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9

Google's Flutter v1.12 UI framework adds support for web plugins, building macOS apps, and much more

Flutter turned out to be quite the dark horse in the development world as its approach to building interfaces to run across many different platforms has become quite popular. This concept of "ambient computing" is a big part of the Flutter Interact conference, which is in full swing right now with a bunch of big announcements. New versions of Flutter and Dart have been announced, bringing big performance improvements and new features. Partners have also been a big topic as Flutter integration is appearing in some popular tools. A few apps were even highlighted for their use of Flutter, including Google's new Stadia app for Android and iOS and Splice.

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10

ARCore's new Depth API will bring the next generation of hide-and-seek to phones

AR applications on Android have historically always had problems with proper depth sensing and distinguishing between foreground and background in the physical world. Whenever you'd add an AR object, it would just sit on top of the whole scenery in front of your viewfinder, regardless of whether or not something should realistically block the view. To combat this, Google today introduced the Depth API to ARCore. The new interface helps distinguish between real-world foreground and background so digital objects will be properly occluded while improving their path finding capabilities and physics.

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18

Android x86 project hits 9.0 Pie release candidate

Android's open source nature allows developers to tailor the OS exactly to their needs, and a team of programmers has taken it upon itself to build an Android version for the classic x86 desktop processor environment. The Android x86 project has now hit its next milestone and has published the first Android 9 Pie release candidate that people can run on their virtual machines or desktop computers.

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2

Google plans to add image support to Chrome Shared Clipboard

One of Chrome's most powerful and convenient features is its ability to sync data like bookmarks, passwords, and browser extensions across multiple devices. Chrome's usefulness got a boost when it began integrating a native clipboard sharing capability aptly called Shared Clipboard back in September.  In its nascent state, the feature was only capable of sharing plain text, including URLs, between devices. Now, further updates to the Chromium Gerrit have revealed the inclusion of image sharing in future versions of Chrome.

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10

Google open-sources Cardboard SDK to keep it alive

Long before Google introduced Daydream and subsequently left it dead in the water, the company created the Cardboard platform. You can use the carton headsets as an ultra-low-budget entry to VR to this day, and they're compatible with almost any regularly shaped phone on the market. Google has now open-sourced the underlying VR SDK which will allow interested developers to create their own VR experiences on Cardboard viewers and improve and enhance the project as they see fit.

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31

Android 11 could give file and backup managers exemptions from Scoped Storage

Google wanted to add a new API for file management called Scoped Storage to Android 10 that fundamentally changes apps' access to files. After enough developer backlash, the company decided to introduce a legacy flag for the old file access API and leave Scoped Storage completely optional until the next major OS release, though the fundamental critique remained unaddressed. According to an Android Dev Summit 2019 talk circulating on Reddit, some changes are headed developers' way. Google is considering allowing certain apps like file and backup managers access to a wider range of data while others will be stuck using Scoped Storage.

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54

Google explains how much faster the Sharesheet is in Android 10

One of the worst features in Android for a few years now has been the Sharesheet, the UI that pops up when you hit the share button in an app. In trying to offer you the most convenient and contextual sharing options every time it loads, the menu became incredibly slow and would infuriatingly update as you were about to make a selection. Google made some changes in Android 10 that have resulted in a better, faster sharing experience.

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10

Google plans to add another way for developers to sideload Android apps on Chromebooks

Google recently has revealed that sideloading Android apps on Chromebooks might be a bit easier for Android developers in the future, though it still won't be as simple as it is on an Android phone. Based on the news, which was first spotted by About Chromebooks, the feature may land as soon as Chrome OS 80, but the details currently provided make it clear this is a developer-targeted feature. In other words, you probably won't be installing Fortnite on your Chromebook any time soon.

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52

Google hypocritically flags Fleksy keyboard for mature content over 🖕 emoji

The popular Android keyboard app Fleksy was recently forced by Google to bump its Play Store rating to PEGI 16/Teen for "mature content." The content in question is apparently the middle finger emoji. This decision by Google stinks of hypocrisy, given that its own Android software keyboard Gboard includes the same emoji, and manages to finagle a PEGI 3/E rating on the Play Store.

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1

Android Studio 4.0 and big Jetpack updates announced at Android Dev Summit 2019

Google I/O isn't the only event where new tools, toys, and APIs come out for developers targeting the largest mobile operating system in the world; the Android Dev Summit has also become a venue for an assortment of important software releases and announcements. Last year's event included a number of topics ranging from support for folding phones to the new Generic System Images, and much more. This year hits on just as many subjects, but some of the top announcements will center around Android Studio 4.0, new Jetpack APIs, and Jetpack Compose.

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