Android N Developer Preview 4 is out and it marks a very important milestone in Google's release schedule: the API for the next version of Android is officially final and developers can begin posting apps built for it to the Play Store. In fact, this is a first for Android, never before have developers been able to post apps to the Play Store targeting a preview version of Android. Users can now look forward to trying out 3rd-party apps that target Android N without jumping through hoops with individual APKs.
Play publishing You can now publish apps that use API level 24 to Google Play, in alpha, beta, and production release channels.
It's been a while since we've heard anything from the Paranoid Android ROM team. Perhaps that's because ROM flashing has fallen by the wayside a bit as stock and skinned Android has made serious improvements, perhaps it's because a lot of the original team was hired by OnePlus to work on its Oxygen OS builds. Whatever the reason, they're back now. While PA is definitely late to the Marshmallow party (the last time they issued a major release was almost a year ago), the team has been revitalized with new developers and support for new devices.
Koush has really kicked Vysor development into high gear after MPEG-LA came calling to demand its pound of flesh, and that's good for anyone who needs to manage a mess of test devices. Vysor now has a Share All feature, which makes it a snap to set up a device farm for testing. Yes, this is part of the paid version of the app, but it's cheaper than enterprise plans at a cloud testing service.
Yesterday's Google I/O keynote gave an introduction to some of the great new improvements to Android Studio 2.2, but it only scratched the surface. Today, the Android Tools Team took to the stage again to detail even more about the things they've been doing to make work easier for developers. Topics ranged from new tools like the APK Analyzer and Espresso Test Recorder to big improvements in the code editor and inspectors. We can't cover everything, but here is a summary of the main topics presented today.
New Layout Editor
One of the two hot topics introduced during the keynote is a brand new layout editor.
While all major tech companies use their flagship events to announce new products, Google doesn't shy away from putting developer tools on stage. And keeping with a common theme lately, there's a preview release for the next Android Studio. Version 2.2 includes some immediately popular and often-requested additions to the IDE.
With last month's release of the Android N Preview, the Tools team launched a preview release of Android Studio 2.1. Not only did the new version add support for the N Preview SDK, but it also brought a few important important and welcomed additions, including adoption and support for many of the language features in Java 8, a semi-official switch to the Jack compiler, an updated New Project wizard, and further improvements to the new and faster Android Emulator. As of today, Android Studio 2.1 has been promoted to Stable and is available to all developers.
The biggest advantage of updating and switching to the Jack compiler, aside from playing with new Android N APIs like Launcher Shortcuts, is probably the addition of Lambda Expressions.
Google's introduction of Android N promises many great enhancements to the operating system, but we can't overlook some of the important awesome changes to the tools we use. The latest iteration of ADB brings some new features and significant performance improvements. Googler Elliott Hughes took to Google+ with details about the update, letting us know what we can look forward to from moving to the latest preview release of adb.