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development

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Google creates dedicated site for Android game development

Games make up a good chunk of Android's software library, so it only makes sense that Google would have some developer documentation just for games. Ahead of the 2019 Game Developer Conference, which starts in just a few days, Google has created a new portal for topics related to making games on Android.

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Android Q steps up the fight against overlay-based malware

One of the bigger developer-facing changes we've spotted in Android Q is a mild deprecation of the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW permission which controls overlays. (Think Facebook's chat heads or those Pokémon Go stats apps and you should get the idea.) Sideloaded apps on Android Q will see that permission revoked after 30 seconds, Play Store apps on Q will see it revoked on reboot, and the permission is being taken away entirely on the "Go" version of Android Q.

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Android Q includes some ART-related performance gains, developers can expect faster app launches and improved garbage collection

Android Q won't just bring new features, it's also set to further improve on the performance of previous Android releases via some tweaks to its ART compiler. In addition to detailing some recent benefits made to app distribution — which current devices running Android P will benefit from — Google also detailed some more technical changes to how ART improves app performance in Android Q.

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Android Studio 3.3 includes official Navigation Editor support and more than 200 bug fixes

If you're a developer of Android apps, there's a good chance you use Google's purpose-built Android Studio environment. The last update to version 3.2 came with one headline feature — App Bundles — plus a few incremental improvements, and now 3.3 has arrived.

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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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