28 Sep 2016

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview 3: Play Store and More

Posted by Hoi Lam, Developer Advocate

Today we're launching the third developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 with a big new addition: Google Play on Android Wear. The Play Store app makes it easy for users to find and install apps directly on the watch, helping developers like you reach more users.

Play Store features

With Play Store for Android Wear, users can browse recommended apps in the home view and search for apps using voice, keyboard, handwriting, and recommended queries, so they can find apps more easily. Users can switch between multiple accounts, be part of alpha and beta tests, and update or uninstall apps in the "My apps" view on their watch, so they can manage apps more easily. Perhaps the coolest feature: If users want an app on their watch but not on their phone, they can install only the watch app. In fact, in Android Wear 2.0, phone apps are no longer necessary. You can now build and publish watch-only apps for users to discover on Google Play.

Why an on-watch store?

We asked developers like you what you wanted most out of Android Wear, and you told us you wanted to make it easier for users to discover apps. So we ran studies with users to find out where they expected and wanted to discover apps--and they repeatedly looked for and asked for a way to discover apps right on the watch itself. Along with improvements to app discovery on the phone and web, the Play Store on the watch helps users find apps right where they need them.

Publish your apps

To make your apps available on Play Store for Android Wear, just follow these steps. You'll need to make sure your Android Wear 2.0 apps set minSdkVersion to 24 or higher, use the runtime permissions model, and are uploaded via multi-APK using the Play Developer Console. If your app supports Android Wear 1.0, the developer guide also covers the use of product flavors in Gradle.

Download the New Android Wear companion app

To set up Developer Preview 3, you'll need to install a beta version of the Android Wear app on your phone, flash your watch to the latest preview release, and use the phone app to add a Google Account to your watch. These steps are detailed in Download and Test with a Device. If you don't have a watch to test on, you can use the emulator as well.

Other additions in Developer Preview 3

Developer Preview 3 also includes:

28 Sep 2016 10:26pm GMT

27 Sep 2016

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Announcing the winners of the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco; Indie Games Contest coming soon to Europe

Posted by Jamil Moledina, Google Play, Games Strategic Lead

Last Saturday, we hosted the first Google Play Indie Games Festival in North America, where we showcased 30 amazing games that celebrate the passion, innovation, and art of indies. After a competitive round of voting from fans and on-stage presentations to a jury of industry experts, we recognized seven finalists nominees and three winners.

Winners:
Presented by Greg Batha
Bit Bit Blocks is a cute and action-packed competitive puzzle game. Play with your friends on a single screen, or challenge yourself in single player mode. Head-to-head puzzle play anytime, anywhere.
Presented by Kaveh Daryabeygi, Wombo Combo
Numbo Jumbo is a casual mobile puzzle number game for iOS and Android. Players group numbers that add together: for example, [3, 5, 8] works because 3+5=8.
Presented by Chetan Surpur & Eric Rahman, Highkey Games
ORBIT puts a gravity simulator at the heart of a puzzle game. Launch planets with a flick of your finger, and try to get them into orbit around black holes. ORBIT also features a sandbox where you can create your own universes, control time, and paint with gravity.


Finalist nominees:


Antihero [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Tim Conkling
Antihero is a "fast-paced strategy game with an (Oliver) Twist." Run a thieves' guild in a gas-lit, corrupt city. Recruit urchins, hire thugs, steal everything - and bribe, blackmail, and assassinate your opposition. Single-player and cross-platform multiplayer for desktops, tablets, and phones.
Armajet [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Nicola Geretti & Alexander Krivicich, Super Bit Machine
Armajet is a free-to-play multiplayer shooter that pits teams of players against each other in fast-paced jetpack combat. Armajet is a best in class mobile game designed for spectator-friendly competitive gaming for tablets and smartphones. Players compete in a modern arena shooter that's easy to learn, but hard to master.
Norman's Night In: The Cave [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Nick Iorfino & Alex Reed, Bactrian Games
Norman's Night In is a 2D puzzle-platformer that tells the tale of Norman and his fateful fall into the world of cave. While test driving the latest model 3c Bowling Ball, Norman finds himself lost with nothing but his loaned bball and a weird feeling that somehow he was meant to be there.
Presented by David Fox, Double Coconut
Parallyzed is an atmospheric adventure platformer with unique gameplay, set in a dark and enchanting dreamscape. You play twin sisters who have been cast into separate dimensions. Red and Blue have different attributes and talents, are deeply connected, and have the ability to swap bodies at any time.

Finalists nominees and winners also received a range of prizes, including Google I/O 2017 tickets, a Tango Development kit, Google Cloud credits, an NVIDIA Android TV & K1 tablet, and a Razer Forge TV bundle.

Indie Games Contest coming to Europe

We're continuing our effort to help indie game developers thrive by highlighting innovative and fun games for fans around the world. Today, we are announcing the Indie Games Contest for developers based in European countries (specific list of countries coming soon!). This is a great opportunity for indie games developers to win prizes that will help you showcase your art to industry experts and grow your business and your community of players worldwide. Make sure you don't miss out on hearing the details by signing up here for updates.

As we shared at the festival, it's rewarding to see how Google Play has evolved over the years. We're now reaching over 1 billion users every month and there's literally something for everyone. From virtual reality to family indie games, developers like you continue to inspire, provoke, and innovate through beautiful, artistic games.

27 Sep 2016 5:03pm GMT

21 Sep 2016

feedAndroid Developers Blog

Extending Web Technology with Android

Developer guest post by Active Theory

Paper Planes started as a simple thought - "What if you could throw a paper plane from one screen to another?"

The heart of our concept was to bring people together from all over the world, using the power of the web - an instant connection to one another. Modern web technology, specifically JavaScript and WebGL, powered the experience on every screen.

Paper Planes was initially featured at Google I/O 2016, connecting attendees and outside viewers for 30 minutes preceding the keynote. For the public launch on International Peace Day 2016, we created an Android Experiment, which is also featured on Google Play, to augment the existing web technology with native Android Nougat features such as rich notifications when a plane is caught elsewhere in the world.

Introduction

Users create and fold their own plane while adding a stamp that is pre-filled with their location. A simple throwing gesture launches the plane into the virtual world. Users visiting the desktop website would see their planes flying into the screen.

Later, users can check back and see where their planes have been caught around the world. Each stamp on the plane reads like a passport, and a 3D Earth highlights flightpath and distance travelled.

In addition to making their own planes, users can gesture their phone like a net to catch a plane that has been thrown from elsewhere and pinch to open it, revealing where it has visited. Then they can add their own stamp, and throw it back into the flock.

WebView

We developed Paper Planes to work across devices ranging from the 50-foot screen on stage at Google I/O to desktop and mobile using the latest in web technology.

WebGL

From the stylized low-poly Earth to the flocking planes, WebGL is used to render the 3D elements that power the experience. We wrote custom GLSL shaders to light the Earth and morph targets to animate the paper as the user pinches to open or close.

WebSockets

When a user "throws" a plane a message is sent over websockets to the back-end servers where it is relayed to all desktop computers to visualize the plane taking off.

WebWorkers

The plane flocking simulation is calculated across multiple threads using WebWorkers that calculate the position of each plane and relay that information back to the main thread to be rendered by WebGL.

To create an experience that works great across platforms, we extended the web with native Android code. This enabled us to utilize the deep integration of Chromium within Android to make the view layer of the application with the web code that already existed, while adding deeper integration with the OS such as rich notifications and background services.

If you're interested in learning more about how to bridge WebView and Java code, check out this GitHub repo for a tutorial.

Notifications

Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) was used to send push notifications to the Android app. When a user's plane has been caught and thrown by someone else, a notification showing how many cities and miles it has travelled is sent to the device of the plane's creator via FCM. Outgoing notifications are managed to ensure they are not sent too frequently to a device.

Background Service

We implemented a background service to run once a day which checks against local storage to determine when a user last visited the app. If the user hasn't visited in over two weeks, the app sends a notification to invite the user back into the app to create a new plane.

The Communication Network

Our application runs on a network of servers on Google Cloud Platform. We used built-in geocoding headers to get approximate geographic locations for stamps and Socket.IO to connect all devices over WebSockets.

Users connect to the server nearest them, which relays messages to a single main server as well as to any desktop computers viewing the experience in that region.

Moving forward

This approach worked extremely well for us, enabling an experience that was smooth and captivating across platforms and form factors, connecting people from all over the world. Extending the web with native capabilities has proven to be a valuable avenue to deliver high quality experiences going forward. You can learn even more on the Android Experiments website.

21 Sep 2016 5:01pm GMT