This has been an exciting week for Android developers. The first Android 11 Beta rolled out, Android Studio received a significant update in the Beta/Canary channels, and a shiny new Play Console for publishing/managing applications is now available in beta. Thankfully, the new experimental Play Console addresses many common complaints with the current iteration, and it's definitely worth trying out if you're a Play Store developer.
Google introduced app bundles two years ago, which allows developers to split up the components of their apps, and only requires Play Store users to download the components their phone or tablet needs. The feature has drastically cut app download sizes, and now Google will make supporting app bundles a requirement for newly-published applications.
Mobile gaming has become a big deal in recent years, thanks to an increase in both smartphone performance and user base. While developers only have to deal with a very limited amount of hardware targets when it comes to iOS, publishing games for Android requires optimizing for a wide range of devices with varying levels of power. Now a new library in the Android Game SDK will help developers improve the performance of their games on Android phones in a much more streamlined fashion.
The big news today is the official release of the first Android 11 beta, but that's not all that Google has been working on. Today, the company also revealed a few updates for developers to get excited, like features coming to the Android Studio IDE and an overhauled Play Console.
Android Studio is Google's official development environment for creating Android applications. The past fewupdates have been relatively minor, mostly focusing on quality-of-life improvements and bug fixes, but Google has also been cooking up a larger upgrade. Android Studio 4.0 leaves beta today, and it's full of changes that should make creating apps a lot easier.
There are a lot of fun 3D objects like skeletons, cars, planets, and animals you can view in Google Search, which might be perfect to pass the time while you and your kids are stuck at home. The underlying technology enabling this is called Google Play Services for AR, formerly known as ARCore. It's an engine that powers most games and applications on Android that use augmented reality effects. However, since the framework has to be tuned for each device, Google has to periodically update Play Services to support new phones and tablets.
Every few months, Google opens up developer and merchant registration on the Play Console to more countries. The last few times it happened, devs in Iraq, Bermuda, Palestine, Somalia, and many more nations were able to sign up for an account on Google Play and start distributing their apps. Now, 13 African countries are joining the fray, plus Turkmenistan.
While the world is slowly progressing with faster Internet connectivity, and OEMs are iteratively offering more storage space in devices, it's still hard to keep up with the rate that games and some other apps have been growing. To combat this trend, Google is introducing a new Asset Delivery API so developers can further streamline the install process for games so users can get up and running even faster and with less space used.
In Android 11, evidence has surfaced that Google might finally add quick wallet access to the long-press power menu, but it looks like the company has much more in store for this system feature. XDA Developers has discovered that the menu might be turned into a control center for home automation, letting you easily manage smart appliances in your house.
Google is warning developers that app reviews may take seven days or more as a result of work schedule adjustments at the company. That means new app submissions will see delays, and even some updates might take longer to go through if they happen to trigger a manual review.