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Updated: 1 hour 38 min ago

Android Design Support Library

2 hours 32 min ago

Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate

Android 5.0 Lollipop was one of the most significant Android releases ever, in no small part due to the introduction of material design, a new design language that refreshed the entire Android experience. Our detailed spec is a great place to start to adopt material design, but we understand that it can be a challenge for developers, particularly ones concerned with backward compatibility. With a little help from the new Android Design Support Library, we’re bringing a number of important material design components to all developers and to all Android 2.1 or higher devices. You’ll find a navigation drawer view, floating labels for editing text, a floating action button, snackbar, tabs, and a motion and scroll framework to tie them together.

Navigation View

The navigation drawer can be an important focal point for identity and navigation within your app and consistency in the design here can make a considerable difference in how easy your app is to navigate, particularly for first time users. NavigationView makes this easier by providing the framework you need for the navigation drawer as well as the ability to inflate your navigation items through a menu resource.

You use NavigationView as DrawerLayout’s drawer content view with a layout such as:

<android.support.v4.widget.DrawerLayout
        xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
        xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="match_parent"
        android:fitsSystemWindows="true">

    <!-- your content layout -->

    <android.support.design.widget.NavigationView
            android:layout_width="wrap_content"
            android:layout_height="match_parent"
            android:layout_gravity="start"
            app:headerLayout="@layout/drawer_header"
            app:menu="@menu/drawer"/>
</android.support.v4.widget.DrawerLayout>

You’ll note two attributes for NavigationView: app:headerLayout controls the (optional) layout used for the header. app:menu is the menu resource inflated for the navigation items (which can also be updated at runtime). NavigationView takes care of the scrim protection of the status bar for you, ensuring that your NavigationView interacts with the status bar appropriately on API21+ devices.

The simplest drawer menus will be a collection of checkable menu items:

<group android:checkableBehavior="single">
    <item
        android:id="@+id/navigation_item_1"
        android:checked="true"
        android:icon="@drawable/ic_android"
        android:title="@string/navigation_item_1"/>
    <item
        android:id="@+id/navigation_item_2"
        android:icon="@drawable/ic_android"
        android:title="@string/navigation_item_2"/>
</group>

The checked item will appear highlighted in the navigation drawer, ensuring the user knows which navigation item is currently selected.

You can also use subheaders in your menu to separate groups of items:

<item
    android:id="@+id/navigation_subheader"
    android:title="@string/navigation_subheader">
    <menu>
        <item
            android:id="@+id/navigation_sub_item_1"
            android:icon="@drawable/ic_android"
            android:title="@string/navigation_sub_item_1"/>
        <item
            android:id="@+id/navigation_sub_item_2"
            android:icon="@drawable/ic_android"
            android:title="@string/navigation_sub_item_2"/>
    </menu>
</item>

You’ll get callbacks on selected items by setting a OnNavigationItemSelectedListener using setNavigationItemSelectedListener(). This provides you with the MenuItem that was clicked, allowing you to handle selection events, changed the checked status, load new content, programmatically close the drawer, or any other actions you may want.

Floating labels for editing text

Even the humble EditText has room to improve in material design. While an EditText alone will hide the hint text after the first character is typed, you can now wrap it in a TextInputLayout, causing the hint text to become a floating label above the EditText, ensuring that users never lose context in what they are entering.

In addition to showing hints, you can also display an error message below the EditText by calling setError().

Floating Action Button

A floating action button is a round button denoting a primary action on your interface. The Design library’s FloatingActionButton gives you a single consistent implementation, by default colored using the colorAccent from your theme.

In addition to the normal size floating action button, it also supports the mini size (fabSize="mini") when visual continuity with other elements is critical. As FloatingActionButton extends ImageView, you’ll use android:src or any of the methods such as setImageDrawable() to control the icon shown within the FloatingActionButton.

Snackbar

Providing lightweight, quick feedback about an operation is a perfect opportunity to use a snackbar. Snackbars are shown on the bottom of the screen and contain text with an optional single action. They automatically time out after the given time length by animating off the screen. In addition, users can swipe them away before the timeout.

By including the ability to interact with the Snackbar through swiping it away or actions, these are considerably more powerful than toasts, another lightweight feedback mechanism. However, you’ll find the API very familiar:

Snackbar
  .make(parentLayout, R.string.snackbar_text, Snackbar.LENGTH_LONG)
  .setAction(R.string.snackbar_action, myOnClickListener)
  .show(); // Don’t forget to show!

You’ll note the use of a View as the first parameter to make() - Snackbar will attempt to find an appropriate parent of the Snackbar’s view to ensure that it is anchored to the bottom.

Tabs

Switching between different views in your app via tabs is not a new concept to material design and they are equally at home as a top level navigation pattern or for organizing different groupings of content within your app (say, different genres of music).

The Design library’s TabLayout implements both fixed tabs, where the view’s width is divided equally between all of the tabs, as well as scrollable tabs, where the tabs are not a uniform size and can scroll horizontally. Tabs can be added programmatically:

TabLayout tabLayout = ...;
tabLayout.addTab(tabLayout.newTab().setText("Tab 1"));

However, if you are using a ViewPager for horizontal paging between tabs, you can create tabs directly from your PagerAdapter’s getPageTitle() and then connect the two together using setupWithViewPager(). This ensures that tab selection events update the ViewPager and page changes update the selected tab.

CoordinatorLayout, motion, and scrolling

Distinctive visuals are only one part of material design: motion is also an important part of making a great material designed app. While there are a lot of parts of motion in material design including touch ripples and meaningful transitions, the Design library introduces CoordinatorLayout, a layout which provides an additional level of control over touch events between child views, something which many of the components in the Design library take advantage of.

CoordinatorLayout and floating action buttons

A great example of this is when you add a FloatingActionButton as a child of your CoordinatorLayout and then pass that CoordinatorLayout to your Snackbar.make() call - instead of the snackbar displaying over the floating action button, the FloatingActionButton takes advantage of additional callbacks provided by CoordinatorLayout to automatically move upward as the snackbar animates in and returns to its position when the snackbar animates out on Android 3.0 and higher devices - no extra code required.

CoordinatorLayout also provides an layout_anchor attribute which, along with layout_anchorGravity, can be used to place floating views, such as the FloatingActionButton, relative to other views.

CoordinatorLayout and the app bar

The other main use case for the CoordinatorLayout concerns the app bar (formerly action bar) and scrolling techniques. You may already be using a Toolbar in your layout, allowing you to more easily customize the look and integration of that iconic part of an app with the rest of your layout. The Design library takes this to the next level: using an AppBarLayout allows your Toolbar and other views (such as tabs provided by TabLayout) to react to scroll events in a sibling view marked with a ScrollingViewBehavior. Therefore you can create a layout such as:

 <android.support.design.widget.CoordinatorLayout
        xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
        xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="match_parent">
     
     <! -- Your Scrollable View -->
    <android.support.v7.widget.RecyclerView
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="match_parent"
            app:layout_behavior="@string/appbar_scrolling_view_behavior" />

    <android.support.design.widget.AppBarLayout
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content">
   <android.support.v7.widget.Toolbar
                  ...
                  app:layout_scrollFlags="scroll|enterAlways">

        <android.support.design.widget.TabLayout
                  ...
                  app:layout_scrollFlags="scroll|enterAlways">
     </android.support.design.widget.AppBarLayout>
</android.support.design.widget.CoordinatorLayout>

Now, as the user scrolls the RecyclerView, the AppBarLayout can respond to those events by using the children’s scroll flags to control how they enter (scroll on screen) and exit (scroll off screen). Flags include:

  • scroll: this flag should be set for all views that want to scroll off the screen - for views that do not use this flag, they’ll remain pinned to the top of the screen
  • enterAlways: this flag ensures that any downward scroll will cause this view to become visible, enabling the ‘quick return’ pattern
  • enterAlwaysCollapsed: When your view has declared a minHeight and you use this flag, your View will only enter at its minimum height (i.e., ‘collapsed’), only re-expanding to its full height when the scrolling view has reached it’s top.
  • exitUntilCollapsed: this flag causes the view to scroll off until it is ‘collapsed’ (its minHeight) before exiting

One note: all views using the scroll flag must be declared before views that do not use the flag. This ensures that all views exit from the top, leaving the fixed elements behind.

Collapsing Toolbars

Adding a Toolbar directly to an AppBarLayout gives you access to the enterAlwaysCollapsed and exitUntilCollapsed scroll flags, but not the detailed control on how different elements react to collapsing. For that, you can use CollapsingToolbarLayout:

<android.support.design.widget.AppBarLayout
        android:layout_height="192dp"
        android:layout_width="match_parent">
    <android.support.design.widget.CollapsingToolbarLayout
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="match_parent"
            app:layout_scrollFlags="scroll|exitUntilCollapsed">
        <android.support.v7.widget.Toolbar
                android:layout_height="?attr/actionBarSize"
                android:layout_width="match_parent"
                app:layout_collapseMode="pin"/>
        </android.support.design.widget.CollapsingToolbarLayout>
</android.support.design.widget.AppBarLayout>

This setup uses CollapsingToolbarLayout’s app:layout_collapseMode="pin" to ensure that the Toolbar itself remains pinned to the top of the screen while the view collapses. Even better, when you use CollapsingToolbarLayout and Toolbar together, the title will automatically appear larger when the layout is fully visible, then transition to its default size as it is collapsed. Note that in those cases, you should call setTitle() on the CollapsingToolbarLayout, rather than on the Toolbar itself.

In addition to pinning a view, you can use app:layout_collapseMode="parallax" (and optionally app:layout_collapseParallaxMultiplier="0.7" to set the parallax multiplier) to implement parallax scrolling (say of a sibling ImageView within the CollapsingToolbarLayout). This use case pairs nicely with the app:contentScrim="?attr/colorPrimary" attribute for CollapsingToolbarLayout, adding a full bleed scrim when the view is collapsed.

CoordinatorLayout and custom views

One thing that is important to note is that CoordinatorLayout doesn’t have any innate understanding of a FloatingActionButton or AppBarLayout work - it just provides an additional API in the form of a Coordinator.Behavior, which allows child views to better control touch events and gestures as well as declare dependencies between each other and receive callbacks via onDependentViewChanged().

Views can declare a default Behavior by using the CoordinatorLayout.DefaultBehavior(YourView.Behavior.class) annotation,or set it in your layout files by with the app:layout_behavior="com.example.app.YourView$Behavior" attribute. This framework makes it possible for any view to integrate with CoordinatorLayout.

Available now!

The Design library is available now, so make sure to update the Android Support Repository in the SDK Manager. You can then start using the Design library with a single new dependency:

 compile 'com.android.support:design:22.2.0'

Note that as the Design library depends on the Support v4 and AppCompat Support Libraries, those will be included automatically when you add the Design library dependency. We also took care that these new widgets are usable in the Android Studio Layout Editor’s Design view (find them under CustomView), giving you an easier way to preview some of these new components.

The Design library, AppCompat, and all of the Android Support Library are important tools in providing the building blocks needed to build a modern, great looking Android app without building everything from scratch.

Join the discussion on

+Android Developers
Categories: Programming

Android M Developer Preview & Tools

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 07:16

By Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

Today at Google I/O, we announced a developer preview of the next version of Android, the M release. Last year’s developer preview was a first for Android and we received great feedback. We want to continue to give you developers early access to Android so you have time to get your apps ready for the next version of Android. This time with the M Developer Preview, we will provide a clear timeline for testing and feedback plus more updates to the preview build.

Visit the M Developer Preview for downloads and documentation

The Android M release: improving the fundamentals

For the M release, we focused on improving the core user experience of Android, from fixing thousands of bugs, to making some big changes to the fundamentals of the platform:

  • Permissions - We are giving users control of app permissions in the M release. Apps can trigger requests for permissions at runtime, in the right context, and users can choose whether to grant the permission. Making permission requests right when they’re needed means users can get up and running in your app faster. Also, users have easy access to manage all their app permissions in settings. On M, as a developer, you should design your app to prompt for permissions in context and account for permissions that don’t get granted. As more devices upgrade to M, app permission behavior will be a critical development flow to test.
  • Runtime App Permissions

  • App links - We are making it even easier to link between apps. Android has always allowed apps to register to natively handle URLs. Now you can add an autoVerify attribute to your app manifest so that users can be linked deep into your native app without any disambiguation prompt. App links, along with App Indexing for Google search, make it easier for users to discover and re-engage with your app.
  • Battery - We’re making Android devices smarter about managing power through a new feature called Doze. With M, Android uses significant motion detection to learn if a device has been left unattended for a while. In this state, Android will exponentially back off background activity, trading off a little bit of app freshness for longer battery life. Consider how this may affect your app; for instance, if you’re building a chat app, you may want to make use of high priority messages to wake your app when the device is dozing.

The Android M release: advancing assistance and payments

We are also delighted to announce a couple of big new features:

  • Now on tap - We are making it even easier for Android users to get assistance with Now on tap -- whenever they need it, wherever they are on their device. For example, if your friend texts you about dinner at a new restaurant, without leaving the app, you can ask Google Now for help. Using just that context, Google can find menus, reviews, help you book a table, navigate there, and deep link you into relevant apps. As a developer, you can implement App Indexing for Google search to let users discover and re-engage with your app through Now on tap.
  • Now on tap

  • Android Pay & Fingerprint - We’ve built on our work with Near Field Communications (NFC) in Gingerbread and Host Card Emulation in Kitkat to develop Android Pay. Android Pay will enable Android users to simply and securely use their Android phone to pay in stores or in thousands of Android Pay partner apps. With M, native fingerprint support enhances Android Pay by allowing users to confirm a purchase with their fingerprint. Moreover, fingerprint on M can be used to unlock devices and make purchases on Google Play. With new APIs in M, it’s easy for you to add fingerprint authorization to your app and have it work consistently across a range of devices and sensors.

These are just a few highlights from the M Developer Preview that we announced today. The M preview will be available for download right after the keynote.

Android Developer Tools

In addition to the developer preview, we are launching new tools to help you in the development of your Android App:

  • Android Studio v1.3 Preview - To help take advantage of the M Developer Preview features, we are releasing a new version of Android Studio. Most notable is a much requested feature from our Android NDK & game developers: code editing and debugging for C/C++ code. Based on JetBrains Clion platform, the Android Studio NDK plugin provides features such as refactoring and code completion for C/C++ code alongside your Java code. Java and C/C++ code support is integrated into one development experience free of charge for Android app developers. Update to Android Studio v1.3 via the Canary channel and let us know what you think.
  • Android Studio 1.3 with Android NDK Support

  • Android Design Support Library - Making Material design apps gets even easier with the new Android Design support library. We have packaged a set a key design components (e.g floating action button, snackbar, navigation view, motion enabled Toolbars) that are backward compatible to API 7 and can be added to your app to create a modern, great looking Android app without building everything from scratch.
  • Google Play Services - Today we also are releasing v7.5 of Google Play services which includes new features ranging from Smart Lock for Passwords, new APIs for Google Cloud Messaging and Google Cast, to Google Maps API on Android Wear devices.
Get Started

The M Developer Preview includes an updated SDK with tools, system images for testing on the official Android emulator, and system images for testing on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player devices. We are excited to expand the program and give you more time to ensure your apps support M when it launches this fall. Based on your feedback, we plan to update the M Developer preview system images often during the developer preview program. The sooner we hear from you, the more feedback we can integrate, so let us know!

To get started with the M Developer Preview and prepare your apps for the full release, just follow these steps:

  1. Update to Android Studio v1.3+ Preview
  2. Visit the M Developer Preview site for downloads and documentation.
  3. Explore the new APIs & App Permissions changes
  4. Explore the Android Design Support Library & Google Play Services APIs
  5. Get the emulator system images through the SDK Manager or download the Nexus device system images.
  6. Test your app with your supported Nexus device or emulator
  7. Give us feedback
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+Android Developers
Categories: Programming

Empowering successful global businesses on Google Play

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 05:49

Posted by Ellie Powers, Product Manager, Google Play

With more than 50 billion app installs over the past year from users across 190 countries, Google Play continues to see incredible growth thanks to developers like you creating amazing experiences. Play is now reaching more than one billion users every month.

In February, we announced that we had paid out more than $7 billion to developers in the prior year alone. This week at Google I/O, we’re introducing new and powerful tools to help you further grow your business, improve decision making based on smarter insights, and better engage your user base with more relevant content.

Acquire users from the Developer Console

Once you’ve built a great app, the next important step is to proactively find ways to promote it and grow a loyal user base. App install ads are one powerful way to do that. In the coming months, you’ll be able to quickly and easily set up ad campaigns right from within the Google Play Developer Console for the first time.

All you need to do is set a total budget and the cost you're willing to pay per user and we’ll scale your app promotion across our networks, including Google Search, AdMob, YouTube and the search ads we’re piloting on Google Play. With this new feature, you will will be able to better find the customers that are most likely to install your app.

Actionable insights with the Acquisition and Conversion Funnel

Whether you pay to acquire users or not, you want to know where they’re coming from. Through the Developer Console, you will soon be able to get a snapshot of how many users visit your Store listing, install your app, and make purchases. You’ll see where your most valuable users come from — across organic and paid traffic — and better understand where to focus your efforts.

Optimize your Play store listing with experiments

Your Play Store listing is extremely important, as it’s often the first touch point users have with your app. Starting today, we’re making it easier to optimize this page with support for A/B tests. You can run experiments with different versions of text and graphics to see which are most effective in converting visits into installs on Google Play. In our pilot program, we were thrilled to see that some developers like Kongregate achieved double-digit improvements in their install rates so far.

Test your app automatically on real devices with Cloud Test Lab

With the large variety of Android form factors in the market, testing your app on real devices is a critical step to ensuring a positive user experience on any device. However, you may not have access to every device that your users do. So we’re integrating the newly announced Cloud Test Lab into the Developer Console, which will allow you to automatically test your apps on hundreds of popular physical Android devices for free. We’re going to be rolling out this pilot program gradually, so we’ll welcome your feedback on it.

For each APK you upload to an alpha or beta channel, Google Play will execute fully automated testing of your app against physical devices matching your app targeting criteria and output a report with a detailed analysis of issues, including screenshots and logs. Google Cloud Test Lab will roll out to all developers later this year; you can sign-up to become a tester in the Developer Console now.

Build a data-driven games business with Player Analytics

Google Play Games has activated more than 180M new users in the past six months and continues to be the fastest growing mobile gaming platform in history.

Over the coming months, we're adding new reports, player segments, game metrics, and event types to Player Analytics to help you manage your games business. We're also bringing enhancements to our live operations tools that will enable dynamic content updates that make games feel more alive and engaging, gameplay to respond to changing player needs, and more fun, personalized user experiences. As the bar for success in mobile gaming continues to rise, we’re continuing to evolve our tools to help you meet the soaring expectations of players.

Find great apps – developer pages and search results

There are several ways in which we are improving the discoverability of great apps and games on Google Play to help drive more engagement. Starting today, you can create a unique homepage on Google Play to promote your entire app catalog. With your own developer page, you are able to upload graphics, explain what your company is all about and pick a special app to feature. This gives you a single destination to promote all of your apps on Google Play.

We are also helping guide users with broad interests (e.g. “shopping”) in a new search results experience.

The focus is on organizing results in an intuitive way that allows users to narrow their intent -- such as grouping shopping apps into coupons apps and fashion apps. By doing so, users will be able to better see the range of apps that satisfy their needs, while also increasing the chances of discovering new and innovative apps that you’re building.

Family-friendly content in Google Play

Starting today, we’re making it easier to find family-friendly content on Google Play through new discovery features. On the Apps & Games and Movies & TV homepages, users can now hit the “Family” star to see a curated set of options for specific age groups. In Play Books, tap the “Children’s Books” star. These pages let you browse by age ranges to find content that’s the best fit for the family. If you’ve already opted-in your apps to the Designed for Families program and they’ve met the requirements, they’ll be included in the new family section so that parents can find suitable, trusted, high-quality apps and games more easily. Find out more about opting-in to the Designed for Families program.

Join us at Google I/O 2015

To learn more, tune-in live to “Developers connecting the world through Google Play” at 1pm PT / 4pm ET / 9pm GMT on May 29 on google.com/io.

If you’re at I/O 2015, come along to our breakout sessions where we’ll be talking about and demo’ing these new features. Find our sessions in the I/O 2015 schedule.

Check out developer.android.com/distribute over the coming weeks and months as we add I/O videos and more details about these and other new features.

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+Android Developers
Categories: Programming

Announcing the Material Design Showcase and Awards

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 05:00

Posted by Rich Fulcher, Material Design Team

When we first announced material design in June 2014, we shared an aspirational highlights reel that demonstrated key material principles for motion, interaction, and visual design across a range of hypothetical apps. “Hypothetical” being the key word here—back then, material design was just an idea. Sure, designers and engineers at Google were already working hard on applying material to Google’s Android, iOS, and web apps, but the notion of a single design system that can work across platforms and brands was just an idea.

Fast-forward to today, and thousands of Android apps are adopting material design using the Android 5.0 SDK and AppCompat, while designers and developers begin to experiment with material design on iOS and the web as well. These apps are starting to realize that aspirational vision we set out with that sizzle reel.

Today, we’re celebrating the amazing design work from Google Play developers and announcing the Material Design Showcase and Material Design Awards.

With the Material Design Showcase, we’re highlighting 18 great material design apps through a collection on Google Play, just like with the Beautiful Design collection in years past.

Of those 18 apps, we’re recognizing 6 with a special award, which we handed out during Google I/O today and announced at the Material Now session hosted by Matias Duarte.

These 6 winners of our first ever Material Design Awards represent best-in-class applications of specific aspects of material design:

B&H Photo Video Audio Pro for Immersive Imagery

New York Times for Elegant Typography

Pocket for Adaptive Layouts

Pocket Casts for Seamless Browsing

Tumblr for Delightful Animation

Weather Timeline for Crafted Simplicity

So today, we have a new highlights reel, featuring these six wonderful and very real apps:


The individuals, teams, and companies behind these apps have made the promise of material design that much more of a reality.

What’s next

But remember, this is only the beginning. We’ll continue to recognize excellent material design in the future, evolving the awards as we evolve material design itself—together as a community.

If you’re a designer or developer just starting out with material design, make sure to check out these 18 apps in the Material Design Showcase. They’re a great source of inspiration, in addition to the awesome content on community sites like Dribbble. And if you’re wondering how to start implementing some of these ideas, get started today with the Creating Apps with Material Design training docs. When you publish your next great app with material design, be sure to let us know on Google+ and Twitter!

Categories: Programming

A Closer Look at Google Play services 7.5

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 20:27

Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate

At Google I/O, we announced the rollout of Google Play services 7.5 that deliver new capabilities and optimizations to devices across the Android ecosystem. Google Play services ensures that you can build on the latest features from Google for your users, with the confidence that those services will work properly on Android 2.3 and higher devices.

You’ll find the addition of Smart Lock for Passwords, Instance ID, new APIs for Google Cloud Messaging and Google Cast, as well as access to the Google Maps API on Android Wear devices.

Smart Lock for Passwords

Typing in a password, particularly on a mobile device, is never a pleasant experience. In many cases, your users have already logged in on the web or another device - shouldn’t your login process know that? Smart Lock for Passwords builds on the Chrome Password Manager, adding a new CredentialsApi API and UI on Android to retrieve saved credentials as part of your login process and saving new credentials for later use on other Android devices and any Chrome browser. Both password-based and Identity Provider (IDP, like Google Sign-In) credentials are supported. Keep your users logged in as they move between and to new devices; don’t let them drop off, get frustrated, or end up with multiple accounts.

Learn more about Smart Lock for Passwords on the developer site.

Instance ID, Identity, and Authorization

Instance ID (IID) allows you to retrieve a unique identifier for every app instance, providing a mechanism to authenticate and authorize actions, even if your app does not have user registration and accounts. For example, this allows you to uniquely determine which app instance is sending a request from by including the Instance ID token. We’ve also made it easy to handle edge cases to ensure that you’ll have valid Instance ID tokens.

Google Cloud Messaging

Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) gives developers a battery efficient mechanism for sending information to your users as well as send upstream messages from a device to your server.

Google Cloud Messaging and InstanceID

Previously, GCM used a unique registration ID to refer to each device - while these IDs will continue to work, you can now utilize Instance ID tokens for GCM, gaining all of the advantages of InstanceID around handling error cases. Instance ID tokens are fully compatible with user notifications, allowing you to send notifications to all of a user's devices.

Topic based subscriptions

You’ll also get another new feature for switching to InstanceID with GCM - topic based subscriptions! This makes it easy to publish a message to exactly the right audience and have GCM handle all the heavy lifting of sending to all subscribed instances. Your app can subscribe to multiple topics, allowing you to create any set of topics needed to best handle your app’s messaging needs.

Receiving messages with GCM

Of course, just subscribing to receive messages is only half the battle: receiving GCM messages can now be done using a GcmReceiver and a subclass of GcmListenerService. These two classes make it easy to help your app reliably process messages, even when the device is awakened from deep sleep.

GCM Network Manager

Applications often need to sync data with their servers when new information is available. In GCM we refer to this model as “send to sync”. We made this task much simpler with the introduction of the GCM Network Manager APIs, which handles many of the common implementation patterns such as waiting for network connectivity, device charging, network retries, and backoff. GcmNetworkManager will schedule your background tasks when it is most appropriate and it can batch multiple tasks together for efficiency and battery savings, even utilizing the JobScheduler APIs for best performance on Android 5.0+ devices. With support for both one-off tasks and periodic tasks, this API serves as a flexible framework for many different types of operations.

App Invites Beta

Now in beta, App Invites is new functionality for both Android and iOS that provides a standard UI for users to invite their contacts to install your app and optionally deep link specifically to selected content, using your users’ device and Google-wide contacts as a source to drive referrals to increase the reach of your app.

With the ability to send invites via SMS or email, this provides a great mechanism to organically grow your user base, give your users a consistent way to share your app with exactly who would like it, and track how effective your invites are.

With App Invites, our goal is to take the hard work out of building user referral and onboarding flows, so that you can focus on your core app experience. Learn more about App Invites on the developer site!

Google Cast

Google Cast is a technology that lets you easily cast content from your mobile device or laptop right to your TV or speakers. With the new ability to use remote display on any Android, iOS, or Chrome app, better media support, better game support, we hope your Google Cast experience is better than ever!

Remote Display API

We are making it easy for mobile developers to bring graphically intensive apps or games to Google Cast receivers with Google Cast Remote Display APIs for Android and iOS. The new Remote Display API allows you to build a tailored, integrated second screen experience, without requiring an identical mirroring of content between mobile devices and the Google Cast device.

Learn more about Remote Display on the Google Cast Developers Site!

Autoplay and Queuing APIs

Playing single media items on Chromecast has been something RemoteMediaPlayer (or CastCompanionLibrary’s VideoCastController) has been doing well for some time. With this release, RemoteMediaPlayer is gaining a full media queue and support for autoplay for a seamless media playback experience. This ensures that all connected devices can easily maintain a synchronized queue of upcoming media items, opening up new possibilities of creating collaborative Google Cast media experiences.

Game Manager APIs for Google Cast

Bringing your game to Google Cast can make for a great multiplayer experience, using a mobile device as a game controller and the TV to display the action. To make it easier to send messages and state changes to all connected clients and the cast receiver, Google Play services 7.5 introduces the GameManagerClient and the Game Manager APIs for Google Cast, available for Android, iOS, Chrome, and for receivers.

Android Wear

Watches are great devices for telling time. But what if in addition showing you when you are, watches could easily show you where you are? With the new release, you can now use the familiar Maps APIs on Android Wear devices:

This makes it possible to display fully interactive maps, as well as lite mode maps, directly on Android Wear devices. You’ll be able to scroll and zoom interactive maps, show the user’s current location, and more. Check out the full list of supported features in the developer documentation and check out all the details on the Geo Developers blog.

Google Fit

Google Fit is an open platform designed to make building fitness apps, whether that means retrieving sensor data like current location and speed, collecting and storing activity data, or automatically aggregating that data into a single view of the user’s fitness data.

You’ll now be able to use the RecordingApi for gathering estimated distance traveled and calories burned data, making it available to your app and other Google Fit enabled apps via the HistoryApi.

Being active can take many forms. While some activities are easily measured in terms of steps or distance, strength training is measured in terms of type, resistance and repetitions. This type of data can now be stored in Google Fit via new support for a large number of workout exercises, helping users build a complete view of their activity.

SDK is now available!

Google Play services 7.5 is now available: get started with updated SDK now!

To learn more about Google Play services and the APIs available to you through it, visit the Google APIs for Android site.

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Categories: Programming

Game Performance: Geometry Instancing

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 01:57

Posted by Shanee Nishry, Games Developer Advocate

Imagine a beautiful virtual forest with countless trees, plants and vegetation, or a stadium with countless people in the crowd cheering. If you are heroic you might like the idea of an epic battle between armies.

Rendering a lot of meshes is desired to create a beautiful scene like a forest, a cheering crowd or an army, but doing so is quite costly and reduces the frame rate. Fortunately this is possible using a simple technique called Geometry Instancing.

Geometry instancing can be used in 2D games for rendering a large number of sprites, or in 3D for things like particles, characters and environment.

The NDK code sample More Teapots demoing the content of this article can be found with the ndk inside the samples folder and in the git repository.

Support and Extensions

Geometry instancing is available from OpenGL ES 3.0 and to OpenGL 2.0 devices which support the GL_NV_draw_instanced or GL_EXT_draw_instanced extensions. More information on how to using the extensions is shown in the More Teapots demo.

Overview

Submitting draw calls causes OpenGL to queue commands to be sent to the GPU, this has an expensive overhead which may affect performance. This overhead grows when changing states such as alpha blending function, active shader, textures and buffers.

Geometry Instancing is a technique that combines multiple draws of the same mesh into a single draw call, resulting in reduced overhead and potentially increased performance. This works even when different transformations are required.

The algorithm

To explain how Geometry Instancing works let’s quickly overview traditional drawing.

Traditional Drawing

To a draw a mesh you’d usually prepare a vertex buffer and an index buffer, bind your shader and buffers, set your uniforms such as a World View Projection matrix and make a draw call.

To draw multiple instances using the same mesh you set new uniform values for the transformations and other data and call draw again. This is repeated for every instance.

Drawing with Geometry Instancing

Geometry Instancing reduces CPU overhead by reducing the sequence described above into a single buffer and draw call.

It works by using an additional buffer which contains custom per-instance data needed by your shader, such as transformations, color, light data.

The first change to your workflow is to create the additional buffer on initialization stage.

To put it into code let’s define an example per-instance data that includes a world view projection matrix and a color:

C++

struct PerInstanceData
{
 Mat4x4 WorldViewProj;
 Vector4 Color;
};

You also need to the structure to your shader. The easiest way is by creating a Uniform Block with an array:

GLSL

#define MAX_INSTANCES 512

layout(std140) uniform PerInstanceData {
    struct
    {
        mat4      uMVP;
        vec4      uColor;
    } Data[ MAX_INSTANCES ];
};

Note that uniform blocks have limited sizes. You can find the maximum number of bytes you can use by querying for GL_MAX_UNIFORM_BLOCK_SIZE using glGetIntegerv.

Example:

GLint max_block_size = 0;
glGetIntegerv( GL_MAX_UNIFORM_BLOCK_SIZE, &max_block_size );

Bind the uniform block on the CPU in your program’s initialization stage:

C++

#define MAX_INSTANCES 512
#define BINDING_POINT 1
GLuint shaderProgram; // Compiled shader program

// Bind Uniform Block
GLuint blockIndex = glGetUniformBlockIndex( shaderProgram, "PerInstanceData" );
glUniformBlockBinding( shaderProgram, blockIndex, BINDING_POINT );

And create a corresponding uniform buffer object:

C++

// Create Instance Buffer
GLuint instanceBuffer;

glGenBuffers( 1, &instanceBuffer );
glBindBuffer( GL_UNIFORM_BUFFER, instanceBuffer );
glBindBufferBase( GL_UNIFORM_BUFFER, BINDING_POINT, instanceBuffer );

// Initialize buffer size
glBufferData( GL_UNIFORM_BUFFER, MAX_INSTANCES * sizeof( PerInstanceData ), NULL, GL_DYNAMIC_DRAW );

The next step is to update the instance data every frame to reflect changes to the visible objects you are going to draw. Once you have your new instance buffer you can draw everything with a single call to glDrawElementsInstanced.

You update the instance buffer using glMapBufferRange. This function locks the buffer and retrieves a pointer to the byte data allowing you to copy your per-instance data. Unlock your buffer using glUnmapBuffer when you are done.

Here is a simple example for updating the instance data:

const int NUM_SCENE_OBJECTS = …; // number of objects visible in your scene which share the same mesh

// Bind the buffer
glBindBuffer( GL_UNIFORM_BUFFER, instanceBuffer );

// Retrieve pointer to map the data
PerInstanceData* pBuffer = (PerInstanceData*) glMapBufferRange( GL_UNIFORM_BUFFER, 0,
                NUM_SCENE_OBJECTS * sizeof( PerInstanceData ),
                GL_MAP_WRITE_BIT | GL_MAP_INVALIDATE_RANGE_BIT );

// Iterate the scene objects
for ( int i = 0; i < NUM_SCENE_OBJECTS; ++i )
{
    pBuffer[ i ].WorldViewProj = ... // Copy World View Projection matrix
    pBuffer[ i ].Color = …               // Copy color
}

glUnmapBuffer( GL_UNIFORM_BUFFER ); // Unmap the buffer

And finally you can draw everything with a single call to glDrawElementsInstanced or glDrawArraysInstanced (depending if you are using an index buffer):

glDrawElementsInstanced( GL_TRIANGLES, NUM_INDICES, GL_UNSIGNED_SHORT, 0,
                NUM_SCENE_OBJECTS );

You are almost done! There is just one more step to do. In your shader you need to make use of the new uniform buffer object for your transformations and colors. In your shader main program:

void main()
{
    …
    gl_Position = PerInstanceData.Data[ gl_InstanceID ].uMVP * inPosition;
    outColor = PerInstanceData.Data[ gl_InstanceID ].uColor;
}

You might have noticed the use gl_InstanceID. This is a predefined OpenGL vertex shader variable that tells your program which instance it is currently drawing. Using this variable your shader can properly iterate the instance data and match the correct transformation and color for every vertex.

That’s it! You are now ready to use Geometry Instancing. If you are drawing the same mesh multiple times in a frame make sure to implement Geometry Instancing in your pipeline! This can greatly reduce overhead and improve performance.

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Categories: Programming

Power Great Gaming with New Analytics from Play Games

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 01:22

By Ben Frenkel, Google Play Games team

A few weeks ago at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), we announced Play Games Player Analytics, a new set of free reports to help you manage your games business and understand in-game player behavior. Today, we’re excited to make these new tools available to you in the Google Play Developer Console.

Analytics is a key component of running a game as a service, which is increasingly becoming a necessity for running a successful mobile gaming business. When you take a closer look at large developers that do this successfully, you find that they do three things really well:

  • Manage their business to revenue targets
  • Identify hot spots in their business metrics so they can continuously focus on the game updates that will drive the most impact
  • Use analytics to understand how players are progressing, spending, and churning

“With player engagement and revenue data living under one roof, developers get a level of data quality that is simply not available to smaller teams without dedicated staff. As the tools evolve, I think Google Play Games Player Analytics will finally allow indie devs to confidently make data-driven changes that actually improve revenue.”

Kevin Pazirandeh
Developer of Zombie Highway 2

With Player Analytics, we wanted to make these capabilities available to the entire developer ecosystem on Google Play in a frictionless, easy-to-use way, freeing up your precious time to create great gaming experiences. Small studios, including the makers of Zombie Highway 2 and Bombsquad, have already started to see the benefits and impact of Player Analytics on their business.

Further, if you integrate with Google Play game services, you get this set of analytics with no incremental effort. But, for a little extra work, you can also unlock another set of high impact reports by integrating Google Play game services Events, starting with the Sources and Sinks report, a report to help you balance your in-game economy.

If you already have a game integrated with Google Play game services, go check out the new reports in the Google Play Developer Console today. For everyone else, enabling Player Analytics is as simple as adding a handful of lines of code to your game to integrate Google Play game services.

Manage your business to revenue targets

Set your spend target in Player Analytics by choosing a daily goal

To help assess the health of your games business, Player Analytics enables you to select a daily in-app purchase revenue target and then assess how you're doing against that goal through the Target vs Actual report depicted below. Learn more.

Identify hot spots using benchmarks with the Business Drivers report

Ever wonder how your game’s performance stacks up against other games? Player Analytics tells you exactly how well you are doing compared to similar games in your category.

Metrics highlighted in red are below the benchmark. Arrows indicate whether a metric is trending up or down, and any cell with the icon can be clicked to see more details about the underlying drivers of the change. Learn more.

Track player retention by new user cohort

In the Retention report, you can see the percentage of players that continued to play your game on the following seven days after installing your game.

Learn more.

See where players are spending their time, struggling, and churning with the Player Progression report

Measured by the number of achievements players have earned, the Player Progression funnel helps you identify where your players are struggling and churning to help you refine your game and, ultimately, improve retention. Add more achievements to make progression tracking more precise.

Learn more.

Manage your in-game economy with the Sources and Sinks report

The Sources and Sinks report helps you balance your in-game economy by showing the relationship between how quickly players are earning or buying and using resources.

For example, Eric Froemling, one man developer of BombSquad, used the Sources & Sinks report to help balance the rate at which players earned and spent tickets.

Read more about Eric’s experience with Player Analytics in his recent blog post.

To enable the Sources and Sinks report you will need to create and integrate Play game services Events that track sources of premium currency (e.g., gold coins earned), and sinks of premium currency (e.g., gold coins spent to buy in-app items).

Categories: Programming

Integrate Play data into your workflow with data exports

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 00:09

Posted by Frederic Mayot, Google Play team

The Google Play Developer Console makes a wealth of data available to you so you have the insight needed to successfully publish, grow, and monetize your apps and games. We appreciate that some developers want to access and analyze their data beyond the visualization offered today in the Developer Console, which is why we’ve made financial information, crash data, and user reviews available for export. We're now also making all the statistics on your apps and games (installs, ratings, GCM usage, etc.) accessible via Google Cloud Storage.

New Reports section in the Google Play Developer Console

We’ve added a Reports tab to the Developer Console so that you can view and access all available data exports in one place.

A reliable way to access Google Play data

This is the easiest and most reliable way to download your Google Play Developer Console statistics. You can access all of your reports, including install statistics, reviews, crashes, and revenue.

Programmatic access to Google Play data

This new Google Cloud Storage access will open up a wealth of possibilities. For instance, you can now programmatically:

  • import install and revenue data into your in-house dashboard
  • run custom analysis
  • import crashes and ANRs into your bug tracker
  • import reviews into your CRM to monitor feedback and reply to your users

Your data is available in a Google Cloud Storage bucket, which is most easily accessed using gsutil. To get started, follow these three simple steps to access your reports:

  1. Install the gsutil tool.
    • Authenticate to your account using your Google Play Developer Console credentials.
  2. Find your reporting bucket ID on the new Reports section.
    • Your bucket ID begins with: pubsite_prod_rev (example:pubsite_prod_rev_1234567890)
  3. Use the gsutil ls command to list directories/reports and gsutil cp to copy the reports. Your reports are organized in directories by package name, as well as year and month of their creation.

Read more about exporting report data in the Google Play Developer Help Center.

Note about data ownership on Google Play and Cloud Platform: Your Google Play developer account is gaining access to a dedicated, read-only Google Cloud Storage bucket owned by Google Play. If you’re a Google Cloud Storage customer, the rest of your data is unaffected and not connected to your Google Play developer account. Google Cloud Storage customers can find out more about their data storage on the terms of service page.

Categories: Programming

A New Reference App for Multi-device Applications

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 23:57
It is now possible to bring the benefits of your app to your users wherever they happen to be, no matter what device they have near them. Today we’re releasing a reference sample that shows how to implement such a service with an app that works across multiple Android form-factors. This sample, the Universal Music Player, is a bare-bones but functional reference app that supports multiple devices and form factors in a single codebase. It is compatible with Android Auto, Android Wear, and Google Cast devices. Give it a try and easily adapt your own app for wherever your users are, be that a phone, watch, TV, car, or more!

Playback controls and album art in the lock screen.
On the application toolbar, the Google Cast icon.
Controlling playback through Android Auto

Controlling playback on an Android Wear watch
This sample uses a number of new features in Android 5.0 Lollipop, like MediaStyle notifications, MediaSession and MediaBrowserService. They make it easy to implement media browsing and playback on multiple devices with a single version of your app.

Check out the source code and let your users enjoy your app from wherever they like.

Posted by Renato Mangini, Senior Developer Platform Engineer, Google Developer Platform Team Join the discussion on

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Categories: Programming

Drive app installs through App Indexing

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 23:56

Posted by Lawrence Chang, Product Manager

You’ve invested time and effort into making your app an awesome experience, and we want to help people find the great content you’ve created. App Indexing has already been helping people engage with your Android app after they’ve installed it — we now have 30 billion links within apps indexed. Starting this week, people searching on Google can also discover your app if they haven’t installed it yet. If you’ve implemented App Indexing, when indexed content from your app is relevant to a search done on Google on Android devices, people may start to see app install buttons for your app in search results. Tapping these buttons will take them to the Google Play store where they can install your app, then continue straight on to the right content within it.

App installs through app indexing

With the addition of these install links, we are starting to use App Indexing as a ranking signal for all users on Android, regardless of whether they have your app installed or not. We hope that Search will now help you acquire new users, as well as re-engage your existing ones. To get started, visit g.co/AppIndexing and to learn more about the other ways you can integrate with Google Search, visit g.co/DeveloperSearch.

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Categories: Programming

There's a lot to explore with Google Play services 7.3

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 23:52
gps

Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate

Today, we’re excited to give you new tools to build better apps with the rollout of Google Play services 7.3. With new Android Wear APIs, the addition of nutrition data to Google Fit, improvements to retrieving the user’s activity and location, and better support for optional APIs, there’s a lot to explore in this release.

Android Wear

Google Play services 7.3 extends the Android Wear network by enabling you to connect multiple Wear devices to a single mobile device.

While the DataApi will automatically sync DataItems across all nodes in the Wear network, the directed nature of the MessageApi is faced with new challenges. What node do you send a message to when the NodeApi starts showing multiple nodes from getConnectedNodes()? This is exactly the use case for the new CapabilityApi, which allows different nodes to advertise that they provide a specific functionality (say, the phone node being able to download images from the internet). This allows you to replace a generic NodeListener with a more specific CapabilityListener, getting only connection results and a list of nodes that have the specific functionality you need. We’ve updated the Sending and Receiving Messages training to explore this new functionality.

Another new addition for Android Wear is the ChannelApi, which provides a bidirectional data connection between two nodes. While assets are the best way to efficiently add binary data to the data layer for synchronization to all devices, this API focuses on sending larger binary data directly between specific nodes. This comes in two forms: sending full files via the sendFile() method (perfect for later offline access) or opening an OutputStream to stream real time binary data. We hope this offers a flexible, low level API to complement the DataApi and MessageApi.

We’ve updated our samples with these changes in mind so go check them out here!

Google Fit

Google Fit makes building fitness apps easier with fitness specific APIs on retrieving sensor data like current location and speed, collecting and storing activity data in Google Fit’s open platform, and automatically aggregating that data into a single view of the user’s fitness data.

To make it even easier to retrieve up-to-date information, Google Play Services 7.3 adds a new method to the HistoryApi: readDailyTotal(). This automatically aggregates data for a given DataType from midnight on the current day through now, giving you a single DataPoint. For TYPE_STEP_COUNT_DELTA, this method does not require any authentication, making it possible to retrieve the current number of steps for today from any application whether on mobile devices or on Android Wear - great for watch faces!

Google Fit is also augmenting its existing data types with granular nutrition information, including protein, fat, cholesterol, and more. By leveraging these details about the user’s diet, developers can help users stay more informed about their health and fitness.

Location

LocationRequest is the heart of the FusedLocationProviderApi, encapsulating the type and frequency of location information you’d like to receive. An important, but small change to LocationRequest is the addition of a maximum wait time for location updates via setMaxWaitTime(). By using a value at least two times larger than the requested interval, the system can batch location updates together, reducing battery usage and, on some devices, actually improving location accuracy.

For any ongoing location requests, it is important to know that you will continue to get good location data back. The SettingsApi is still incredibly useful for confirming that user settings are optimal before you put in a LocationRequest, however, it isn’t the best approach for continual monitoring. For that, you can use the new LocationCallback class in place of your existing LocationListener to receive LocationAvailability updates in addition to location updates, giving you a simple callback whenever settings might have changed which will affect the current set of LocationRequests. You can also use FusedLocationProviderApi’s getLocationAvailability() to retrieve the current state on demand.

Connecting to Google Play services

One of the biggest benefits of GoogleApiClient is that it provides a single connection state, whether you are connecting to a single API or multiple APIs. However, this made it hard to work with APIs that might not be available on all devices, such as the Wearable API. This release makes it much easier to work with APIs that may not always be available with the addition of an addApiIfAvailable() method ensuring that unavailable APIs do not hold up the connection process. The current state for each API can then be retrieved via getConnectionResult(), giving you a way to check at runtime whether an API is available and connected.

While GoogleApiClient’s connection process already takes care of checking for Google Play services availability, if you are not using GoogleApiClient, you’ll find many of the static utility methods in GooglePlayServicesUtil such as isGooglePlayServicesAvailable() have now been moved to the singleton GoogleApiAvailability class. We hope the move away from static methods helps you when writing tests, ensuring your application can properly handle any error cases.

SDK is now available!

Google Play services 7.3 is now available: get started with updated SDK now!

To learn more about Google Play services and the APIs available to you through it, visit the Google Play services section on the Android Developer site.

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Categories: Programming

New Android Code Samples

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 23:50

Posted by Rich Hyndman, Developer Advocate

A new set of Android code samples, covering Android Wear, Android for Work, NFC and Screen capturing, have been committed to our Google Samples repository on GitHub. Here’s a summary of the new code samples:

XYZTouristAttractions

This sample mimics a real world mobile and Android Wear app. It has a more refined design and also provides a practical example of how a mobile app would interact and communicate with its Wear counterpart.

The app itself is modeled after a hypothetical tourist attractions experience that notifies the user when they are in close proximity to notable points of interest. In parallel,the Wear component shows tourist attraction images and summary information, and provides quick actions for nearby tourist attractions in a GridViewPager UI component.

DeviceOwner - A Device Owner is a specialized type of device administrator that can control device security and configuration. This sample uses the DevicePolicyManager to demonstrate how to use device owner features, including configuring global settings (e.g.automatic time and time-zone) and setting the default launcher.

NfcProvisioning - This sample demonstrates how to use NFC to provision a device with a device owner. This sample sets up the peer device with the DeviceOwner sample by default. You can rewrite the configuration to use any other device owner.

NFC BeamLargeFiles - A demonstration of how to transfer large files via Android Beam on Android 4.1 and above. After the initial handshake over NFC, file transfer will take place over a secondary high-speed communication channel such as Bluetooth or WiFi Direct.

ScreenCapture - The MediaProjection API was added in Android Lollipop and allows you to easily capture screen contents and/or record system audio. The ScreenCapture sample demonstrates how to use the API to capture device screen in real time and show it on a SurfaceView.

As an additional bonus, the Santa Tracker Android app, including three games, two watch-faces and other goodies, was also recently open sourced and is now available on GitHub.

As with all the Android samples, you can also easily access these new additions in Android Studio using the built in Import Samples feature and they’re also available through our Samples Browser.

Check out a sample today to help you with your development!

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Categories: Programming

Always-on and Wi-Fi with the latest Android Wear update

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 23:27

Posted by Wayne Piekarski, Developer Advocate

A new update to Android Wear is rolling out with lots of new features like always-on apps, Wi-Fi connectivity, media browsing, emoji input, and more. Let’s discuss some of the great new capabilities that are available in this release.

Always-on apps

Above all, a watch should make it easy to tell the time. That's why most Android Wear watches have always-on displays, so you can see the time without having to shake your wrist or lift your arm to wake up the display. In this release, we're making it possible for apps to be always-on as well.

With always-on functionality, your app can display dynamic data on the device, even when the app is in ambient mode. This is useful if your app displays information that is continuously updated. For example, running apps like Endomondo, MapMyRun, and Runtastic use the always-on screen to let you keep track of how long and far you’ve been running. Zillow keeps you posted about the median price of homes nearby when you’re house-hunting.

Always-on functionality is also useful for apps that may not update data very frequently, but present information that’s useful for reference over a longer period of time. For example, Bring! lets you keep your shopping list right on your wrist, and Golfshot gives you accurate distances from tee to pin. If you’re at the airport and making your way to your gate, American Airlines, Delta, and KLM let you keep all of your flight info a glance away on your watch.

Note: the above apps will not display always-on functionality on your watch until you receive the update for the latest version of Android Wear.

Always-on functionality works similar to watch faces, in that the power usage of the display and processor is kept to a minimum by reducing the colors and refresh rate of the display. To implement an always-on Activity, you need to make a few small changes to your app's AndroidManifest.xml, your app’s build.gradle, and the Activity to declare that it supports ambient mode. A code sample and documentation are available to show you how it works. Be sure to tune in to the livestream at Google I/O next week for Android Wear: Your app and the always-on screen.

Wi-Fi connectivity and cloud sync

Many existing Android Wear devices already contain hardware support for Wi-Fi, and this release enables software support for Wi-Fi. The saved Wi-Fi networks on your phone are copied to your watch during setup, and your watch automatically connects to those Wi-Fi networks when it loses Bluetooth connection to your phone. Your watch can then connect to your phone over the Internet, even if they’re not on the same Wi-Fi network.

You should continue to use the Data Layer API for all communications between the watch and phone. By using this standard API, your app will always work, no matter what kind of connectivity the user’s wearable supports. Cloud sync also introduces a new virtual node in the Data Layer called the cloud node, which may be returned in calls to getConnectedNodes(). Learn more in the Multi-wearable support section below.

Multi-wearable support

The release of Google Play services 7.3 now allows support for multiple wearable devices to be paired simultaneously to a single phone or tablet, so you can have a wearable for fitness, and another for dressing up. While DataItems will continue to work in the same way, since they are synchronized to all devices, working with the MessageApi is a little different. When you update your build.gradle to use version 7.3 or higher, getConnectedNodes() from the NodeApi will usually return multiple nodes. There is an extra virtual node added to represent the cloud node used to communicate over Wi-Fi, so all developers need to deal with this situation in their code.

To help simplify finding the right node among many devices, we have added a CapabilityApi, allowing your nodes to announce features they provide, for example downloading images or music. You can also now use the ChannelApi to open up a connection to a specific device to transfer large resources such as images or audio streams, without having to send them to all devices like you would when embedding assets into data items. We have updated our Android Wear samples and documentation to show the best practices in implementing this.

MediaBrowser support

The Android 5.0 release added the ability for apps to browse the media content of another app, via the android.media.browse API. With the latest Android Wear update, if your media playback app supports this API, then you will be able to browse to find the next song directly from your watch. This is the same browse capability used in Android Auto. You implement the API once, and it will work across a variety of platforms. To do so, you just need to allow Android Wear to browse your app in the onGetRoot() method validator. You can also add custom actions to the MediaSession that will appear as controls on the watch. We have a Universal Media Player sample that shows you how to implement this functionality.

Updates to existing devices

The latest version of Android Wear will roll out via an over-the-air (OTA) update to all Android Wear watches over the coming weeks. To take advantage of these new features, you will need to use targetSdkVersion 22 and add the necessary dependencies for always-on support. We have also expanded the collection of emulators available via the SDK Manager, to simulate the experience on all the currently available devices, resolutions, and shapes, including insets like the Moto 360.

In this update, we have also disabled support for apps that use the unofficial, activity-based approach for displaying watch faces, as announced in December. These watch faces will no longer work and should be updated to use the new watch face API.

Since the launch of Android Wear last summer, Android Wear has grown into a platform that gives users many possibilities to personalize their watches, with a variety of shapes and styles, a range of watch bands, and thousands of apps and watch faces. Features such as always-on apps and Wi-Fi allow developers even more flexibility to give users amazing experiences with Android Wear.

Categories: Programming

Android Developer Story: Wooga’s fast iterations on Android and Google Play

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 02:34

Posted by Leticia Lago, Google Play team

In order to make the best possible games, Wooga works on roughly 40 concepts and prototypes per year, out of which 10 go into production, around seven soft launch, and only two make it to global launch. It’s what they call “the hit filter." For their latest title, Agent Alice, they follow up with new episodes every week to maintain player interest and engagement over time.

The ability to quickly iterate both live and under development games is therefore key to Wooga’s business model — Android and Google Play provide them the tools they need and mean that new features and updates are made on Android first, before they get to other platforms.

Find out more from Sebastian Kriese, Head of Partnerships, and Pal Tamas Feher, Head of Engineering, and learn how the iteration features of Android and Google Play have contributed to successes such as Diamond Dash, Jelly Splash, and Agent Alice.

You can find out more about building successful games businesses on Android and Google Play at Google I/O 2015: in person, on the live stream, or session recordings after the event. Check out the following:

  • Developers connecting the world through Google Play - Hear how the new mobile ecosystem including Google Play and Android are empowering developers to make good on the dream of connecting the world through technology to improve people's lives. This session will be live streamed.
  • Growing games with Google — In addition to consoles, PC, and browser gaming, as well as phone and tablet games, there are emerging fields including virtual reality and mobile games in the living room. This talk covers how Google is helping developers across this broad range of platforms. This session will be live streamed.
  • What’s new in the Google Play Developer Console - Google Play’s new launches will help you acquire more users and improve the quality of your app. Hear an overview of the latest features and how you can start taking advantage of them in the Developer Console.
  • Smarter approaches to app testing — Hear about the new ways Google can help maximize the success of your next app launch with cheaper and easier testing strategies.
Categories: Programming

Game Performance: Explicit Uniform Locations

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 02:32

Posted by Shanee Nishry, Games Developer Advocate

Uniforms variables in GLSL are crucial for passing data between the game code on the CPU and the shader program on the graphics card. Unfortunately, up until the availability of OpenGL ES 3.1, using uniforms required some preparation which made the workflow slightly more complicated and wasted time during loading.

Let us examine a simple vertex shader and see how OpenGL ES 3.1 allows us to improve it:

#version 300 es

layout(location = 0) in vec4 vertexPosition;
layout(location = 1) in vec2 vertexUV;

uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

out vec2 outTexCoord;

void main()
{
    outTexCoord = vertexUV;
    gl_Position = matWorldViewProjection * vertexPosition;
}

Note: You might be familiar with this shader from a previous Game Performance article on Layout Qualifiers. Find it here.

We have a single uniform for our world view projection matrix:

uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

The inefficiency appears when you want to assign the uniform value.

You need to use glUniformMatrix4fv or glUniform4f to set the uniform’s value but you also need the handle for the uniform’s location in the program. To get the handle you must call glGetUniformLocation.

GLuint program; // the shader program
float matWorldViewProject[16]; // 4x4 matrix as float array

GLint handle = glGetUniformLocation( program, “matWorldViewProjection” );
glUniformMatrix4fv( handle, 1, false, matWorldViewProject );

That pattern leads to having to call glGetUniformLocation for each uniform in every shader and keeping the handles or worse, calling glGetUniformLocation every frame.

Warning! Never call glGetUniformLocation every frame! Not only is it bad practice but it is slow and bad for your game’s performance. Always call it during initialization and save it somewhere in your code for use in the render loop.

This process is inefficient, it requires you to do more work and costs precious time and performance.

Also take into consideration that you might have multiple shaders with the same uniforms. It would be much better if your code was deterministic and the shader language allowed you to explicitly set the locations of your uniforms so you don’t need to query and manage access handles. This is now possible with Explicit Uniform Locations.

You can set the location for uniforms directly in the shader’s code. They are declared like this

layout(location = index) uniform type name;

For our example shader it would be:

layout(location = 0) uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

This means you never need to use glGetUniformLocation again, resulting in simpler code, initialization process and saved CPU cycles.

This is how the example shader looks after the change. Changes are marked in bold:

#version 310 es

layout(location = 0) in vec4 vertexPosition;
layout(location = 1) in vec2 vertexUV;

layout(location = 0) uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

out vec2 outTexCoord;

void main()
{
    outTexCoord = vertexUV;
    gl_Position = matWorldViewProjection * vertexPosition;
}

As Explicit Uniform Locations are only supported from OpenGL ES 3.1 we also changed the version declaration to 310.

Now all you need to do to set your matWorldViewProjection uniform value is call glUniformMatrix4fv for the handle 0:

const GLint UNIFORM_MAT_WVP = 0; // Uniform location for WorldViewProjection
float matWorldViewProject[16]; // 4x4 matrix as float array

glUniformMatrix4fv( UNIFORM_MAT_WVP, 1, false, matWorldViewProject );

This change is extremely simple and the improvements can be substantial, producing cleaner code, asset pipeline and improved performance. Be sure to make these changes If you are targeting OpenGL ES 3.1 or creating multiple APKs to support a wide range of devices.

To learn more about Explicit Uniform Locations check out the OpenGL wiki page for it which contains valuable information on different layouts and how arrays are represented.

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Game Performance: Layout Qualifiers

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 02:30

Today, we want to share some best practices on using the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) that can optimize the performance of your game and simplify your workflow. Specifically, Layout qualifiers make your code more deterministic and increase performance by reducing your work.


Let’s start with a simple vertex shader and change it as we go along.

This basic vertex shader takes position and texture coordinates, transforms the position and outputs the data to the fragment shader:
attribute vec4 vertexPosition;
attribute vec2 vertexUV;

uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

varying vec2 outTexCoord;

void main()
{
  outTexCoord = vertexUV;
  gl_Position = matWorldViewProjection * vertexPosition;
}
Vertex Attribute Index To draw a mesh on to the screen, you need to create a vertex buffer and fill it with vertex data, including positions and texture coordinates for this example.

In our sample shader, the vertex data may be laid out like this:
struct Vertex
{
  Vector4 Position;
  Vector2 TexCoords;
};
Therefore, we defined our vertex shader attributes like this:
attribute vec4 vertexPosition;
attribute vec2  vertexUV;
To associate the vertex data with the shader attributes, a call to glGetAttribLocation will get the handle of the named attribute. The attribute format is then detailed with a call to glVertexAttribPointer.
GLint handleVertexPos = glGetAttribLocation( myShaderProgram, "vertexPosition" );
glVertexAttribPointer( handleVertexPos, 4, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );

GLint handleVertexUV = glGetAttribLocation( myShaderProgram, "vertexUV" );
glVertexAttribPointer( handleVertexUV, 2, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );
But you may have multiple shaders with the vertexPosition attribute and calling glGetAttribLocation for every shader is a waste of performance which increases the loading time of your game.

Using layout qualifiers you can change your vertex shader attributes declaration like this:
layout(location = 0) in vec4 vertexPosition;
layout(location = 1) in vec2 vertexUV;
To do so you also need to tell the shader compiler that your shader is aimed at GL ES version 3.1. This is done by adding a version declaration:
#version 300 es
Let’s see how this affects our shader, changes are marked in bold:
#version 300 es

layout(location = 0) in vec4 vertexPosition;
layout(location = 1) in vec2 vertexUV;

uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

out vec2 outTexCoord;

void main()
{
  outTexCoord = vertexUV;
  gl_Position = matWorldViewProjection * vertexPosition;
}
Note that we also changed outTexCoord from varying to out. The varying keyword is deprecated from version 300 es and requires changing for the shader to work.

Note that Vertex Attribute qualifiers and #version 300 es are supported from OpenGL ES 3.0. The desktop equivalent is supported on OpenGL 3.3 and using #version 330.

Now you know your position attributes always at 0 and your texture coordinates will be at 1 and you can now bind your shader format without using glGetAttribLocation:
const int ATTRIB_POS = 0;
const int ATTRIB_UV   = 1;

glVertexAttribPointer( ATTRIB_POS, 4, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );
glVertexAttribPointer( ATTRIB_UV, 2, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );
This simple change leads to a cleaner pipeline, simpler code and saved performance during loading time.

To learn more about performance on Android, check out the Android Performance Patterns series.

Posted by Shanee Nishry, Games Developer Advocate Join the discussion on

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Categories: Programming

Android Support Library 22.1

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 16:48

Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate

You may have heard the phrase ‘the best code is no code.’ While we don’t recommend not writing any code at all, the code you do write should be adding unique value to your app rather than replicating common boilerplate code. The Android Support Library is one of the best resources for accomplishing this by taking care of the little things for you.

The latest release of the Android Support Library is no different, adding a number of extremely helpful components and changes across the Support V4, AppCompat, Leanback, RecyclerView, Palette, and Renderscript libraries. From the new AppCompatActivity and AppCompatDialog to a new guided step flow for Android TV, there’s a lot to get excited about in this release.

Support V4

The Support V4 library serves as the base of much of the Android Support Library and contains many of the classes focused on making backward compatibility much easier.

DrawableCompat now brings drawable tinting back to API 4: simply wrap your Drawable via DrawableCompat.wrap(Drawable) and setTint(), setTintList(), and setTintMode() will just work: no need to create and maintain separate drawables only to support multiple colors!

In addition, we’re making some of the internals of Palette available to all via the ColorUtils class, giving you pre-built tools to better work with colors. ColorUtils makes it easy to calculate the contrast ratio between colors, determine the minimum alpha value to maintain a minimum contrast (perfect for ensuring readable text), or convert colors to their HSL components.

Interpolators are an important part of any animation system, controlling the rate of change in an animation (say accelerating, decelerating, etc). A number of interpolators were added in Lollipop to android.R.interpolator including fast_out_linear_in, fast_out_slow_in, and linear_out_slow_in: important parts of building authentic motion. These are now available via the Support Library via the FastOutLinearInInterpolator, FastOutSlowInInterpolator, and LinearOutSlowInInterpolator classes, making it possible to use these via code for all animations. In addition to those pre-built interpolators, we’ve also created PathInterpolatorCompat, allowing you to build quadratic and cubic Bezier curves as well.

This release also moves the Space widget from the GridLayout library into Support V4, making it available without requiring a separate dependency. The Space widget is a lightweight, invisible View that can be used to create gaps between components.

AppCompat

The AppCompat Support Library started with humble, but important beginnings: a single consistent Action Bar for all API 7 and higher devices. In revision 21, it took on new responsibility: bringing material color palette, widget tinting, Toolbar support, and more to all API 7+ devices. With that, the name ActionBarActivity didn’t really cover the full scope of what it really did.

In this release, ActionBarActivity has been deprecated in favor of the new AppCompatActivity. However, this wasn’t just a rename. In fact, the internal logic of AppCompat is now available via AppCompatDelegate - a class you can include in any Activity, hook up the appropriate lifecycle methods, and get the same consistent theming, color tinting, and more without requiring you to use AppCompatActivity (although that remains the easiest way to get started).

With the help of the new AppCompatDelegate, we’ve also added support for consistent, material design dialogs via the AppCompatDialog class. If you’ve used AlertDialog before, you’ll be happy to know there is also now a Support Library version in support.v7.app.AlertDialog, giving you the same API as well as all the benefits of AppCompatDialog.

The ability to tint widgets automatically when using AppCompat is incredibly helpful in keeping strong branding and consistency throughout your app. This is done automatically when inflating layouts - replacing Button with AppCompatButton, TextView with AppCompatTextView, etc. to ensure that each could support tinting. In this release, those tint aware widgets are now publicly available, allowing you to keep tinting support even if you need to subclass one of the supported widgets.

The full list of tint aware widgets at this time is:
  • AppCompatAutoCompleteTextView
  • AppCompatButton
  • AppCompatCheckBox
  • AppCompatCheckedTextView
  • AppCompatEditText
  • AppCompatMultiAutoCompleteTextView
  • AppCompatRadioButton
  • AppCompatRatingBar
  • AppCompatSpinner
  • AppCompatTextView

Lollipop added the ability to overwrite the theme at a view by view level by using the android:theme XML attribute - incredibly useful for things such as dark action bars on light activities. Now, AppCompat allows you to use android:theme for Toolbars (deprecating the app:theme used previously) and, even better, brings android:theme support to all views on API 11+ devices.

If you’re just getting started with AppCompat, check out how easy it is to get started and bring a consistent design to all of your users:


Leanback

With the Leanback library serving as the collection of best practices for Android TV apps, we’d be remiss to not make an even better 10’ experience as part of the release with the new guided step functionality.

This set of classes and themes can be used to build a multiple step process that looks great on Android TV. It is constructed from a guidance view on the left and a list of actions on the right. Each is customizable via themes with a parent of Theme.Leanback.GuidedStep or, if even more customization is needed, through custom a GuidanceStylist and GuidedActionsStylist.

You’ll also find a large number of bug fixes, performance improvements, and an extra coat of polish throughout the library - all with the goal of making the Leanback experience even better for users and developers alike.

RecyclerView

Besides a healthy set of bug fixes, this release adds a new SortedList data structure. This collection makes it easy to maintain a sorted list of custom objects, correctly dispatching change events as the data changes through to RecyclerView.Adapter: maintaining the item added/deleted/moved/changed animations provided by RecyclerView.

In addition, SortedList also supports batching changes together, dispatching just a single set of operations to the Adapter, ensuring the best user experience when a large number of items change simultaneously.

Palette

If you’ve been using Palette to extract colors from images, you’ll be happy to know that it is now 6-8 times faster without sacrificing quality!

Palette now uses a Builder pattern for instantiation. Rather than directly calling Palette.generate(Bitmap) or their equivalents, you’ll use Palette.from(Bitmap) to retrieve a Palette.Builder. You can then optionally change the maximum number of colors to generate and set the maximum size of the image to run Palette against before calling generate() or generateAsync() to retrieve the color Swatches.

Renderscript

Renderscript gives you massive compute potential and the Support Library version makes a number of the pre-defined scripts, called script intrinsics, available to all API 8+ devices. This release improves reliability and performance across all devices with an improved detection algorithm in determining whether the native Renderscript functionality can be used - ensuring the fastest, most reliable implementation is always chosen. Two additional intrinsics are also added in this release: ScriptIntrinsicHistogram and ScriptIntrinsicResize, rounding out the collection to ten.

SDK available now!

There’s no better time to get started with the Android Support Library. You can get started developing today by downloading the Android Support Library and Android Support Repository from the Android SDK Manager.

To learn more about the Android Support Library and the APIs available to you through it, visit the Support Library section on the Android Developer site.

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Categories: Programming

Android Developer Story: The Hunt -- Increased engagement with material design and Google Play

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 16:45

Posted by Laura Della Torre, Google Play team

We've been in San Francisco talking with the team from The Hunt — a style and product sharing community. They've recently lifted the rate at which Android users start hunts to 20 percent after successfully implementing material design in the app, which is a 30 percent improvement over other platforms. As The Hunt’s Product Designer Jenny Davis puts it, “it felt like having a team of design experts on hand,” which lets them focus on what matters to the Android user.

But as we find out, that's not the whole story. Beta testing — managed from the Google Play Developer Console — also allowed them to iterate design and features daily. Based on feedback, they introduced the floating action button, which helped boost new hunts and helpful responses from the community. This speed and freedom is something the team thought possible only with their mobile website, until they started working with the Android tools.

Watch the video to discover more about how design and rapid iteration has been key to building a strong community.

Learn about using the tools that have helped improve user engagement for The Hunt:

  • Material design — learn more about material design and how it helps you create beautiful, engaging apps.
  • Beta testing — discover how to easily deliver test versions of your app to users for feedback before release.
Categories: Programming

Exercise or Games? Why Not Both!

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 07:52

Posted by Alice Ching, Google Engineer

We are pleased to announce the release of Games in Motion, an open source game sample to demonstrate how developers can make fun games using Google Fit and Android Wear. Do you ever go on a jog and feel like there is a lack of incentive to help you run better? What if you were a secret agent and had to use your speed and your nifty gadget to complete missions?

table, th, td { border: clear; border-collapse: collapse; }

With Games in Motion, you can enhance your exercise with missions and actions on your Android Wear device, while logging your jogs to the cloud.

Games in Motion is written in Java programming language using Android Studio. It demonstrates multiple Android technologies.

  • Android Wear bridges notifications from a phone or tablet to a paired Android Wear device. The notifications are stacked so we can show multiple stats at the same time.
  • Google Fit API collects and processes fitness data and sessions. This allows us to use the fitness data to show user progress. All exercise sessions done in Games in Motion will be recorded to Google Fit as well.
  • Google Play Games Services is used to create and unlock achievements.
  • Several different Android audio APIs are integrated.
  • JUnit tests are present for the data-driven parser, which demonstrates how unit testing can be done within Android Studio.

You can download the latest open source release from GitHub. We hope to inspire similar Android games, where multiple different form factors are combined for a fun experience.

Categories: Programming

Google Play services 7.0 - Places Everyone!

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 04:25
gps

Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate

Today, we’re bringing you new tools to build better apps with the completion of the rollout of Google Play services 7.0. With this release, we’re delivering improvements to location settings experiences, a brand new API for place information, new fitness data, Google Play Games, and more.

Location Settings Dialog

While the FusedLocationProviderApi combines multiple sensors to give you the optimal location, the accuracy of the location your app receives still depends greatly on what settings are enabled on the device (e.g. GPS, wifi, airplane mode, etc). In Google Play services 7.0, we’re introducing a standard mechanism to check that the necessary location settings are enabled for a given LocationRequest to succeed. If there are possible improvements, you can display a one touch control for the user to change their settings without leaving your app.

This API provides a great opportunity to make for a much better user experience, particularly if location information is critical to the user experience of your app such as was the case with Google Maps when they integrated the Location Settings dialog and saw a dramatic increase in the number of users in a good location state.

Places API

Location can be so much more than a latitude and longitude: the new Places API makes it easy to get details from Google’s database of places and businesses. The built-in place picker makes it easy for the user to pick their current place and provides all the relevant place details including name, address, phone number, website, and more.

If you prefer to provide your own UI, the getCurrentPlace() API returns places directly around the user’s current location. Autocomplete predictions are also provided to allow a low latency search experience directly within your app.

You can also manually add places with the addPlace() API and report that the user is at a particular place, ensuring that even the most explorative users can input and share their favorite new places.

The Places API will also be available cross-platform: in a few days, you’ll be able to apply for the Places API for iOS beta program to ensure a great and consistent user experience across mobile platforms.

Google Fit

Google Fit makes building fitness apps easier with fitness specific APIs on retrieving sensor data like current location and speed, collecting and storing activity data in Google Fit’s open platform, and automatically aggregating that data into a single view of the user’s fitness data.

In Google Play services 7.0, the previous Fitness.API that you passed into your GoogleApiClient has now been replaced with a number of APIs, matching the high level set of Google Fit Android APIs:

  • SENSORS_API to access raw sensor data via SensorsApi
  • RECORDING_API to record data via RecordingApi
  • HISTORY_API for inserting, deleting, or reading data via HistoryApi
  • SESSIONS_API for managing sessions via SessionsApi
  • BLE_API to interact with Bluetooth Low Energy devices via BleApi
  • CONFIG_API to access custom data types and settings for Google Fit via ConfigApi

This change significantly reduces the memory requirement for Google Fit enabled apps running in the background. Like always, apps built on previous versions of Google Play services will continue to work, but we strongly suggest you rebuild your Google Fit enabled apps to take advantage of this change.

Having all the data can be an empowering part of making meaningful changes and Google Fit is augmenting their existing data types with the addition of body fat percentage and sleep data.

Google Mobile Ads

We’ve found integration of AdMob and Google Analytics a powerful combination for analyzing how your users really use your app since we launched Google Analytics in AdMob last year. This new release enables any Google Mobile Ads SDK implementation to automatically get Google Analytics integration giving you the number of users and sessions, session duration, operating systems, device models, geography, and automatic screen reporting without any additional development work.

In addition, we’ve made numerous improvements across the SDK including ad request prefetching (saving battery usage and improving apparent latency) and making the SDK MRAIDv2 compliant.

--> Google Play Games

Announced at Game Developers Conference (GDC), we’re offering new tools to supercharge your games on Google Play. Included in Google Play services 7.0 is the Nearby Connections API, allowing games to seamlessly connect smartphones and tablets as second-screen controls to the game running on your TV.

App Indexing

App Indexing lets Google index apps just like websites, enabling Google search results to deep-link directly into your native app. We've simplified the App Indexing API to make this integration even easier for you by combining the existing view()/viewEnd() and action()/end() flows into a single start() and end() API.

Changes to GoogleApiClient

GoogleApiClient serves as the common entry point for accessing Google APIs. For this release, we’ve made retrieval of Google OAuth 2.0 tokens part of GoogleApiClient, making it much easier to request server auth codes to access Google APIs.

SDK Now Available!

You can get started developing today by downloading the Google Play services SDK from the Android SDK Manager.

To learn more about Google Play services and the APIs available to you through it, visit the Google Services section on the Android Developer site.

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