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Android Studio 2.2 Preview Announced With A New Layout Designer, Test Recording With Auto-Generated Espresso Code, And Much More

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.

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Google's New Playbook Beta App Helps Developers Create And Launch Successful Apps

Developers got a nice treat earlier today when Google released a new dashboard app in the Play Store. That one is available to all right away, but there's another new developer-oriented release called Playbook that you'll have to join a beta to get. Playbook is an app that aggregates help articles, tips, and videos that help you create a better app.

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SHIELD TV Upgrade 3.2 Will Include 4K VUDU, YouTube 60FPS 4K, Netflix HDR, And Gamestream HDR

NVIDIA is taking advantage of the excitement around Google I/O to announce some improvements to its own Android hardware. The SHIELD TV is getting some interesting new capabilities with its next update, version 3.2. Specifically, it will be the first Android TV hardware to support High Dynamic Range (HDR) video - that's something that's coming to Android N later, but NVIDIA wants to get a jump on the competition.

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Even With Allo And Duo, Hangouts Will Remain As A Separate App In Google's Ecosystem

Today at I/O 2016, Google announced two new messaging and communication apps: Allo, a messaging app which hooks into your phone number, and Duo, a video calling app. You might assume that means Hangouts would be quietly canned (or as quietly as possible, anyway), right? Not so.

Google has confirmed to Android Police that the company will continue to invest in Hangouts and it will remain a separate product. In a way, this does make sense: as Allo requires a phone number, it might be aimed as a WhatsApp competitor, while Hangouts remains as a Facebook Messenger competitor. On the other hand, would it not be better to have one singular product focused on messaging?

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Android TV Will Support Picture-In-Picture, Live Recording, HDR, And New Apps - Google Cast Functionality Will Be Included In More Televisions

Android TV didn't get much screen time at the opening keynote of the Google I/O developer conference, but there were a few goodies mentioned for upcoming builds. Specifically, VP of engineering David Burke showed off a new picture-in-picture mode that allows users to continue a streaming video while doing something else in the main ATV user interface, such as performing a voice search or downloading an app.

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Google Assistant Will Mash All Of Google's Search Tools Together For A Powerful Conversational AI

One of the more exciting revelations at the opening keynote of Google I/O 2016 is "Assistant," Google's upcoming expansion of its search tools. Explaining exactly what Assistant is and isn't is a bit tricky, because it both integrates a lot of existing Google technology and spills over into other upcoming services, like Google Home and Allo. Essentially, it's a new way to interact with Google Search, with the intention being that you "speak" with it in a more human fashion.

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[Update: Play Store Pre-Registration] Google Announces Allo, A Smart Messaging App Based On Your Phone Number

Hangouts is Google's unified messaging app, but there's something completely new on the way. At I/O 2016, Google just announced Allo. It's a messaging client that's connected to your phone number rather than an email (like WhatsApp). Google has included various smart prediction features, Google Assistant, and of course, stickers (yay).

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Android Wear 2.0 Announced With Watchface Integration With Other Apps, Handwriting Recognition And Gesture Keyboard, And A Developer Preview, And More

Fans of Android Wear have plenty to be excited about. A major update was just announced during the Google I/O 2016 keynote with many of the features users have been looking forward to. The headlining additions to the platform focus largely on more advanced watchfaces, improvements for messaging, and expanded integration and more automatic use of the Google Fit platform. A Preview program is also being launched for Wear, so developers will be able to work on new apps for the platform before official rollouts begin.

If you want a quick overview of what's new, watch our Wear 2.0 hands-on video.

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Android Instant Apps Is Google's New Way For You To Use Apps You Don't Have Installed

Sometimes content is just best accessed in its native app. But just as often, we have no need for that app beyond a single specific instance. To deal with this inefficiency, Google is introducing Android Instant Apps. For content that is deep-linked into participating apps, the app will seamlessly download and install to let you use it in that very moment.

The key to this working out, said Google's Ellie Powers, is having participating apps be built with modules.

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Android N Developer Preview 3 Is Now Available

The third iteration of the Android N dev preview is starting to hit devices, so it's time to turn that test unit back on. Google announced a few new goodies during the I/O keynote today, and they'll be available to play with in the latest N build.

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