Google I/O: Google unveils improvements for Android Studio, Jetpack Compose and other development tools

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Google’s annual developer conference is underway, where the company is expected to unveil new Pixel hardware, updates to various software products, including Android 13, and yes, developer tools.

During Google I/O 2022 keynote, several enhancements and new features were announced regarding Android Studio, Jetpack Compose, app development for Android tablets, Wear OS enhancements, Google Play and a new Health Connect platform.

Here is a brief overview of the new developer tools announced at Google I/O 2022.

Android Studio wins live editing

There are two new versions of Android Studio, a software suite and tools that developers use to build Android apps. android Studio Dolphin Beta and Electric Eel Canary are the two different versions that not only have creative names but also their own share of new features.

In the Dolphin beta, developers will have access to these new features, according to Google:

  • View build animations and coordinate them with the animation preview.
  • Define annotation classes to easily include and apply multiple composition previews
  • definitions at once.
  • Track the number of recompositions for your composables in the Layout Inspector.
  • Easily pair and control Wear OS emulators and launch tiles, watch faces and
  • complications directly from Android Studio.
  • Diagnose application problems faster with Logcat V2.

In the Canary version of Android Studio, however, developers will get a preview of the new Live Edit feature that will immediately reflect all code changes in the composition preview for a running app, both in the emulator or on a physical device. Other changes to Canary include a new Google Play SDK index to show dependency information, Firebase Crashlytics in Android Studio, and a resizable Android emulator.

Google hopes to gather developer feedback on all new Android Studio features before releasing them or moving them to a more stable version.

Android Jetpack gets more developer tools

Android Jetpack is a resource of tools and APIs that developers can use to enhance their apps. Jetpack Compose Beta 1.2 includes several new APIs and tools that developers can use in their applications. Some examples of the new APIs include JankStats to analyze application performance, including dropped frames. There are also new APIs for downloadable fonts, drag-and-drop for sharing data between apps, and better tools for comparing apps.

There’s also a new version of Jetpack Compose available in beta that’s designed to help developers build apps for Google’s Android Wear OS platform, including the just-announced Pixel Watch.

There are many other improvements

Google also announced new tools and initiatives outside the scope of Jetpack or Android Studio. For example, a new Health Connect platform built in partnership between Samsung and Google will provide access to a user’s health data.

There are also new features coming to Android for cars with the Android TV operating system, but apart from a small tease, Google only said we can find out more by logging into the respective dev sessions. May 12. One thing we do know is that Google Assistant is getting easier to use in Android for cars thanks to a new API, as well as Wear OS apps later this year.

As for Google Play updates, developers can expect to see the Google Play SDK Index, a privacy sandbox on Android that allows advertisers to respect a user’s privacy while making ads available, the new Google Wallet API (formerly Google Pay Passes API) will support mixed passes and direct pass recording support.

And, of course, Android 13 is a big part of Google I/O, with lots of new APIs and tools for developers to integrate.

If you listened to the Google I/O 2022 keynote, let us know what you think of the new developer tools and features in the comments below.

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