by Kamal Faraj, Android Engineer at Backelite
Like every year, a new version of Android is announced. While we still do not know the name of this new candy, let us see what is inside.
The first Developer Preview was released in March 2018, giving developers around six months to integrate this new version before its final release scheduled for the third quarter of 2018.
The third Developer Preview was released in June 2018 and represents an important milestone. At this time, the APIs are final, the official SDK is available and applications targeting Android P can be published on Google Play.
Features and APIs
Android P offers new features and APIs, here are some examples.
With the addition of IEEE 802.11mc Wi-Fi protocol support – also known as Wi-Fi RTT – it is possible to measure the distance to compatible access points and, with an accuracy within one or two meters, build new experiences like in-building navigation or fine-grained location-based services.
With the latest edge-to-edge screens with display cutout for camera and speaker, it is now possible to lay out content around this area, benefiting from an immersive navigation experience with a wide display.
Notifications have been enhanced to include images, save replies as drafts or provide suggested replies. Thus, it is possible to communicate more easily without interrupting the navigation in other applications.
For devices with multiple physical cameras, it is now possible to access streams simultaneously and build new innovative features.
New APIs make it easy to manage images, animations, and multimedia to deliver rich content to the user.
There are also many enhancements in networking, machine learning, forms and security – especially biometrics – that can be used in banking applications for example.
Finally, Android P introduces a new mode that pins the current orientation even if the device position changes, displaying a new button in the system bar to trigger rotation manually. No more applications that inadvertently switch to landscape mode!
Like every new version, Android P introduces behavior changes. Some apply to all applications while others apply only to applications targeting Android P.
First, it is therefore important to test existing applications on Android P – without modifying the source code – to make sure they work properly. If this is not the case, it is necessary to fix the issues caused by these behavior changes and to publish a new version on Google Play.
Then, it is recommended to update the target SDK version of the application and to take into account the other behavior changes, in order to benefit from the security enhancements and meet the new Google Play requirements.
This new version of Android improves, without revolutionizing, the user experience and security.
If it is not already done, it is time to download the official SDK and enjoy the summer to prepare for the upcoming release of Android P.
Find out more about the new features and APIs, as well as behavior changes, on the Android Developers site.