Are you someone who is interested in learning to code Android apps? Maybe you already know a decent amount, but could you maybe use a little bit of brushing up or some more advanced material? Well then all week long Packt Publishing has the deal for you! In honor of Android Week Packt has a plethora of Android development titles for free, and even more at a nice 50% discount.
Android Studio left its beta status behind with the release of v1.0 in December of last year, and here we have version 1.1 being released to the stable channel with the primary purpose of fixing bugs. This new release of the Android Studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment) does bring a few new functions with it though, as can be seen in the changelog below.
We all want to create an application. While there are simplified tools out there allowing users to drag and drop blocks to build something of their own, it does not go very much further. And learning to develop apps is a time-consuming task that not many people have the patience for. It can be rather difficult. Google, though, wants to promote the education of developing Android apps and is doing so by partnering with Udacity. Read more
Seeing as the majority of top-grossing apps on the Play Store utilize In-app Billing, you can bet they will continue to revamp the tool to streamline it even more. Today the Android developers blog revealed a few changes in the latest version. Below is a summary of the major changes devs can expect to see:
- A streamlined design that makes applications simpler to write, debug and maintain. Integrations that previously required several hundred lines of code can now be implemented in as few as 50.
- More robust architecture resulting in fewer lost transactions.
- Local caching for faster API calls.
- Long-anticipated functionality such as the ability to consume managed purchases and query for product information.
I’m sure that’s all good news for devs. The good news for consumers is that it’s now even more easier for developers of apps to take our money. Wait, maybe that’s not so good.
source: Android Developers Blog
We are seeing all sorts of technology that connect to our Android devices giving us more capability than the average app can perform. Game controllers, credit card readers, you name it, it’s being updated for users to succeed in a more comfortable lifestyle. One important field, that hasn’t really evolved much besides average application usage is fitness activity.
Health and fitness technology has seen a majority of ups and downs. Sure you have popular fitness equipment, but the majority lack the connectivity to sync with your Android device. In fact there really hasn’t been a lot of development in the Android fitness community since the MotoACTV. Fortunately thanks to Life Fitness, Android-compatible fitness equipment is in the stages of development. Just announced today, it looks like the company will manufacture more updated equipment from standard machines, such as:
- Discover SE and Discover SI Treadmills
- And Lifecycle Exercise Bikes
If you’re like me and spend a lot of time gaming on your Android device, then it’s a safe bet that the thought of making your own Android game has crossed your mind at some point. It’s hard to determine if taking on the task is possible with individual life responsibilities and not knowing exactly what is necessary to see it through.
Well, xda developer tjdwowh has decided to put together a guide for interested future Android game designers to aid in cracking the Java code and getting your game on. I have to be honest, if this is your first delve into the computer programming arena, it might take some time to digest what is being discussed, but tjdwowh takes time to illustrate with examples and makes himself available to contact for any questions you may have along the way.
So if you’re ready to see what it’s all about, hit the link below and check out the tutorial for yourself.
Many new and veteran Android developers will be interested to learn that Sony Mobile has created a Device Loaner Program allowing devs to borrow one of nine Xperia handsets available for the sole purpose of app testing and development. The program is free and will provide a device for up to 30 days. It’s primarily aimed at North American devs but international devs can certainly take advantage of this cool program as well for only the cost of international shipping and custom/duty fees where applicable. I would imagine that most devs would jump at the idea of having a free Android handset for testing compatibility and stability issues. Jump past the break for a link containing more info and to see the current list of devices being offered on loan at this time. Read more
One of the biggest gripes we hear from Android developers is the poor performance of the emulator. The emulator is basically how devs test their apps while developing on a PC, and until now the emulation was all done in software. Today, Google announced in their developer’s blog that the emulator has gotten a significant performance boost and other improvements, including:
- GPU support
Android 4.0 uses the GPU to improve overall performance, and the emulator now does the same thing by funneling OpenGL calls directly to the host PC’s own GPU.
- More Hardware Feature Emulation
It’s now possible to use a tethered Android device to supply inputs for sensors and multi-touch input. Bluetooth and NFC coming later.
- Improved CPU Performance
A recent release of the developer tools included x86 system images and host drivers, providing access to the host CPU natively, and offering significantly improved CPU performance.
These are all huge improvements that will help developers make apps more reliably and in a more timely manner. Happier devs mean more and better apps. Kudos to Google for continuing to think about the developers by improving the developer tools.
View a speed comparison video after the break.
Ever since the release of the iPhone 4S, Android developers everywhere as well as Google themselves have been working to create their own version of Siri. Now that is not to say that Apple was the first to incorporate voice-to-text features and voice search functionality in their smartphones. We all know that Google had this up and running in Android for the last couple of years. Just to be clear, Siri does all of this and a lot more as well and it’s the extra stuff that has many users and developers interested. There are several Siri-like Android apps in the works and XDA developer brandall has been working on a voice-controlled personal assistant of his own, called Utter!. Last time we checked, the app was in early beta form and from the latest forum activity, it’s clearly still a work in progress. XDA has now released an early-alpha APK for the hardened tester community. Utter! has focused on interactions with specific apps that are in your phone to separate itself from the pack. Feel free to check out our previous article for more info and a video of Utter! in action.