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Android P feature spotlight: Kotlin apps get a performance boost

Historically, Java has been the only officially-supported language for Android development. That changed last year, when Kotlin support was announced at Google I/O. Even though Kotlin still uses the Java Virtual Machine and can interact with Java code, there are some key changes that make some tasks significantly easier.

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Android P feature spotlight: ART improvements could allow apps to start faster and use less system memory

Android P will bring new improvements to ART – the Android Runtime – that sound kind of exciting. These performance and efficiency boosts are supposedly correlated with decreased app startup time and DEX memory usage. From the sounds of it, though, it seems like the difference will be marginal and noticeable only in certain cases.

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Android P Developer Preview timeline: 5 releases, final version scheduled for Q3

Just earlier this hour, Google released the details and images for the new Android P developer preview, and now we know what sort of schedule to expect for future releases—assuming Google sticks to it. The current plans are to push the 2nd Developer Preview in May. Two more are planned for June with a final image expected to land in July before the ultimate Q3 release. 

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Android P feature spotlight: Fingerprint authentication UI will be more consistent, plus unencrypted HTTP will be blocked by default by apps using Network Security Configuration

As anyone who uses apps that allow for fingerprint authentication will know, the UI for each app's prompt can differ wildly. Android P will attempt to combat this by providing a new API. Additionally, Google will be blocking cleartext (unencrypted HTTP) by default for apps that use Network Security Configurations.

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Android P feature spotlight: New multi-camera API and other improvements are on board

The latest as yet unnamed flavor of Android is now circulating for your unstable curiosity, and with it come a pile of new features, including a bunch of camera additions. The new multi-camera API available in Android P is an especially exciting enhancement because of its flexibility. Although there are obvious use cases, not even Google knows what novel applications developers might find for it.

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Android P developer preview images and OTA files are now live, but no beta program yet

Android P is making its first appearance today, and you can give it a shot right now if you've got the right hardware. The system images are now available on the Google developer site, but there aren't as many supported devices this time around. All you've got to choose from are the first and second generation Pixel phones.

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Android P SDK and emulator images appear in Android SDK Manager

If you've been curious about the next version of Android, there's a hint that something special may be coming soon. Check the Android SDK Manager on this morning and you'll spot packages for a new API level: Android P. There are packages for the SDK itself, plus Android TV, Google APIs, and Google Play variants of emulator images for x86.

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ARM announces Mali-G52 and G31 GPU designs, bringing AI performance benefits and Vulkan to the low-end

Today ARM has announced its new Mali G52 and G31 GPU designs, respectively targeting so-called "mainstream" and high-efficiency applications. The bigger G52 will someday make its way into more demanding use cases like TVs and high-end phones, where its 3.6x performance improvements in machine learning/AI workloads can be appreciated, while the G31 brings ARM's Bifrost architecture, Vulkan and all, to a more affordable level. 

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Crankshaft turns a Raspberry Pi 3 and a touchscreen into an Android Auto head unit

Android Auto-compatible head units aren't too difficult to find these days, but they cost a pretty penny and usually won't fit properly in older cars. A developer created a solution called Crankshaft to address both of those issues, and all you need to make it a reality is a Raspberry Pi 3 and a touchscreen.

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The first Android P developer preview will apparently arrive in mid-March

Android O developer previews began rolling out in March last year, and if a tweet from famed leaker Evan Blass is to be trusted, we should be getting the first Android P developer preview at approximately the same time. That means that we've only got one or two weeks to wait.

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