24 Nov 2020

feedTalkAndroid

Hallmark Movies Now comes to YouTube TV on a 7-day trial, $5.99 monthly thereafter

It's getting close to that time of year and with 2020 being what it is, any sort of feel-good experience is worth trying out. This means that the launch of Hallmark Movies Now on YouTube TV has come at a great time with the added bonus of being able to try it out on a […]


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24 Nov 2020 10:40pm GMT

This is when your Huawei smartphone or tablet will get the EMUI 11 update

Huawei's Mate 40 Pro launched in September running EMUI 11 and now the handset maker has posted a timeline that reveals when users can expect their handsets and tablets to receive the update. The list covers unlocked devices ranging from the Mate 20 Series to the MatePad Pro tablet in just about every region. The […]


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24 Nov 2020 10:13pm GMT

[Deal] Save 67% on the FIXD Car Diagnostic Sensor through until Nov. 30

Taking your car to a dealer or the local mechanic can be a stressful affair, especially if you aren't actually sure what is wrong with the car. This is where the FIXD car repair sensor comes into its own, alerting you to perform scheduled maintenance, find out if the issue is severe enough to be […]


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24 Nov 2020 9:29pm GMT

Samsung’s budget-minded Galaxy A12 and A02s feature 6.5-inch HD+ displays and 5,000mAh batteries

We are still struggling through 2020 but it seems that Samsung's focus has already switched to next year with it announcing a pair of budget smartphones, the Galaxy A12, and the Galaxy A02s. Both handsets sport 6.5-inch Infinity-V displays with HD+ resolution, 5,000mAh batteries, and are affordably priced. Galaxy A12 Available in Black, Blue, White, […]


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24 Nov 2020 8:58pm GMT

[Deal] Save 25% on the 360 S7 Pro Robot Vacuum & Mop

Let's face it, doing household chores such as vacuuming or mopping the floor is a time-consuming exercise that most of us could cheerfully do without. Luckily, we live in an age where we can delegate the task to a robot vacuum such as the 360 S7 Pro (Review coming soon) that will even mop the […]


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24 Nov 2020 5:31pm GMT

Aukey’s Black Friday Deals bring savings of up to 51% on Gaming, PC, and Charging accessories

In case you weren't already aware, Black Friday is almost upon us which means that there are deals and savings to be had all from all corners of the tech world. Today sees Aukey announce its opening salvo of discounted accessories such as gaming accessories, PC peripherals, and chargers with savings ranging from 15-51%. The […]


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24 Nov 2020 3:43pm GMT

23 Nov 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

MAD Skills — Become an Android App Bundle expert

Posted by Ben Weiss, Developer Relations Engineer

Android image

The Android App Bundle series of Modern Android Development has just concluded. We finished off with a live Q&A session. I was joined by Chet Haase, Wojtek Kaliciński, and Iurii Makhno to go over bundles of questions from the #AskAndroid hashtag on Twitter as well as from the chat during the live stream.

But let's rewind for a moment and take it from the top.

Introduction to Android App Bundles

In the inaugural episode Wojtek sets the tone for this series by talking about why app bundles matter to you and your app.

Everything to know about Play App Signing

In this episode you learn how to opt into Play App Signing by joining Wojtek on a journey through the Play Console. After watching this video you will have learned what options are available to you when opting into Play App Signing.

Alongside this video we recommend taking a look at the FAQ about Play App Signing, the app signing Android docs and the Play Console's Play App Signing help page.

Building your first app bundle

Now it's time to learn how to build and upload your first Android App Bundle.

In this episode, I take you through the process of building a bundle using Android Studio and the command line interface.

Instead, you can read the write up of this episode.

Accompanying this episode, take a look at the app bundles documentation.

Configuring your app for Play Feature Delivery

Here you'll learn about delivery options. From install time, to conditional delivery to on demand delivery. I cover it all. And we'll take an excursion through the sample on GitHub.

This episode also is available as an article for you to read. Additionally, the PlayCore guide is a valuable resource.

Testing app bundles with bundletool and the Play Console

Have you wondered about how you can test your app bundle? No more wondering. Wojtek takes you through testing your app bundle locally and with the Play Console.

You can read up on this episode's content in the accompanying article and the guide to testing your Android App Bundle.

Additionally we have guidance on developer tools on the Play Console and the Play Console help page for internal app sharing available for you.

And, if you want to download bundletool, here is where to find it.

Big savings with Android App Bundles

Android GDE Angélica Oliveira tells us about the process and the impressive size savings her company saw when switching over to Android App Bundles.

Live Q&A session

We asked for your questions on Twitter. You replied, using the #AskAndroid hashtag.

And you continued asking questions during the live Q&A session.

Chet then got Wojtek, Iurii and myself in front of the camera for a live Q&A to answer your questions.

Reminder: App bundles will be mandatory for new apps from August 2021

Read more about the 2021 API level bump and app bundle requirement

23 Nov 2020 10:29pm GMT

feedTalkAndroid

[Deal] Save 30% on the entire Totallee inventory of cases and accessories

It's not often that a site offers a huge discount across its own online store as well as the US, Canadian, and UK Amazon storefronts, but Totallee has done just that by offering a 30% discount on its inventory. We've featured cases in our case guides such as this one for the Pixel 5, and […]


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23 Nov 2020 8:45pm GMT

[Deal] Save 30% on Adidas phone cases and accessories until November 30th

Black Friday week is upon us and you know that it means deals, deals, and erm, savings on just about everything you can imagine. If you've been thinking of matching your smartphone with your gym gear then Adidas could be the browsing exercise you need with its 30% discount on phone cases and accessories from […]


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23 Nov 2020 8:23pm GMT

Manga fans can rejoice as the Mangamo subscription app launches globally with a 30-day free trial

If you are a fan of Manga titles such as Fire Force, Attack on Titan, or perhaps Japan Sinks 2020, you'll be happy to learn that the Mangamo app is now available on the Play Store on a global basis, offering access to hundreds of titles from multiple publishers. The $4.99 monthly subscription fee gets […]


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23 Nov 2020 7:07pm GMT

The Mandalorian AR Experience is now available for selected 5G Android handsets

With season 2 of The Mandalorian available to stream on Disney+, Google has teamed up with LucasFilm to 'bring iconic moments' to life from the show's first season to selected 5G Android handsets, including the Pixel 5. Fans can immerse themselves in The Mandalorian AR Experience, interacting with objects and creatures and the heroes from […]


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23 Nov 2020 6:39pm GMT

[Deal] Save 25% on the Mpow MDots Wireless Earbuds

If you are in the market for a new set of wireless earbuds that offer all the important features such as IPX6 water-resistance, up to 20-hours battery life, and Passive Noise Cancellation, the Mpow MDots Wireless Earbuds could be just the ticket. Reduced from its RRP of $24.99 to just $18.74, giving you a 25% […]


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23 Nov 2020 6:01pm GMT

feedAndroid Developers Blog

The future of Kotlin Android Extensions

Posted by David Winer, Product Manager

The Android Kotlin Extensions Gradle plugin (not to be confused with Android KTX) was released in 2017 and brought two new conveniences to Android development in Kotlin:

Since then, we have released View Binding for Android, an officially supported library that has deep integration with the Android build toolchain and provides similar functionality as Kotlin synthetics. While we continue to recommend Parcelize, a number of drawbacks have appeared with using Kotlin synthetics:

JetBrains originally developed the Android Kotlin Extensions plugin, and together we have discussed the pros and cons of continuing to maintain synthetics: we strive to ensure long term support for APIs where we can but want to guide developers towards best practices that make for healthy codebases and, ultimately, happy users.

Over the course of the next year, our teams will be jointly deprecating synthetics in favor of continuing to support our recommended option, View Binding. Here's what that means:

The deprecation period starts with Kotlin 1.4.20, released today. android-kotlin-extensions will be removed in a future Kotlin release during or after September 2021. Long term, we will continue to maintain the kotlin-parcelize plugin, and you can continue to file issues on Parcelize in the Android Studio issue tracker.

23 Nov 2020 5:02pm GMT

22 Nov 2020

feedTalkAndroid

LG Wing review: Keep the weird stuff coming

See that image above? That's not two phones on top of each other, that's the incredibly strange LG Wing. The phone flips around, giving you two screens on top of each other that are fully functional. It's a bit of a shoot off of the latest round of folding and two-screen phones that we've seen […]


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22 Nov 2020 6:09pm GMT

21 Nov 2020

feedTalkAndroid

Not dead yet: Google Chrome supports Windows 7 for another year

Windows 7 was a very solid OS from Microsoft, and it's one that's still hanging on even after several new versions have replaced it and Microsoft has officially dropped support for it. I can't say I blame people, though. I used to actually be able to play Fallout 3 on Windows 7, unlike Windows 10. […]


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21 Nov 2020 3:29pm GMT

OnePlus is adding several fan-suggested features to OxygenOS, including an FPS counter, true black dark mode, and more

OnePlus frequently updates OxygenOS with more features, even outside of major Android releases. Despite sticking relatively close to a stock Android experience, there's still a lot to dig into for power users and enthusiasts to tweak and customize your OnePlus phone. A big source of these features is the community forums for OnePlus devices where […]


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21 Nov 2020 3:15pm GMT

20 Nov 2020

feedTalkAndroid

The OPPO Find X3 will launch in 2021 with support for 10-bit color and full DCI-P3 wide gamut

It's no secret that we enjoyed our time with the Find X2 Pro when reviewing OPPO's 2020 flagship, and now we are looking forward to seeing its successor launch next March. The Find X3 is said to be launching with an end-to-end image processing system to let the handset shoot images that can be shown […]


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20 Nov 2020 8:11pm GMT

19 Nov 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

New Android App Bundle and target API level requirements in 2021

Posted by Hoi Lam, Developer Relations Engineer, Android Platform

Android app bundle image

In 2021, we are continuing with our annual target API level update, requiring new apps to target API level 30 (Android 11) in August and in November for all app updates. In addition, as announced earlier this year, Google Play will require new apps to use the Android App Bundle publishing format. This brings the benefits of smaller apps and simpler releases to more users and developers and supports ongoing investment in advanced distribution.

Over 750,000 apps and games already publish to production on Google Play using app bundles. Top apps switching save an average size of 15% versus a universal APK. Users benefit from smaller downloads and developers like Netflix and Riafy see higher install success rates, which is especially impactful in regions with more entry level devices and slower data speeds. Developers switching can use advanced distribution features such as Play Asset Delivery and Play Feature Delivery. We value your feedback and plan to introduce further features and options for Play App Signing and Android App Bundles before the switchover.


Requirements for new apps

From August 2021, the Google Play Console will require all new apps to:


Requirements for updates to existing apps

From November 2021, updates to existing apps will be required to target API level 30 or above and adjust for behavioral changes in Android 11. Existing apps that are not receiving updates are unaffected and can continue to be downloaded from the Play Store.

Requirements for instant experiences

The switch to Android App Bundle delivery will also impact instant experiences using the legacy Instant app ZIP format. From August 2021, new instant experiences and updates to existing instant experiences will be required to publish instant-enabled app bundles.


Moving forward together

Here is a summary of all the changes:


TYPE OF RELEASE

REPLACED

REQUIRED AUG 2021

New apps
on Google Play

APK

Android App Bundle (AAB)

Target API level set to 29+

Target API level set to 30+

Expansion files (OBBs)

Play Asset Delivery or
Play Feature Delivery

TYPE OF RELEASE

REPLACED

REQUIRED NOV 2021

Updates to existing apps
on Google Play

No new publishing format requirement

Target API level set to 29+

Target API level set to 30+



Wear OS apps are not subject to the new target API level requirement.

Apps can still use any minSdkVersion, so there is no change to your ability to build apps for older Android versions.

To learn more about transitioning to app bundles, watch our new video series: modern Android development (MAD) skills. We are extremely grateful for all the developers who have adopted app bundles and API level 30 already. We look forward to advancing the Android platform together with you.

19 Nov 2020 6:09pm GMT

18 Nov 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Tips for getting your app approved for background location access

Posted by Krish Vitaldevara, Director of Product Management Trust & Safety, Google Play

Graphic of phone with googleplay logo and icons to the left

When it comes to privacy, we are committed to giving users control and transparency over data access. Users consistently tell us that they want more control over their location data, so earlier this year we announced a few privacy improvements, such as updates to Google Play's Location Permissions policy and enhancements to location permission controls in Android 11.

To help prevent unnecessary access to background location, the updated policy allows access only if it's critical to the app's core functionality and provides clear user benefit. We found that many apps that requested background location don't actually need it. Removing or changing it to foreground can help apps be battery-efficient and avoid poor app ratings when users don't want to share their location.

If your app uses background location data, you must submit a form for review and receive approval by January 18, 2021 so your apps can stay on Google Play. Existing apps first published before April 16, 2020 have until March 29, 2021 to comply.

Tips to get approved

Resources to help

We want to help you through this process, so we've created this video and free training courses in Google Play Academy to use as a reference when you're making any necessary app updates. You can also check out these best privacy practices and technical details to help identify possible background location usage in your code.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us to make Google Play a trustworthy platform for you and your users.

How useful did you find this blog post?


18 Nov 2020 6:05pm GMT

12 Nov 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Android Neural Networks API 1.3 and PyTorch Mobile support

Posted by Oli Gaymond, Product Manager Android Machine Learning

Android graphic

On-Device Machine Learning enables cutting edge features to run locally without transmitting data to a server. Processing the data on-device enables lower latency, can improve privacy and allows features to work without connectivity. Achieving the best performance and power efficiency requires taking advantage of all available hardware.

Android Neural Networks API 1.3

The Android Neural Networks API (NNAPI) is designed for running computationally intensive operations for machine learning on Android devices. It provides a single set of APIs to benefit from available hardware accelerators including GPUs, DSPs and NPUs.

In Android 11, we released Neural Networks API 1.3 adding support for Quality of Service APIs, Memory Domains and expanded quantization support. This release builds on the comprehensive support for over 100 operations, floating point and quantized data types and hardware implementations from partners across the Android ecosystem.

Hardware acceleration is particularly beneficial for always-on, real-time models such as on-device computer vision or audio enhancement. These models tend to be compute-intensive, latency-sensitive and power-hungry. One such use case is in segmenting the user from the background in video calls. Facebook is now testing NNAPI within the Messenger application to enable the immersive 360 backgrounds feature. Utilising NNAPI, Facebook saw a 2x speedup and 2x reduction in power requirements. This is in addition to offloading work from the CPU, allowing it to perform other critical tasks.

Introducing PyTorch Neural Networks API support

NNAPI can be accessed directly via an Android C API or via higher level frameworks such as TensorFlow Lite. Today, PyTorch Mobile announced a new prototype feature supporting NNAPI that enables developers to use hardware accelerated inference with the PyTorch framework.

Today's initial release includes support for well-known linear convolutional and multilayer perceptron models on Android 10 and above. Performance testing using the MobileNetV2 model shows up to a 10x speedup compared to single-threaded CPU. As part of the development towards a full stable release, future updates will include support for additional operators and model architectures including Mask R-CNN, a popular object detection and instance segmentation model.

We would like to thank the PyTorch Mobile team at Facebook for their partnership and commitment to bringing accelerated neural networks to millions of Android users.

12 Nov 2020 6:06pm GMT

05 Nov 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Privacy-preserving features in the Mobile Driving License

Posted by David Zeuthen, Shawn Willden and René Mayrhofer, Android Security and Privacy team

Android Mobible Driver's license app

In the United States and other countries a Driver's License is not only used to convey driving privileges, it is also commonly used to prove identity or personal details.

Presenting a Driving License is simple, right? You hand over the card to the individual wishing to confirm your identity (the so-called "Relying Party" or "Verifier"); they check the security features of the plastic card (hologram, micro-printing, etc.) to ensure it's not counterfeit; they check that it's really your license, making sure you look like the portrait image printed on the card; and they read the data they're interested in, typically your age, legal name, address etc. Finally, the verifier needs to hand back the plastic card.

Most people are so familiar with this process that they don't think twice about it, or consider the privacy implications. In the following we'll discuss how the new and soon-to-be-released ISO 18013-5 standard will improve on nearly every aspect of the process, and what it has to do with Android.

Mobile Driving License ISO Standard

The ISO 18013-5 "Mobile driving licence (mDL) application" standard has been written by a diverse group of people representing driving license issuers (e.g. state governments in the US), relying parties (federal and state governments, including law enforcement), academia, industry (including Google), and many others. This ISO standard allows for construction of Mobile Driving License (mDL) applications which users can carry in their phone and can use instead of the plastic card.

Instead of handing over your plastic card, you open the mDL application on your phone and press a button to share your mDL. The Verifier (aka "Relying Party") has their own device with an mDL reader application and they either scan a QR code shown in your mDL app or do an NFC tap. The QR code (or NFC tap) conveys an ephemeral cryptographic public key and hardware address the mDL reader can connect to.

Once the mDL reader obtains the cryptographic key it creates its own ephemeral keypair and establishes an encrypted and authenticated, secure wireless channel (BLE, Wifi Aware or NFC)). The mDL reader uses this secure channel to request data, such as the portrait image or what kinds of vehicles you're allowed to drive, and can also be used to ask more abstract questions such as "is the holder older than 18?"

Crucially, the mDL application can ask the user to approve which data to release and may require the user to authenticate with fingerprint or face - none of which a passive plastic card could ever do.

With this explanation in mind, let's see how presenting an mDL application compares with presenting a plastic-card driving license:

These are some of the reasons why we think mDL is a big win for end users in terms of privacy.

One commonality between plastic-card driving licences and the mDL is how the relying party verifies that the person presenting the license is the authorized holder. In both cases, the verifier manually compares the appearance of the individual against a portrait photo, either printed on the plastic or transmitted electronically and research has shown that it's hard for individuals to match strangers to portrait images.

The initial version of ISO 18013-5 won't improve on this but the ISO committee working on the standard is already investigating ways to utilize on-device biometrics sensors to perform this match in a secure and privacy-protecting way. The hope is that improved fidelity in the process helps reduce unauthorized use of identity documents.

mDL support in Android

Through facilities such as hardware-based Keystore, Android already offers excellent support for security and privacy-sensitive applications and in fact it's already possible to implement the ISO 18013-5 standard on Android without further platform changes. Many organizations participating in the ISO committee have already implemented 18013-5 Android apps.

That said, with purpose-built support in the operating system it is possible to provide better security and privacy properties. Android 11 includes the Identity Credential APIs at the Framework level along with a Hardware Abstraction Layer interface which can be implemented by Android OEMs to enable identity credential support in Secure Hardware. Using the Identity Credential API, the Trusted Computing Base of mDL applications does not include the application or even Android itself. This will be particularly important for future versions where the verifier must trust the device to identify and authenticate the user, for example through fingerprint or face matching on the holder's own device. It's likely such a solution will require certified hardware and/or software and certification is not practical if the TCB includes the hundreds of millions of lines of code in Android and the Linux kernel.

One advantage of plastic cards is that they don't require power or network communication to be useful. Putting all your licenses on your phone could seem inconvenient in cases where your device is low on battery, or does not have enough battery life to start. The Android Identity Credential HAL therefore provides support for a mode called Direct Access, where the license is still available through an NFC tap even when the phone's battery is too low to boot it up. Device makers can implement this mode, but it will require hardware support that will take several years to roll out.

For devices without the Identity Credential HAL, we have an Android Jetpack which implements the same API and works on nearly every Android device in the world (API level 24 or later). If the device has hardware-backed Identity Credential support then this Jetpack simply forwards calls to the platform API. Otherwise, an Android Keystore-backed implementation will be used. While the Android Keystore-backed implementation does not provide the same level of security and privacy, it is perfectly adequate for both holders and issuers in cases where all data is issuer-signed. Because of this, the Jetpack is the preferred way to use the Identity Credential APIs. We also made available sample open-source mDL and mDL Reader applications using the Identity Credential APIs.

Conclusion

Android now includes APIs for managing and presenting with identity documents in a more secure and privacy-focused way than was previously possible. These can be used to implement ISO 18013-5 mDLs but the APIs are generic enough to be usable for other kinds of electronic documents, from school ID or bonus program club cards to passports.

Additionally, the Android Security and Privacy team actively participates in the ISO committees where these standards are written and also works with civil liberties groups to ensure it has a positive impact on our end users.

05 Nov 2020 6:03pm GMT

30 Oct 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

MAD Skills Navigation Wrap-Up

Posted by Chet Haase

MAD Skills navigation illustration of mobile and desktop with Android logo

It's a Wrap!

We've just finished the first series in the MAD Skills series of videos and articles on Modern Android Development. This time, the topic was Navigation component, the API and tool that helps you create and edit navigation paths through your application.

The great thing about videos and articles is that, unlike performance art, they tend to stick around for later enjoyment. So if you haven't had a chance to see these yet, check out the links below to see what we covered. Except for the Q&A episode at the end, each episode has essentially identical content in the video and article version, so use whichever format you prefer for content consumption.

Episode 1: Overview

The first episode provides a quick, high-level overview of Navigation Component, including how to create a new application with navigation capability (using Android Studio's handy application templates), details on the containment hierarchy of a navigation-enabled UI, and an explanation of some of the major APIs and pieces involved in making Navigation Component work.

Or in article form: https://medium.com/androiddevelopers/navigation-component-an-overview-4697a208c2b5

Episode 2: Dialog Destinations

Episode 2 explores how to use the API to navigate to dialog destinations. Most navigation takes place between different fragment destinations, which are swapped out inside of the NavHostFragment object in the UI. But it is also possible to navigate to external destinations, including dialogs, which exist outside of the NavHostFragment.

Or in article form: https://medium.com/androiddevelopers/navigation-component-dialog-destinations-bfeb8b022759

Episode 3: SafeArgs

This episode covers SafeArgs, the facility provided by Navigation component for easily passing data between destinations.

Or in article form: https://medium.com/androiddevelopers/navigating-with-safeargs-bf26c17b1269

Episode 4: Deep Links

This episode is on Deep Links, the facility provided by Navigation component for helping the user get to deeper parts of your application from UI outside the application.

Or in article form: https://medium.com/androiddevelopers/navigating-with-deep-links-910a4a6588c

Episode 5: Live Q&A

Finally, to wrap up the series (as we plan to do for future series), I hosted a Q&A session with Ian Lake. Ian fielded questions from you on Twitter and YouTube, and we discussed everything from feature requests like multiple backstacks (spoiler: it's in the works!) to Navigation support for Jetpack Compose (spoiler: the first version of this was just released!) to other questions people had about navigation, fragments, Up-vs-Back, saving state, and other topics. It was pretty fun - more like a podcast with cameras than a Q&A.

(There is no article for this one; enjoy the video above)

Sample App: DonutTracker

The application used for most of the episodes above is DonutTracker, an app that you can use for tracking important data about donuts you enjoy (or don't). Or you can just use it for checking out the implementation details of these Navigation features; your choice.

30 Oct 2020 4:33pm GMT

26 Oct 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Further tales from the leading edge and beyond: more Apps, Games, & Insights podcast episodes

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Global Marketing, Platforms & Ecosystems

Google Play image

We are launching the second series of the Apps, Games, & Insights podcast.

Over the summer, we teamed up with a new group of leading industry insiders and experts to bring you 8 new podcast episodes over the next couple of months. We are bringing you their exceptional business stories, experiences and discussion on some of the latest big questions in the apps and games industry.

We are joined again by your hosts-Tamzin Taylor, who heads up Apps & Games Business Development for Google Play in Western Europe, and Dirk Primbs, who leads the Ecosystem Developer Relations team in Europe- and you can find out who they have been cajoling and corralling in the new series, below.

In the first series, the guests covered topics ranging from responsible growth and building for the long term, through advice from mergers and acquisitions and venture capital experts, to hot topics such as privacy and accessibility.

Apps, Games, & Insights podcast series 2 brings you a similarly diverse range of insights, stories, and learnings, and without further ado, get a sneak peek as to what we have lined up...

We kickoff with Elliott Rayner, Head Of Product Marketing, and John Quintana, Head of Guided Learning Experiences, from Babbel the online language learning company. Here in episode 9 we talk about how the new normal is disrupting the delivery of all types of education. Elliott and John discuss how Babbel is transforming and adapting and has been "thinking big" about the future of education: ultimately can apps take the place of traditional classroom education?

Most of us are very aware how critical environmental change is, but how do we raise awareness to fight climate change through our businesses? In episode 10 we are joined by Jennifer Estaris, Games Director at SYBO Games and Deborah Mensah-Bonsu, Founder of Games for Good and formerly at Space Ape Games, to learn how others are changing the game. In the recent Green Game Jam, 11 game studios came together to find innovative and engaging ways to educate and empower players about climate change through games. Jennifer and Deborah discuss how they ensured that the ideas were more than just another collection of tips for better recycling, and then pulled together a jam to bring great minds together and actualise change.

We also explore how to be successful with 4x strategy games-turn-based and real-time strategy games where you build an empire-in episode 11. We're joined by David Eckleberry, General Manager and Vice President at Scopely, and Howard Chen, Google Play Growth Consultant. We hear how Star Trek Fleet Command has successfully built it's loyal player base and the stories that bring to life the learnings about player affinity, KPI growth, comparative analysis with other game genres, and more.

With literally thousands of languages to choose from, language learning apps are in a unique position to reflect humanity's diversity. The team at Drops have taken this opportunity by incorporating several indigenous languages into their app portfolio. So, while supporting the usual suspects of popular languages, users of Drops can also learn Hawaiian, Maori (from New Zealand), and Innu (from Japan) among others. In episode 12, we talk with Drops CEO and Co-Founder, Daniel Farkas and Chief Customer Officer, Drew Banks about how they actively foster diversity and inclusion in their product and company.

Have you ever wondered what goes behind the scenes to help you order your favourite foods from delivery apps? Delivering a quality app is essential to the success of your business, in both acquiring and retaining users. In episode 13, we're joined by Maria Neumayer, Staff Software Engineer, at food delivery service Deliveroo and Shobhit Chugh, Product Manager, Firebase to talk about the practical steps you can take to design quality into an app or game. Discover and rectify quality problems in testing and production and hear Maria's insights into how Deliveroo has adapted to the new normal.

Mobile gaming offers developers of PC and console games a significant opportunity. By going mobile, game developers can expand their player base and drive retention by providing a platform for players to stay engaged while they're on the move. Jen Donahoe, Marketing and Growth lead for TeamFight Tactics at Riot Games joins us in episode 14 to discuss the challenges and opportunities they had in taking their games mobile.

What makes retention so critical to the success of a business over other measures, and how do you optimize this strategy? We speak to Marcus Gners, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder at health and fitness app developer Lifesum to hear how about the models they use and how they approach habitual usage. In episode 15, alongside Marcus, we are joined by best-selling author of "Hooked" and "Indistractable," Nir Eyal, to explore the behavior apps should foster to drive retention, and how to measure this effectively.

So as to not give the whole game away, we are keeping the details of our final episode under wraps, so keep an eye out for more details shortly.

The new episodes of the Apps, Games, & Insights podcast are sure to spark the interest of business and app or gaming enthusiasts, and developers, who want to get the inside scoop from industry experts on business strategies and their success stories, and how to create successful apps and games businesses in these rapidly changing times. We look forward to you joining us on this journey.

How to stay tuned in

To find out more about what's coming, check out our Apps, Games, & Insights podcast homepage and find links to all the latest episodes.

Subscribe and listen to our first episode here, or on your favorite podcast platform including Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple, Libsyn, Pocket Casts and Overcast, Deezer, and iHeartRadio.

Keep an eye out on @GooglePlayDev and @AndroidDev on Twitter where we will be announcing the launch of the new episodes each week.

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26 Oct 2020 5:04pm GMT

16 Oct 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Developer tips and guides: Common policy violations and how you can avoid them

By Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play App Safety

At Google Play, we want to foster an ecosystem of safe, engaging, useful, and entertaining apps used and loved by billions of Android users worldwide. That's why we regularly update and revise our Google Play Developer Policies and Developer Distribution Agreement, detailing the boundaries of app content and functionalities allowed on the platform, as well as providing latest guidance on how developers can promote and monetize apps.

In recent efforts in analyzing apps for policy compliance on Google Play we identified some common mistakes and violations that developers make, and we're sharing these with the developer community with tips and guides on how to avoid them, mitigating the risks of apps and developer accounts being suspended for violating our policies.

Links that take users back to other apps on the Play Store

One of the most common mistakes we see are apps that have buttons and menus that link out to the Play Store -- either to apps by the same developer, or other apps that may be affiliated with the developer, but not being clear that these are ads or promotional links. Without this clarity, apps may get enforced for having deceptive / disguised ads. One of the ways to avoid such mistakes is by explicitly calling these out by labeling the buttons and links as 'More Apps', 'More Games', 'Explore', 'Check out our other apps', etc.

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Spammy app descriptions

Another mistake we frequently observe is where developers 'stuff' keywords in the app description in hope for better discoverability and ranking against certain keywords and phrases. Text blocks or lists that contain repetitive or unrelated keywords or references violate our Store Listing and Promotion policy. Writing a clear app description intended and optimized for user's readability and understanding is one of the best ways to avoid this violation.

Watch this video to learn how to avoid spammy store listings and efforts to artificially boost app visibility.

Abandoned and broken apps

There are apps that have been published by the developers a long time ago, and are no longer being maintained. Abandoned and unmaintained apps often create user experience issues -- broken app functionality, for example. Not only are such apps at risk of getting a low star rating and negative user reviews, they will also be flagged as violating the minimum functionality policy. To mitigate the negative impact to the developer reputation and app enforcement, consider unpublishing such apps from the Play Store. Note the updated unpublish action won't affect existing users who already installed the app, and developers can always choose to re-publish them after addressing the broken experiences.

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the 'Minimum and Broken Functionality Spam' course on Play Academy



Apps vs. Webview

Lastly, we observe a large volume of app submissions that are just webviews of existing websites. Most of these apps are submitted with a primary purpose of driving traffic rather than providing engaging app experiences to Android users. Such apps are considered webview spam, and are removed from Play. Instead, consider thinking through what users can do or do better with the app than in a web experience and implement relevant features and functionalities that enrich the user experience.

Example of webview without any app functionality

Example of a webview without any app functionality

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the 'Webview Spam' course on Play Academy



While the above are one of the most frequent mistakes, make sure to stay up to date with the latest policies by visiting the Play Developer Policy Center. Check out Google Play Academy's Policy training, including our new Spam courses, and watch our Play PolicyBytes videos to learn more about recent policy updates.

16 Oct 2020 5:00pm GMT

15 Oct 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Introducing the Android for Cars App Library

Posted by Eric Bahna, Product Manager

In August, we announced plans to expand Android Auto's app ecosystem to enable new navigation, parking, and electric vehicle charging apps. We've been hard at work collaborating with our early access partners to test and refine the Android for Cars App Library. Today, we're releasing the library into an open beta, for any developer to use. This means you'll now be able to design, develop, and test your navigation, parking or charging app on Android Auto. We're looking forward to enabling Google Play Store publishing for your beta apps in the coming months.

Android

Three of our early access partners: ChargePoint, SpotHero, and Sygic

The design phase is the time to familiarize yourself with our design guidelines and app quality guidelines. Driver safety is core to our mission and we want to help you optimize your app for the car.

When it comes time to build your app, our new library will hopefully make development easy. Get started with the developer guide and please give us feedback via our public issue tracker.

In the testing phase, see your app come alive on the Desktop Head Unit (DHU), our emulator that lets you simulate a car infotainment display. The DHU now supports multiple screen sizes, displaying information in the instrument cluster, and simulating vehicles with touchpad input.

Android for cars image

The DHU simulating an instrument cluster, a widescreen head unit, and a touchpad

You can get started with the Android for Cars App Library here. We're excited to see what you build next!

15 Oct 2020 6:38pm GMT

14 Oct 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Optimize your app publishing process with new Google Play Console features

Steve Suppe, Product Manager, Google Play


Publishing your app or game is one of the most important moments in your app's lifecycle. You want everything to go smoothly, from making sure the production release is stable, to getting test releases out quickly, to getting your marketing message just right.

That's why visibility is key. Knowing when your app is in review, when it's been approved, and when it can go live on Google Play helps you set your own schedule.

Now, with two new features in the new Google Play Console, you can do just that. The Publishing overview page helps you better understand your publishing process and Managed publishing gives you better control of when your app updates go live on Google Play. When the new Play Console rolls out to everyone starting November 2, these features will be the recommended way to control your release timing, so let's take a closer look.

Publishing overview

The new Publishing overview page displays all your recent changes to your releases, store listings, and more, including those that are currently being reviewed or processed by Google Play. For those of you with larger teams, this means you can now coordinate all your changes in one place and publish everything at the same time.

Unlike the developer activity log, the Publishing overview only shows changes that will be visible on Google Play, or what you've told us about how we should consider and review your app.

The "Changes in review" section lets you quickly see changes
that have not been published yet.


These changes are organized by the type of change or release track so it's easy to understand at a glance.

Managed publishing

Many of you may be familiar with Timed publishing in the old Play Console. In the new Play Console, we've replaced Timed publishing with Managed publishing, to give you a clearer and more predictable publishing experience.


When you enable Managed publishing, approved changes will only go live when you decide instead of automatically after review and processing. This allows you to submit changes long before your intended release date, giving yourself time to review or make changes without sacrificing control over your publishing date.

See which changes have been reviewed and approved


When Managed publishing is on, the Publishing overview page contains two sections: one that shows which changes have been approved and are ready to publish, and another that shows changes that are still in review.

We've also made some improvements that many of you have been asking for:

See if Managed publishing is turned in the left-hand navigation menu


Soon, you'll be able to see the Managed publishing icon in the left-hand nav next to Publishing overview. This way, you can tell Managed publishing is on from anywhere in the Play Console.

To learn more about publishing with the new Play Console, including scenarios when these features would be most useful, check out this course from Play Academy. And if you haven't already, update to the new Play Console at play.google.com/console and give Managed publishing a try.

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14 Oct 2020 1:36pm GMT

12 Oct 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Android Studio 4.1

Posted by Scott Swarthout, Product Manager

Android Studio logo

Today, we're excited to release the stable version of Android Studio 4.1, with a set of features addressing common editing, debugging, and optimization use cases. A major theme for this release was helping you be more productive while using Android Jetpack libraries, Android's suite of libraries to help developers follow best practices and write code faster. Based on your feedback we made a number of improvements to the code editing experience with IDE integrations for popular Android libraries.

Some highlights of Android Studio 4.1 include a new Database Inspector for querying your app's database, support for navigating projects that use Dagger or Hilt for dependency injection, and better support for on-device machine learning with support for TensorFlow Lite models in Android projects. We've also made updates to Apply Changes to make deployment faster. Based on your feedback, we've made several changes to help game developers with a new native memory profiler and standalone profiling tools.

Product quality continues to be a major focus for the team, and we've been hard at work tracking down bugs and performance issues. We've heard from many developers that they liked the focus on better performance and reliability, so we're happy to report that during this release cycle we've fixed 2,370 bugs and closed 275 public issues. We stay committed to maintaining high quality since we know that is key to your developer productivity.

Thank you to those who gave your early feedback in preview releases. Your feedback helped us iterate and improve features in Android Studio 4.1. If you are ready for the next stable release, and want to use a new set of productivity features, Android Studio 4.1 is ready to download for you to get started.

Below is a full list of new features in Android Studio 4.1, organized by key developer flows.

Design

Material Design Components updates

Android Studio templates in the create New Project dialog now use Material Design Components (MDC) and conform to updated guidance for themes and styles by default. These changes will make it easier to use recommended material styling patterns and support modern UI features like dark themes.

Material Design Components updates

Material Design Components updates in Project Templates

Updates include:

Develop

Database Inspector

We wanted to make it easier to inspect, query, and modify your app's databases using the new Database Inspector. To get started, deploy your app to a device running API level 26 or higher and select View > Tool Windows > Database Inspector from the menu bar. Whether your app uses the Jetpack Room library or the Android platform version of SQLite directly, you can now easily inspect databases and tables in your running app or run custom queries.

Because Android Studio maintains a live connection while you're inspecting your app, you can also modify values using the Database Inspector and see those changes in your running app. If you use the Room persistence library, Android Studio also places run buttons next to each query in the code editor to help you quickly run queries you define in your @Query annotations. Learn more

Database inspector

Inspect, query, and modify your app's databases with the Database Inspector

Run Android Emulator directly in Android Studio

You can now run the Android Emulator directly in Android Studio. Use this feature to conserve screen real estate, to navigate quickly between the emulator and the editor window using hotkeys, and to organize your IDE and emulator workflow in a single application window. You can manage snapshots and common emulator actions like rotating and taking screenshots from within Studio, but access to the full set of options still requires running the stable emulator. You can opt-in to use this feature by going to File → SettingsToolsEmulatorLaunch in Tool Window.

Android Emulator in Android Studio

Run the Android Emulator inside of Android Studio

Dagger Navigation Support

Dagger is a popular library for dependency injection on Android. Android Studio makes it easier to navigate between your Dagger-related code by providing new gutter actions and extending support in the Find Usages window. For example, clicking on the go to producer gutter action gutter action next to a method that consumes a given type navigates you to the provider of that type. Conversely, clicking on the go to consumer gutter action gutter action navigates you to where a type is used as a dependency. Android Studio also supports navigation actions for dependencies defined with the Jetpack Hilt library. Learn more.

Gutter actions navigation in Android Studio

Navigate between Dagger-related code with gutter actions

Use TensorFlow Lite models

Android developers are using machine learning to create innovative and helpful experiences. TensorFlow Lite is a popular library for writing mobile machine learning models, and we wanted to make it easier to import these models into Android apps. Similar to view binding, Android Studio generates easy-to-use classes so you can run your model with less code and better type safety. The current implementation of ML Model Binding supports image classification and style transfer models, provided they are enhanced with metadata.

To see the details for an imported model and get instructions on how to use it in your app, double-click the .tflite model file in your project to open the model viewer page. Learn more.

TensorFlow Lite in Android Studio 4.1

View TensorFlow Lite model metadata in Android Studio 4.1

Build & Test

Android Emulator - Foldable Hinge Support

Android Studio

In addition to recently adding 5G cellular testing support, we've added support for foldables in the Android emulator. With Android emulator 30.0.26 and above, you can configure foldable devices with a variety of fold designs and configurations. When a foldable device is configured, the emulator will publish hinge angle sensor updates and posture changes, so you can test how your app responds to these form factors. See the Developing for Android 11 with the Android Emulator blogpost to read more.

Extended controls, device pose

Apply Changes updates

Faster builds help developers make changes to their app more easily and quickly. To help you be more productive as you iterate on your app, we've made multiple enhancements to Apply Changes for devices running Android 11 or higher.

We've invested heavily in optimizing your iteration speed by developing a method to deploy and persist changes on a device without installing the application. After an initial deploy, subsequent deploys to Android 11 devices using either Apply Code Changes or Apply Changes and Restart Activity are now significantly faster. We've also added support for additional code changes in Apply Changes. Now if you add a method, you can deploy those changes to a running app by clicking either Apply Code Changes or Apply Changes and Restart Activity.

Export C/C++ dependencies from AARs

Android Gradle Plugin 4.0 added the ability to import Prefab packages in AAR dependencies. We wanted to extend the capability of this feature to support sharing native libraries as well. AGP version 4.1 enables exporting libraries from your external native build in an AAR for an Android Library project. To export your native libraries, add the following to the android block of your library project's build.gradle file:

buildFeatures {
    prefabPublishing true
}

prefab {
    mylibrary {
      headers "src/main/cpp/mylibrary/include"
    }

    myotherlibrary {
        headers "src/main/cpp/myotherlibrary/include"
    }
}

Symbolication for native crash reports

When a crash or ANR occurs in native code, the system produces a stack trace, which is a snapshot of the sequence of nested functions called in your program up to the moment it crashed. These snapshots can help you to identify and fix any problems in the source, but they must first be symbolicated to translate the machine addresses back into human-readable function names.

If your app or game is developed using native code, like C++, you can now upload debug symbols files to the Play Console for each version of your app. The Play Console uses these debug symbols files to symbolicate your app's stack traces, making it easier to analyze crashes and ANRs. To include debug symbols in your app bundle, add the following line to your project's build.gradle file:

android.buildTypes.release.ndk.debugSymbolLevel = 'SYMBOL_TABLE'

Optimize

System Trace UI improvements

In Android Studio 4.1 we've overhauled System Trace, an optimization tool that gives you a real-time look at how your app is using system resources. We made it easier to select a trace with box selection mode, added a new analysis tab, and added more frame rendering data to help you investigate rendering issues in your app's UI. Learn more.

Box selection: In the Threads section, you can now drag your mouse to perform a box selection of a rectangular area, which you can zoom into by clicking the Zoom to Selection button on the top right (or use the M keyboard shortcut). When you drag and drop similar threads next to each other, you can select across multiple threads to inspect all of them at once.

Use box selection to more easily select traces.

Trace selection

Summary tab: The new Summary tab in the Analysis panel displays:

View aggregated statistics in Summary tab of Android Studio 4.1

View aggregated statistics in the Summary tab

Display data: In the Display section, new timelines for SurfaceFlinger and VSYNC help you investigate rendering issues in your app's UI.

Standalone profilers

It's now possible to access the Android Studio Profilers in a separate window from the primary Android Studio window. This is useful when optimizing Android games built with other tools like Unity or Visual Studio.

To run the standalone profilers, do the following:

  1. Make sure the profilers in Android Studio are not already running on your system.
  2. Go to the installation directory and navigate to the bin directory:

Windows/Linux: <studio-installation-folder>\bin

macOS: <studio-installation-folder>/Contents/bin

  1. Depending on your OS, run profiler.exe or profiler.sh

The standalone profiler will allow you to connect to the Android emulator or any connected devices.

Standalone Android Studio profiler

Optimize your app with the Standalone Android Studio Profilers

Native Memory Profiler

Tracking native memory usage is important for game developers and other developers using C++ to understand how to optimize their app's memory consumption. The Android Studio Memory Profiler now includes a Native Memory Profiler for apps deployed to physical devices running Android 10 or later. The Native Memory Profiler tracks allocations/deallocations of objects in native code for a specific time period and provides information about total allocations and remaining system heap size.

To initiate a recording, click Record native allocations at the top of the Memory Profiler window:

Native Memory Profiler window in Android Studio 4.1

View native memory allocations with the Native Memory Profiler

To recap, Android Studio 4.1 includes these new enhancements & features:

Design

Develop

Build & Test

Optimize

These materials are not sponsored by or affiliated with Unity Technologies or its affiliates. "Unity" is a trademark or registered trademark of Unity Technologies or its affiliates in the U.S. and elsewhere.

12 Oct 2020 5:00pm GMT

02 Oct 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Announcing the launch of the Android Partner Vulnerability Initiative

Posted by Kylie McRoberts, Program Manager and Alec Guertin, Security Engineer

Android graphic

Google's Android Security & Privacy team has launched the Android Partner Vulnerability Initiative (APVI) to manage security issues specific to Android OEMs. The APVI is designed to drive remediation and provide transparency to users about issues we have discovered at Google that affect device models shipped by Android partners.

Another layer of security

Android incorporates industry-leading security features and every day we work with developers and device implementers to keep the Android platform and ecosystem safe. As part of that effort, we have a range of existing programs to enable security researchers to report security issues they have found. For example, you can report vulnerabilities in Android code via the Android Security Rewards Program (ASR), and vulnerabilities in popular third-party Android apps through the Google Play Security Rewards Program. Google releases ASR reports in Android Open Source Project (AOSP) based code through the Android Security Bulletins (ASB). These reports are issues that could impact all Android based devices. All Android partners must adopt ASB changes in order to declare the current month's Android security patch level (SPL). But until recently, we didn't have a clear way to process Google-discovered security issues outside of AOSP code that are unique to a much smaller set of specific Android OEMs. The APVI aims to close this gap, adding another layer of security for this targeted set of Android OEMs.

Improving Android OEM device security

The APVI covers Google-discovered issues that could potentially affect the security posture of an Android device or its user and is aligned to ISO/IEC 29147:2018 Information technology -- Security techniques -- Vulnerability disclosure recommendations. The initiative covers a wide range of issues impacting device code that is not serviced or maintained by Google (these are handled by the Android Security Bulletins).

Protecting Android users

The APVI has already processed a number of security issues, improving user protection against permissions bypasses, execution of code in the kernel, credential leaks and generation of unencrypted backups. Below are a few examples of what we've found, the impact and OEM remediation efforts.

Permission Bypass

In some versions of a third-party pre-installed over-the-air (OTA) update solution, a custom system service in the Android framework exposed privileged APIs directly to the OTA app. The service ran as the system user and did not require any permissions to access, instead checking for knowledge of a hardcoded password. The operations available varied across versions, but always allowed access to sensitive APIs, such as silently installing/uninstalling APKs, enabling/disabling apps and granting app permissions. This service appeared in the code base for many device builds across many OEMs, however it wasn't always registered or exposed to apps. We've worked with impacted OEMs to make them aware of this security issue and provided guidance on how to remove or disable the affected code.

Credential Leak

A popular web browser pre-installed on many devices included a built-in password manager for sites visited by the user. The interface for this feature was exposed to WebView through JavaScript loaded in the context of each web page. A malicious site could have accessed the full contents of the user's credential store. The credentials are encrypted at rest, but used a weak algorithm (DES) and a known, hardcoded key. This issue was reported to the developer and updates for the app were issued to users.

Overly-Privileged Apps

The checkUidPermission method in the PackageManagerService class was modified in the framework code for some devices to allow special permissions access to some apps. In one version, the method granted apps with the shared user ID com.google.uid.shared any permission they requested and apps signed with the same key as the com.google.android.gsf package any permission in their manifest. Another version of the modification allowed apps matching a list of package names and signatures to pass runtime permission checks even if the permission was not in their manifest. These issues have been fixed by the OEMs.

More information

Keep an eye out at https://bugs.chromium.org/p/apvi/ for future disclosures of Google-discovered security issues under this program, or find more information there on issues that have already been disclosed.

Acknowledgements: Scott Roberts, Shailesh Saini and Łukasz Siewierski, Android Security and Privacy Team

02 Oct 2020 5:04pm GMT

28 Sep 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Listening to Developer Feedback to Improve Google Play

Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President, Product Management

Developers are our partners and by pairing their creativity and innovation with our platforms and tools, together we create delightful experiences for billions of people around the world. Listening carefully to their feedback is an important part of how we continue to make Android better with each release and improve how mobile app stores work. In an April 2019 blog post we shared some updates we made to Android APIs and Play Policies based on developer feedback. And today, we wanted to share some additional insights we've gained from developer feedback and how we're taking that input to improve Google Play and Android. Some of the key themes we've heard include:

We'd like to share our perspective on each of these points.

Choice of stores

We believe that developers should have a choice in how they distribute their apps and that stores should compete for the consumer's and the developer's business. Choice has always been a core tenet of Android, and it's why consumers have always had control over which apps they use, be it their keyboard, messaging app, phone dialer, or app store.

Android has always allowed people to get apps from multiple app stores. In fact, most Android devices ship with at least two app stores preinstalled, and consumers are able to install additional app stores. Each store is able to decide its own business model and consumer features. This openness means that even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform. This is why Fortnite, for example, is available directly from Epic's store or from other app stores including Samsung's Galaxy App store.

That said, some developers have given us feedback on how we can make the user experience for installing another app store on their device even better. In response to that feedback, we will be making changes in Android 12 (next year's Android release) to make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place. We are designing all this now and look forward to sharing more in the future!

Clarity on billing policies

As we mentioned, each Android app store is able to decide its own business model and consumer features. For Google Play, users expect a safe, secure and seamless experience, and developers come to Play for powerful tools and services that help them build and grow their businesses. Our developer policies are designed to help us deliver on these expectations and Google Play's billing system is a cornerstone of our ongoing commitment. Consumers get the benefit of a trusted system that allows them to safely, securely, and seamlessly buy from developers worldwide. Google protects consumers' payment info with multiple layers of security, using one of the world's most advanced security infrastructures. For developers, Google Play's billing system provides an easy way for billions of Android users to transact with them using their local, preferred method of payment.

We've always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play's billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods, and pay a service fee from a percentage of the purchase. To be clear, this policy is only applicable to less than 3% of developers with apps on Google Play. We only collect a service fee if the developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, and we think that is fair. Not only does this approach allow us to continuously reinvest in the platform, this business model aligns our success directly with the success of developers.

But we have heard feedback that our policy language could be more clear regarding which types of transactions require the use of Google Play's billing system, and that the current language was causing confusion. We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play's billing system.

Again, this isn't new. This has always been the intention of this long standing policy and this clarification will not affect the vast majority of developers with apps on Google Play. Less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play's billing. But for those who already have an app on Google Play that requires technical work to integrate our billing system, we do not want to unduly disrupt their roadmaps and are giving a year (until September 30, 2021) to complete any needed updates. And of course we will require Google's apps that do not already use Google Play's billing system to make the necessary updates as well.

Equal treatment

Our policies apply equally to all apps distributed on Google Play, including Google's own apps. We use the same standards to decide which apps to promote on Google Play, whether they're third-party apps or our own apps. In fact, we regularly promote apps by Google's competitors in our Editors Choice picks when they provide a great user experience. Similarly, our algorithms rank third-party apps and games using the same criteria as for ranking Google's own apps.

Communicating with customers

Developers have told us it is very important to be able to speak directly with their customers without significant restrictions. As app developers ourselves, we agree wholeheartedly and our policies have always allowed this.

That said, developers have asked whether they can communicate with their customers directly about pricing, offers, and alternative ways to pay beyond their app via email or other channels. To clarify, Google Play does not have any limitations here on this kind of communication outside of a developer's app. For example, they might have an offering on another Android app store or through their website at a lower cost than on Google Play.

We understand the importance of maintaining the customer relationship. As such, we have also always allowed developers to issue refunds to their customers and provide other customer support directly.

Enabling innovation

Developers are coming up with cool things all the time. Using their feedback, we are always trying to adjust our approach to ensure that we continue to help enable new forms of innovation. For example, recent innovations in game streaming have generated new game experiences that are available on Google Play, including Microsoft's recent launch of Xbox cloud gaming in the Xbox Game Pass Android app.

Keep the feedback coming

We really appreciate all the feedback we have received from our developer community and believe the Android ecosystem has never been a more exciting place to be.

It is exciting to see developers such as Duolingo, Truecaller, Hyperconnect, Any.do, and Viber be so successful and grow their business on Android and reach a diverse audience. These kinds of services delight consumers and we are thrilled to have built a platform that can support them.

We've also published some additional frequently asked developer questions here.

28 Sep 2020 5:00pm GMT

Answering your FAQs about Google Play billing

Posted by Mrinalini Loew, Group Product Manager

We are committed to providing powerful tools and services to help developers build and grow their businesses while ensuring a safe, secure and seamless experience for users. Today we are addressing some of the most common themes we hear in feedback from developers. Below are a few frequently asked developer questions that we thought would also be helpful to address.

Q: Can I distribute my app via other Android app stores or through my website?

A: Yes, you can distribute your app however you like! As an open ecosystem, most Android devices come preinstalled with more than one store - and users can install others. Android provides developers the freedom and flexibility to distribute apps through other Android app stores, directly via websites, or device preloads, all without using Google Play's billing system.

Q: What apps need to use Google Play's billing system?

A: All apps distributed on Google Play that are offering in-app purchases of digital goods need to use Google Play's billing system. Our payments policy has always required this. Less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play's billing. For those few developers that need to update their apps, they will have until September 30, 2021 to make those changes. New apps submitted after January 20, 2021 will need to be in compliance.

Q: Many businesses have needed to move their previously physical services online (e.g. digital live events). Will these apps need to use Google Play's billing?

A: We recognize that the global pandemic has resulted in many businesses having to navigate the challenges of moving their physical business to digital and engaging customers in a new way, for example, moving in-person experiences and classes online. For the next 12 months, these businesses will not need to comply with our payments policy, and we will continue to reassess the situation over the next year. For developers undergoing these changes, we're eager to hear from you and work with you to help you reach new users and grow your online businesses, while enabling a consistent and safe user experience online.

Q: Do Google's apps have to follow this policy too?

A: Yes. Google Play's developer policies - including the requirement that apps use Google Play's billing system for in-app purchases of digital goods - apply to all apps on Play, including Google's own apps.

Q: Can I communicate with my users about alternate ways to pay?

A: Yes. Outside of your app you are free to communicate with them about alternative purchase options. You can use email marketing and other channels outside of the app to provide subscription offers and even special pricing.

Q: Can I communicate with my users about promotions on other platforms?

A: Of course. We're an app developer too, and we know how important it is not to restrict your ability to communicate with your users. You can email them or otherwise communicate outside of the app information about your offerings, even if they are different on Google Play than in other places.

Q: Can I have different app features, prices and experience depending on the platform?

A: Yes. It is your service and business, it is up to you. We do not require parity across platforms. You can create different versions of your app to support different platforms, features and pricing models.

Q: Can I offer a consumption-only (reader) app on Play?

A: Yes. Google Play allows any app to be consumption-only, even if it is part of a paid service. For example, a user could login when the app opens and the user could access content paid for somewhere else.

Q: Does your billing policy change depending on what category my app is in?

A: No. Business or consumer apps, and verticals like music or email are all treated the same on Google Play.

Q: Can I offer my customers refunds directly?

A: Yes. We understand the importance of maintaining the relationship with your customers. You can continue to issue refunds to your customers and other customer support directly.

Q: Will Google Play allow cloud gaming apps?

A: Yes. Cloud game streaming apps that comply with Play's policies from any developer are welcome on Google Play.

For more examples and best practices for in-app purchases, visit this Play Academy course and watch this video.

28 Sep 2020 4:59pm GMT

24 Sep 2020

feedAndroid Developers Blog

All developers will get the new Google Play Console on November 2, 2020

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play Console

We hope you're enjoying the new Google Play Console. With over 350,000 people now using it as their default experience and thousands more providing feedback, the new Play Console is ready to come out of beta. Thank you to everyone who has helped to get it here. This means that the old Play Console will be discontinued starting November 2, 2020. After this date, you'll be automatically directed to the new Play Console when you log into your account.

If you haven't tried it already, we recommend that you switch to the new version now. To get started, visit play.google.com/console.

The new Play Console's responsive design means that you can use it across all of your devices. The new navigation makes it easier to find and understand important features, and we've added areas to help you better understand your release status, acquisition performance, and guidance on policy changes.

Thanks to your feedback, we've already made a lot of improvements:

To learn more about the new Play Console, you can:

Thank you for being a part of our community, and we hope you enjoy the new Play Console!

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24 Sep 2020 1:06pm GMT

10 Nov 2011

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Latest action game INC from OrangePixel now available!

From the developer of Meganoid and Stardash comes a new action arcade game: INC! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j5OEG-3RyM Get it from the...

10 Nov 2011 9:31am GMT

Free online video chat

More than 1000 broadcast cameras for you online - the most incendiary models in Russia. 1000 girls, 1000, the temptations, 1000, full of desire - all...

10 Nov 2011 7:48am GMT

Layout problem

Hi Friends I decided to work with a tab layout application. Program consist of 3 tabs and a button. I like to place the button below the tab. ...

10 Nov 2011 5:20am GMT

[ANDROID]5 New Live Wallpapers for ANDROID !

*1-) Spectrum ICS * Image: http://i.imgur.com/IjE5B.jpg *2-) Alien Shapes* Image: http://i.imgur.com/7hQHA.jpg

10 Nov 2011 12:50am GMT

09 Nov 2011

feedAndroid Forums

New to Android, thinking of getting Asus Transformer

Hey all, New to this site and Android. I'm a 50 year old fireman who has resisted the newest tech gadgets but am wanting a tablet for use at home....

09 Nov 2011 10:33pm GMT

Island Fortress - "reverse Angry Birds" (FREE GAME)

Island Fortress is a free physics based puzzle/construction game where player has to defend the treasure from the pirate's cannonballs....

09 Nov 2011 8:42pm GMT

Unlock Code Question (MyTouch 3G)

I have a question about using an unlock code with an HTC T-Mobile MyTouch 3G. So I got the phone from a guy on Craigslist, and I have AT&T. In order...

09 Nov 2011 8:28pm GMT

[Game] Mini-Bubbles

Free Mini-Bubbles Android Market Link: https://market.android.com/details?id=br.com.dotfive.minibubbles Pop the most bubbles you can within...

09 Nov 2011 6:39pm GMT

Top 6 Android Tablet For 2011

Well now a days we are seeing new tablets coming every day and we see new upcoming tablets leaks too! It's difficult to choose best one which works...

09 Nov 2011 4:15pm GMT

unlock code

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09 Nov 2011 2:56pm GMT