The Android Edge 5.20.2022
In this week’s newsletter:
- Google’s new app to help developers build better apps
- Braille display support is coming to the Android Accessibility Suite
- 10 pieces of news from Google I/O 2022 that you may have missed
- …and other tidbits of information that don’t contain high fructose corn syrup
In case you missed it
📱 Amazon announced Fire OS 8 (based on AOSP Android 11), which will come out next month. This is part of the new Fire 7 tablet release, so it’s still unclear whether older Fire tablets will see OS 8 or not. Fire OS 7 is based on Android 9, so the update to 11 is a pretty big deal.
👮♂️ Google has a new ad campaign promoting Android security, which leans hard into antimalware, security updates, and safeguarding of personal information. Dubbed “Protected by Android,” there’s not a lot of new info here — at least not for anyone deeply familiar with Android. But that’s also not who this ad is for. It’s for everyone else — the people who hear about Android’s “malware issue” and the like. Google’s putting them on notice, showing off what it does to keep Android safe and secure.
⌚ A beta version of the Wear OS app for Android is now available, though no beta update is out yet. You can sign up in the Play Store.
🧑🦯 The Android Accessibility Suite app is adding support for braille displays under the TalkBack service. The new update will also include navigation shortcuts for scrolling, editing, selecting text, and copying/pasting. The updated app will be preinstalled in the upcoming Android 13 Beta 3 release. Previously, braille display users had to use the BrailleBack app, which is a separate download.
News for developers
- In a post on the Android Developers Medium, Takeshi Hagikura wants to show you how to “stop your UI jank using CPU profiler in Android Studio.” Normally I try to summarize these how-tos, but that title is too perfect to mess up.
- Developers who are worried about hackers and fraudsters tampering with their apps should take a look at the new Play Integrity API and its nonce field. This post on the Android Developers Blog walks you through what a nonce is, how it works, and how to use it. Nice. Nonce.
- Google introduced a new app specifically to help developers build apps, covering Jetpack Compose, theming with Material3, adaptive layouts, and more. It’s called “Now in Android” and is currently available as an alpha release.
Android in the news
The aftermath of Google I/O 2022: My man Mishaal spent three solid days watching every talk and reading every blog. The result is this massive recap. And while we’ve talked about the big announcements already, here are ten things Google I/O 2022 you might not have heard about (yet).
- Google will start providing its own extensions for the CameraX library so that camera apps running on low-end devices can use portrait bokeh effects. Read more here.
- Assistant is getting brandless queries and app install suggestions so users won’t even have to say your app’s name or have your app installed for your app’s shortcuts to be invoked. Read more here.
- Developers will soon be able to build apps that use Matter through the Google Play Services API for Matter. Matter is the next-gen smart home connectivity standard that promises easy setup and device interoperability. Read more here.
- Google Wallet will support storing generic passes that are added via the new generic passes API. Brands can even customize the look and design of the card by creating a template. Read more here.
- The new Acceleration Service API improves AI performance by picking the optimal hardware to do ML inferencing. Read more here.
- The Google Code Scanner API makes it possible to add a complete QR and barcode scanning solution without needing the camera permission. Read more here.
- Google’s upcoming cross-device SDK simplifies communicating with nearby devices via Bluetooth, WiFi, and UWB. Read more here.
- Android’s new garbage collection algorithm promises to reduce memory overhead. Read more here.
- Android 13 will include a spatializer by default, so media apps should get ready for spatial audio by updating to ExoPlayer 2.17. Read more here.
- Health Connect stores health and fitness data that can be shared by multiple apps, so you’ll hopefully be able to easily migrate between fitness apps. Read more here.
Android Inside: CLMBR
Connected fitness is a perfect opportunity to utilize Android’s open and customizable nature, which is why we see so many companies already using it. It’s also why we’re proud to work with CLMBR, a fitness company that has an incredible and unique fitness machine designed to be a one-and-done solution for all of your cardio needs. CLMBR says it burns up to 60% more calories than running, cycling, and rowing, all while working your full body.
While the machine itself is neat, the digital experience is what makes CLMBR so cool. The integrated tablet (which runs AOSP, of course) drives the whole shebang, with classes, guided workouts, challenges, milestones, benchmarks, and other crucial metrics. It supports multiple users, offers app integration with your smartphone, and even has Alexa baked in for voice control when you’re just too tired to press the pause button. Gotta love it.
We’re big fans of CLMBR and are pleased that Esper is the partner of choice for their device management.
Android Dessert Bites: EROFS is coming to Android 13 launch devices
Huawei isn’t selling nearly as many phones internationally as it used to, but its influence lives on. The file system it made back in 2018, EROFS, will be made mandatory for all devices launching with Android 13. In this week’s edition, I’m taking a look at EROFS and what benefits it’ll bring to Android devices.
What we’re reading
One of my favorite Android writers on this big ol’ interweb is JR Raphael. He’s insightful, passionate, and has excellent takes on what Google is doing. With Google I/O 2022 in the rearview, it’s no surprise that he has not one but two killer pieces that I’m digging this week. Give them a read:
Google’s Threat Analysis Group issued an update to the 0-day threats disclosed in July of ‘21. According to the post, the exploits were packed and sold by a single company. The full details of TAG’s findings are in the post, which dives into the details of three separate campaigns, breaking down how each one worked.