Android Dev Summit: What Developers Should Know

November 09, 2018

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Google has revealed a number of new updates, features and innovations at the Android Developer Summit in Mountain View. With all the new changes and enhancements on the way, developers should start thinking now about what’s coming up and how it will impact their App Store Optimization.

Android Foldables

Perhaps the biggest buzz from the Android Developer Summit is from Android Foldables. With Samsung working on foldable smartphones, Google is laying out the groundwork for apps that fold with the screen. Foldable devices will be made with two variants – an outside cover with a traditional screen and a larger one folder underneath, or a continuous screen that expands as the device unfolds. In both cases, the focus for apps is on “screen continuity,” maintaining a seamless experience when unfolding from one screen to the next. Apps build with foldable support will expand their screens with the unfolding screen or transfer to the larger one. Google intends to make unfolding support easy to implement, but developers should be prepared to see how their app can work with foldable devices and determine the best way to utilize the technology.

Android Slices

Android Slices were first announced during Google I/O 2018 and the technology is now close to completion. Slices allow apps to provide interactive content while users are using the Google Search App or Google Assistant, enabling engagement outside of the fullscreen app itself. For instance, if a user is trying to plan their trip home, they can get “slices” of their map app or ride sharing app right from the search without needing to open the apps in full. This simplifies the usage of the apps and puts them right at the user’s disposal. Currently a few apps are being developed to work with Android Slices, but it will be made available to more as the technology rolls out.

Jetpack

Google has been trying to make app development faster and easier with Jetpack, and states that 80 percent of the top 1,000 apps and mobile games are currently using Jetpack. Now it’s adding Navigation and Work Manager to Jetpack to further improve the development process. These are currently available in beta and provide a simplified way to implement Android’s navigation. Developers can use animated transitions, create and edit navigation flows and perform background tasks more efficiently, as determined based on factors such as device API level and application states.

Android Studio 3.3

Android Studio 3.3 is still in its beta stages, but the third beta has launched. The latest release is focused on stability, including the reduction of crashes and decreasing the amount of memory usage it requires. Google has also stated that the upcoming version of Android Studio will help developers understand what causes their apps to slow down, enabling a faster and more efficient finished product.

What to Know for ASO

Each of these announcements presents a new opportunity for developers. The new additions to Jetpack and the new version of Android Studio will help them develop apps more easily and create higher quality products. However, Android Slices and Foldables present new potential that developers can capitalize on. When an app is enabled for Slices, developers should include it in the app’s description and information, so users can understand how it will work with slices to benefit them. Similarly, the app page can include screenshots that show the Slices function in action, demonstrating its uses. Similarly, when foldable smartphones hit the market and Android Foldables are in demand, developers can include information on how the app works in a folded and unfolded state or showcase the smoothness with which it alternates from one state to another. Utilizing the new technology will allow an app to stand out from its competition. Each new innovation is a new chance to surpass the competition, as well as a new marketing opportunity to capitalize on. While many of the innovations are still underway, it’s never too soon to start planning on how to integrate it.

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