kid developers , self-taught programmers from rural areas , and CEOs and CTOs of startups. DevFest also features a wide range of speakers from Google, Women Techmakers, Google Developer Experts, and more. Together, these friendly faces, with many different perspectives, create a unique and rich developer conference.

The sessions and their mission

Hosted by Google Developer Groups, this year’s sessions include technical talks and workshops from the community, and a keynote from Google Developers. Through these events, developers will learn how Google technologies help them develop, learn, and build together.

Sessions will cover multiple technologies, such as Android, Google Cloud Platform, Machine Learning with TensorFlow, Web.dev, Firebase, Google Assistant, and Flutter.

At our core, Google Developers believes community-led developer events like these are an integral part of the advancement of technology in the world.

For this reason, Google Developers supports the community-led efforts of Google Developer Groups and their annual tentpole event, DevFest. Google provides esteemed speakers from the company and custom technical content produced by developers at Google. The impact of DevFest is really driven by the grassroots, passionate GDG community organizers who volunteer their time. Google Developers is proud to support them.

The attendees

During DevFest 2019, 138,000+ developers participated across 500+ DevFests in 100 countries. While 2020 is a very different year for events around the world, GDG chapters are galvanizing their communities to come together virtually for this global moment. The excitement for DevFest continues as more people seek new opportunities to meet and collaborate with like-minded, community-oriented developers in our local towns and regions.

Join the conversation on social media with #DevFest.

Sign up for DevFest at goo.gle/devfest.


Still curious? Check out these popular talks from DevFest 2019 events around the world…

Helping the Haitian economy, one line of code at a time

Posted by Jennifer Kohl, Program Manager, Developer Community Programs

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Eustache Luckens Yadley at a GDG Port-au-Prince meetup

Meet Eustache Luckens Yadley, or “Yadley” for short. As a web developer from Port-au-Prince, Yadley has spent his career building web applications that benefit the local Haitian economy. Whether it’s ecommerce platforms that bring local sellers to market or software tools that help local businesses operate more effectively, Yadley has always been there with a technical hand to lend.

However, Yadley has also spent his career watching Haiti’s unemployment numbers rise to among the highest in the Caribbean. As he describes it,

“Every day, several thousand young people have no job to get by.”

So with code in mind and mouse in hand, Yadley got right to work. His first step was to identify a need in the economy. He soon figured out that Haiti had a shortage of delivery methods for consumers, making home delivery purchases of any kind extremely unreliable. With this observation, Yadley also noticed that there was a surplus of workers willing to deliver the goods, but no infrastructure to align their needs with that of the market’s.

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Yadley watching a demo at a GDG Port-au-Prince meetup

In this moment, Yadley did what many good developers would do: build an app. He created the framework for what is now called “Livrezonpam,” an application that allows companies to post where and when they need a particular product delivered and workers to find the corresponding delivery jobs closest to them.

With a brilliant solution, Yadley’s last step was to find the right technical tools to build the concept out and make it a viable platform that users could work with to their benefit.

It was at this crucial step when Yadley found the Port-au-Prince Google Developer Group. With GDG Port-au-Prince, Yadley was able to bring his young app right into the developer community, run different demos of his product to experienced users, and get feedback from a wide array of developers with an intimate knowledge of the Haitian tech scene. The takeaways from working in the community translated directly to his work. Yadley learned how to build with the Google Cloud Platform Essentials, which proved key in managing all the data his app now collects. He also learned how to get the Google Maps Platform API working for his app, creating a streamlined user experience that helped workers and companies in Haiti locate one another with precision and ease.

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This wide array of community technical resources, from trainings, to mentors, to helpful friends, allowed Yadley to grow his knowledge of several Google technologies, which in turn allowed him to grow his app for the Haitian community.

Today, Yadley is still an active member of the GDG community, growing his skills and those of the many friends around him. And at the same time, he is still growing Librezonpam on the Google Play App Store to help local businesses reach their customers and bring more jobs directly to the people of Haiti.

Ready to start building with a Google Developer Group near you? Find the closest community to you, here.