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News  Platforms
News  Platforms
Android P dev preview

It's time for P

So the Android P dev preview is here, and I've had a little play to see what's new. I did this bearing in mind, as usual, these are aimed at brave developers only, who most definitely are not scared of the odd bug or two they might encounter. They also must happen to have a spare Pixel handset lying around if they want it on hardware, with the rest of us having to make do with the emulator ;-) In the end I didn't encounter anything serious, and in fact found it pretty stable and usable.

Google are calling this an alpha build, and the roadmap is expected to deliver the final release "Q318". They publish a list of known issues and make it easy for developers to file P related bugs.

To get the Android P preview on your Pixel, follow the installation guide. The emulator is much easier - just fire up a current Android Studio, create a new emulator and at the "Platform" prompt you should see "Android P" appear as an option now that Google have made it available on their servers.

News  Platforms
Android P

Release date rumors

As usual, Google will release a developer preview of the next version of Android well ahead of the final version in order to let developers get their apps ready for it from the get-go. This pattern hasn't always been the case, but a couple of years back they let it be known that the aim is to stabilize releases annually.

As eyes turn to another upcoming Google I/O, talk of the next developer preview for Android P is heating up, since the previews for Android N and O both arrived in March. Evan Blass - renowned for his accurate predictions - has Tweeted he expects the date to be released then, too.

The speculation over exactly what the "P" will stand for has hardly begun.

However, it is interesting to note that Wednesday 14th March is Pi day - called because it's on 03/14/2018. A lovely day for an announcement, don't you think?

News  Platforms
Project Treble

A thorn in Android's side for years

Ask anyone familiar with Android today what the biggest problem with it is and chances are "security" and "updates" will feature prominently in the answers. It's no co-incidence either - the two are intricately related.

In the eyes of the public, Android is less secure because it doesn't get updates anything like as quickly or as comprehensively as other platforms, in particular the iPhone. Even worse, some handsets end up getting no updates at all after a shockingly short length of time from their launch. Two years from launch until sunset has even been seen, without naming names.

Vendors prefer to sell new models for obvious reasons. There's no money for them in providing eternal updates, and it costs a fortune to retro-fit them in anyway, money which they''d much sooner invest in their newer models.

News  Platforms
Android Things

My first 24 hours with Android Things

Just when I was in the middle of an Android based IoT commercial project running on a Raspberry Pi 3, something awesome happened. Google released the first preview of Android Things, their SDK targeted specifically at (initially) 3 SBC’s (Single Board Computers) — the Pi 3, the Intel Edison and the NXP Pico. To say I was struggling is a bit of an understatement — without even an established port of Android to the Pi, we were at the mercy of the various quirks and omissions of the well-meaning but problematic homebrew distro brigade. One of these problems was a deal breaker too — no touchscreen support, not even for the official one sold by Element14. I had an idea Android was heading for the Pi already, and earlier a mention in a commit to the AOSP project from Google got everyone excited for a while. So when, on 12th Dec 2016, without much fanfare I might add, Google announced “Android Things” plus a downloadable SDK, I dived in with both hands, a map and a flashlight, and hung a “do not disturb” sign on my door