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development

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Google announces Flutter 1.0, the first stable release of its cross-platform mobile development toolkit

Yesterday, at a dev-focused event at the Science Museum in London, UK, Google announced the 1.0 release of its cross-platform portable UI toolkit. Flutter has been in development since in 2015 with several betas being going out in the last year and a preview release this summer. It will allow developers to build apps that seamlessly work on both Android and iOS without maintaining separate codebases.

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Facebook may soon let users block comments containing chosen words and phrases from their timelines

Online harassment has been an issue for about as long as online communication has existed. Facebook is known for taking measures to combat abuse and bullying on its platform, and it seems the social network is working on another feature to that end. You may soon be able to block comments containing specified words, phrases, or emoji from appearing on your timeline.

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[Update: XZ2 Compact too] Sony has added the Xperia XZ2 and XZ3 to its Open Devices program

For developers wishing to tinker with Sony phones, the Open Devices program is a welcome official point of entry. The Japanese company adds most of its high-profile Android handsets to the list of supported devices after a little while, and the Xperia XZ2 and XZ3 are the latest to join the ranks.

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Google could give more devices an early taste of Android Q with earlier GSI (Generic System Image) releases

Project Treble seems to be making a dent in the fight against Android's fragmentation problem, and one of the keys to its success relies on something called a GSI (Generic System Image) which is basically a super-stock, AOSP-based image of the Android framework, and a required part of testing Treble compliance. According to a talk at the Android Dev Summit last week, Google may give more devices an advance taste of later Android versions via an earlier GSI release schedule.

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Google admits too much white in apps is bad for battery life

During the Android Dev Summit 2018 that was just held in Mountain View, Google admitted something we all basically knew anyway: it may have been wrong to use so much much white in its apps as it drains smartphone batteries faster than duller, darker colors. Thankfully, dark modes can alleviate the problem and lead to better battery life, and Google wants more devs to add one to their apps.

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APEX furthers the Android ROM modularization started by Treble

Google's Project Treble was created to help fight Android's dirty f-word (fragmentation), by making the update process easier and faster for OEMs. Separating vendor-specific code like SoC drivers out from Android itself was meant to help when it came to OS updates and the work required to push them out. Now Google is working on increasing just how modular Android can be with something called APEX.

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Google Playtime 2018 event focuses on building better apps in smaller bundles

Google's yearly invitation-only event for app and game developers took place today in Berlin and San Francisco today, and the key message was about reducing the size of app bundles. This new way of dynamically delivering Android apps was introduced this summer and support was added to Android Studio 3.2. Here are the main takeaways from Playtime 2018.

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Google to more closely monitor SMS and phone permissions of apps on Play Store

The Play Store may be packed with content, but there are some pretty strict rules in place when it comes to the things apps distributed by Google can do, and once in a while those rules are refreshed or tweaked. Starting this month, Google has refined its Developer Program Policies to include limits to call log and SMS permission access, explicit prohibitions against surveillance and "commercial spyware apps," and new Android Contacts API restrictions.

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[Update: Stable version now available] Android Studio 3.2 Beta is out with App Bundle support, Emulator Snapshots, and more

Android Studio is Google's recommended environment for developing Android applications, and plenty of new features were announced at Google I/O. Some of those improvements have now landed in the beta branch, with the release of Android Studio 3.2 Beta.

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