For the past few years, the primary way to build Android applications has been through Google's Android Studio. The first stable release arrived in 2014, with version 2.0 appearing last year. The third major update was announced at Google I/O 2017, and now it is finally ready for prime time.
You might remember our intermittentcoverage of Android Automotive — not to be confused with the near-identically named Android Auto. The (really) short version is that Android Automotive is a full Android implementation in a car, rather than just a dumb projection of your phone. And, according to the folks at XDA, Google might be building an emulator for it in the Android SDK.
As more and more Chromebooks support running Android apps, it's becoming more important than ever to make sure developers create Chromebook-friendly apps. Google offers extensive documentation to help developers, but there was no way to test these apps without buying a real Chromebook. Thankfully, that could change soon, as recent code commits indicate a Chrome OS emulator will be arriving soon in the Android SDK.
Most of the apps that pass 50 million downloads on the Play Store are ones from major companies, but not this time. The newest app to join the 50 million club is PPSSPP, the popular open-source emulator for the Sony PlayStation Portable.
The Dolphin emulator is an impressive feat of software engineering. Starting as a GameCube emulator, it later added compatibility for Wii games, due to the similar architecture. Over the years, Dolphin has gradually improved game compatibility; they recently reported that every single retail GameCube game boots. Even accessories like the Wii Remote and Wii Balance Board work perfectly, and experimental Android builds of Dolphin have been in development for years.
Dolphin on Android still isn't as usable as other console emulators, but the fault mostly lies with current Android hardware. Even the Nvidia Shield console, one of the most powerful Android devices on the market, can't run games at full speed.
The Android Tools Team has been hard at work on version 2.2 of Android Studio, and it's finally ready to step up to a stable release. Demonstrated at Google I/O, the preview release of v2.2 introduced a plethora of great new features and improvements intended to make app development faster and easier. Over the last four months, Studio has been continually tested and refined to get it ready for all developers, regardless of which development channels they're normally following. For anybody that hasn't been following along with the canary or dev builds, the video below summarizes many of the new improvements in this release.
Jide's Remix OS has turned a lot of heads in the last couple of years, thanks to an interesting initial tablet offering and subsequent easy-to-install software for both PCs and a few Nexus tablets and even some retail hardware. The modified Android software, which uses a desktop-style window system for apps, is surprisingly robust and easy to use. Jide's latest move is to offer Remix as a virtual machine package, allowing Windows desktops, laptops, and tablets to run the Android ROM in a dedicated window alongside desktop applications.
With last month's release of the Android N Preview, the Tools team launched a preview release of Android Studio 2.1. Not only did the new version add support for the N Preview SDK, but it also brought a few important important and welcomed additions, including adoption and support for many of the language features in Java 8, a semi-official switch to the Jack compiler, an updated New Project wizard, and further improvements to the new and faster Android Emulator. As of today, Android Studio 2.1 has been promoted to Stable and is available to all developers.
The biggest advantage of updating and switching to the Jack compiler, aside from playing with new Android N APIs like Launcher Shortcuts, is probably the addition of Lambda Expressions.
The name Genymobile is well-known throughout the Android development community for building a very fast and efficient emulator before it was cool. Today, Genymobile announced an ambitious new direction for the technology: Genymotion Cloud. Tagged as the first cloud-based Android emulator, Genymotion Cloud is targeted at business and enterprise customers with some big new collaboration and automated testing features.
An Android emulator remains at the heart of Genymotion Cloud, but as the name implies, the emulators are running remotely. The idea here is that it's possible to set up an instance for use in a wide variety of ways.
Yesterday you read about (and maybe understood) the new Java 8 language features coming with the Android N Developer Preview. One of the prerequisites of using these improvements is the latest version of Android Studio. The IDE was briefly mentioned in that article, but we thought it deserved a little more attention for both the improvements and some of the caveats to updating right now.
The Android Studio 2.1 Preview 1 is based on the current 2.0 version in the beta channel. The changelog is basically a roadmap to supporting the new features promised with Android N: support for Java 8, improved support for the Jack compiler, and an updated New Project wizard to generate projects targeting the Android N Preview.