31 Jul 2015
When experiencing technical difficulties, you may be only a factory set away from seeing improvements. For example, with my LG G3, I was having issues with audio levels during phone calls and a factory reset fixed it right up. Doing a factory reset doesn't always provide a fix; however, it's usually the first thing customer […]
Come comment on this article: How to factory reset your Android device
31 Jul 2015 3:06pm GMT
WWE Network is now available on the Google Play Store for Android TV, allowing users to watch live events or re-watch past matches. Keep in mind that you will need a subscription to access most of WWE Network's content. In signing up for a subscription, you will have unlimited access to pay-per-view events, live programming, […]
Come comment on this article: WWE Network now available in Google Play for Android TV
31 Jul 2015 3:02pm GMT
Discoverability on the Google Play Store can sometimes be a pain, especially if your app is similar to or in competition with a lot of other apps. A few months … Continue reading
31 Jul 2015 2:40pm GMT
NVIDIA might be in the process of pushing out software updates to its devices, but it has also issued a voluntary worldwide recall for any SHIELD Tablet sold between July 2014 to July 2015. The recall is due to NVIDIA determining that because the tablets battery can overheat, the tablet poses a fire hazard. If you have an […]
Come comment on this article: PSA: NVIDIA announces worldwide recall for SHIELD Tablet, overheating battery poses fire risk
31 Jul 2015 2:03pm GMT
Get quick and secure access to all your online accounts with a lifetime subscription to Sticky Password Premium, 50% off until this Saturday at Android Community Deals. Most people conduct … Continue reading
31 Jul 2015 2:00pm GMT
Most smartphones these days are behemoths of power, almost as powerful as micro PCs in a pocket-sized form. While all that power is available at our fingertips, quite literally, however, … Continue reading
31 Jul 2015 1:42pm GMT
30 Jul 2015
Posted by Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android
Previewed earlier this summer at Google I/O, Android Studio 1.3 is now available on the stable release channel. We appreciated the early feedback from those developers on our canary and beta channels to help ship a great product.
Android Studio 1.3 is our biggest feature release for the year so far, which includes a new memory profiler, improved testing support, and full editing and debugging support for C++. Let's take a closer look.
New Features in Android Studio 1.3
Performance & Testing Tools
- Android Memory (HPROF) Viewer
Android Studio now allows you to capture and analyze memory snapshots in the native Android HPROF format.
- Allocation Tracker
In addition to displaying a table of memory allocations that your app uses, the updated allocation tracker now includes a visual way to view the your app allocations.
- APK Tests in Modules
For more flexibility in app testing, you now have the option to place your code tests in a separate module and use the new test plugin ('com.android.test') instead of keeping your tests right next to your app code. This feature does require your app project to use the Gradle Plugin 1.3.
Code and SDK Management
- App permission annotations
Android Studio now has inline code annotation support to help you manage the new app permissions model in the M release of Android. Learn more about code annotations.
- Data Binding Support
New data brinding features allow you to create declarative layouts in order to minimize boilerplate code by binding your application logic into your layouts. Learn more about data binding.
- SDK Auto Update & SDK Manager
Managing Android SDK updates is now a part of the Android Studio. By default, Android Studio will now prompt you about new SDK & Tool updates. You can still adjust your preferences with the new & integrated Android SDK Manager.
- C++ Support
As a part of the Android 1.3 stable release, we included an Early Access Preview of the C++ editor & debugger support paired with an experimental build plugin. See the Android C++ Preview page for information on how to get started. Support for more complex projects and build configurations is in development, but let us know your feedback.
Time to Update
An important thing to remember is that an update to Android Studio does not require you to change your Android app projects. With updating, you get the latest features but still have control of which build tools and app dependency versions you want to use for your Android app.
For current developers on Android Studio, you can check for updates from the navigation menu. For new users, you can learn more about Android Studio on the product overview page or download the stable version from the Android Studio download site.
We are excited to launch this set of features in Android Studio and we are hard at work developing the next set of tools to make develop Android development easier on Android Studio. As always we welcome feedback on how we can help you. Connect with the Android developer tools team on Google+.
30 Jul 2015 9:03pm GMT
Posted by Ellie Powers, Product Manager, Google Play
Today, Google Play is making it easier for you to manage beta tests and get your users to join them. Since we launched beta testing two years ago, developers have told us that it's become a critical part of their workflow in testing ideas, gathering rapid feedback, and improving their apps. In fact, we've found that 80 percent of developers with popular apps routinely run beta tests as part of their workflow.
Improvements to managing a beta test in the Developer Console
Currently, the Google Play Developer Console lets developers release early versions of their app to selected users as an alpha or beta test before pushing updates to full production. The select user group downloads the app on Google Play as normal, but can't review or rate it on the store. This gives you time to address bugs and other issues without negatively impacting your app listing.
Based on your feedback, we're launching new features to more effectively manage your beta tests, and enable users to join with one click.
- NEW! Open beta - Use an open beta when you want any user who has the link to be able to join your beta with just one click. One of the advantages of an open beta is that it allows you to scale to a large number of testers. However, you can also limit the maximum number of users who can join.
- NEW! Closed beta using email addresses - If you want to restrict which users can access your beta, you have a new option: you can now set up a closed beta using lists of individual email addresses which you can add individually or upload as a .csv file. These users will be able to join your beta via a one-click opt-in link.
- Closed beta with Google+ community or Google Group - This is the option that you've been using today, and you can continue to use betas with Google+ communities or Google Groups. You will also be able to move to an open beta while maintaining your existing testers.
How developers are finding success with beta testing
Beta testing is one of the fast iteration features of Google Play and Android that help drive success for developers like Wooga, the creators of hit games Diamond Dash, Jelly Splash, and Agent Alice. Find out more about how Wooga iterates on Android first from Sebastian Kriese, Head of Partnerships, and Pal Tamas Feher, Head of Engineering.
Kabam is a global leader in AAA quality mobile games developed in partnership with Hollywood studios for such franchises such as Fast & Furious, Marvel, Star Wars and The Hobbit. Beta testing helps Kabam engineers perfect the gameplay for Android devices before launch. "The ability to receive pointed feedback and rapidly reiterate via alpha/beta testing on Google Play has been extremely beneficial to our worldwide launches," said Kabam VP Rob Oshima.
Matt Small, Co-Founder of Vector Unit recently told us how they've been using beta testing extensively to improve Beach Buggy Racing and uncover issues they may not have found otherwise. You can read Matt's blog post about beta testing on Google Play on Gamasutra to hear about their experience. We've picked a few of Matt's tips and shared them below:
- Limit more sensitive builds to a closed beta where you invite individual testers via email addresses. Once glaring problems are ironed out, publish your app to an open beta to gather feedback from a wider audience before going to production.
- Set expectations early. Let users know about the risks of beta testing (e.g. the software may not be stable) and tell them what you're looking for in their feedback.
- Encourage critical feedback. Thank people when their criticisms are thoughtful and clearly explained and try to steer less-helpful feedback in a more productive direction.
- Respond quickly. The more people see actual responses from the game developer, the more encouraged they are to participate.
- Enable Google Play game services. To let testers access features like Achievements and Leaderboards before they are published, go into the Google Play game services testing panel and enable them.
We hope this update to beta testing makes it easier for you to test your app and gather valuable feedback and that these tips help you conduct successful tests. Visit the Developer Console Help Center to find out more about setting up beta testing for your app.
30 Jul 2015 4:10pm GMT
29 Jul 2015
Posted by Wojtek Kaliciński, Developer Advocate, Android
Auto Backup for Apps makes seamless app data backup and restore possible with zero lines of application code. This feature will be available on Android devices running the upcoming M release. All you need to do to enable it for your app is update the targetSdkVersion to 23. You can test it now on the M Developer Preview, where we've enabled Auto Backup for all apps regardless of targetSdkVersion.
Auto Backup for Apps is provided by Google to both users and developers at no charge. Even better, the backup data stored in Google Drive does not count against the user's quota. Please note that data transferred may still incur charges from the user's cellular / internet provider.
What is Auto-Backup for Apps?
By default, for users that have opted in to backup, all of the data files of an app are automatically copied out to a user's Drive. That includes databases, shared preferences and other content in the application's private directory, up to a limit of 25 megabytes per app. Any data residing in the locations denoted by
Context.getNoBackupFilesDir() is excluded from backup. As for files on external storage, only those in
Context.getExternalFilesDir() are backed up.
How to control what is backed up
You can customize what app data is available for backup by creating a backup configuration file in the
res/xml folder and referencing it in your app's manifest:
In the configuration file, specify
<exclude/> rules that you need to fine tune the behavior of the default backup agent. Please refer to a detailed explanation of the rules syntax available in the documentation.
What to exclude from backup
You may not want to have certain app data eligible for backup. For such data, please use one of the mechanisms above. For example:
- You must exclude any device specific identifiers, either issued by a server or generated on the device. This includes the Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) registration token which, when restored to another device, can render your app on that device unable to receive GCM messages.
- Consider excluding account credentials or other sensitive information information, e.g., by asking the user to reauthenticate the first time they launch a restored app rather than allowing for storage of such information in the backup.
With such a diverse landscape of apps, it's important that developers consider how to maximise the benefits to the user of automatic backups. The goal is to reduce the friction of setting up a new device, which in most cases means transferring over user preferences and locally saved content.
For example, if you have the user's account stored in shared preferences such that it can be restored on install, they won't have to even think about which account they used to sign in with previously - they can submit their password and get going!
If you support a variety of log-ins (Google Sign-In and other providers, username/password), it's simple to keep track of which log-in method was used previously so the user doesn't have to.
Transitioning from key/value backups
If you have previously implemented the legacy, key/value backup by subclassing BackupAgent and setting it in your Manifest (
android:backupAgent), you're just one step away from transitioning to full-data backups. Simply add the
android:fullBackupOnly="true" attribute on
<application/>. This is ignored on pre-M versions of Android, meaning
onBackup/onRestore will still be called, while on M+ devices it lets the system know you wish to use full-data backups while still providing your own BackupAgent.
You can use the same approach even if you're not using key/value backups, but want to do any custom processing in
onCreate(), onFullBackup() or be notified when a restore operation happens in
onRestoreFinished(). Just remember to call
super.onFullBackup() if you want to retain the system implementation of XML include/exclude rules handling.
What is the backup/restore lifecycle?
The data restore happens as part of the package installation, before the user has a chance to launch your app. Backup runs at most once a day, when your device is charging and connected to Wi-Fi. If your app exceeds the data limit (currently set at 25 MB), no more backups will take place and the last saved snapshot will be used for subsequent restores. Your app's process is killed after a full backup happens and before a restore if you invoke it manually through the bmgr command (more about that below).
Test your apps now
Before you begin testing Auto Backup, make sure you have the latest M Developer Preview on your device or emulator. After you've installed your APK, use the adb shell command to access the bmgr tool.
Bmgr is a tool you can use to interact with the Backup Manager:
bmgr runschedules an immediate backup pass; you need to run this command once after installing your app on the device so that the Backup Manager has a chance to initialize properly
bmgr fullbackup <packagename>starts a full-data backup operation.
bmgr restore <packagename>restores previously backed up data
If you forget to invoke
bmgr run, you might see errors in Logcat when trying the
fullbackup and restore commands. If you are still having problems, make sure you have Backup enabled and a Google account set up in system Settings -> Backup & reset.
29 Jul 2015 7:00pm GMT