Google has launched Android Studio 2.0, its official platform for building apps for Android-powered phones, tablets, and watches.
New features include Instant Run, which allows developers to see changes to a running app; a faster emulator; integration with Google’s Cloud Test Lab; and a polished GPU debugger (for those developing games or apps that leverage OpenGL ES).
The Studio 2.0 dashboard features an Instant Run button; when clicked, the software will analyze the developer’s updates to the code, and figure out how to deploy it in the fastest way. “Whenever possible, it will inject your code changes into your running app process,” noted Google’s official Android Developers Blog, “avoiding re-deployment and re-installation [of] your APK.” Google is obviously concerned about accelerating apps’ edit, build, and run cycles.
Google recommends that developers who download and install Android Studio create a fresh Android Virtual Device (ACD) for the new Android emulator, in addition to upgrading projects to use Instant Run. That alone should speed up the development experience. (New projects developed in Studio 2.0 will leverage Instant Run by default.)
Studio 2.0 also features an App Indexing API, which Google claims will make it easier for users “to find your app in Google Search.” The software will auto-create “the correct URL structure in your app code and add attributes in your AndroidManifest.xml file that will work with the Google App Indexing service.” (More info is available in Android’s documentation.)
With Android continuing to command a sizable portion of the mobile device market, it behooves developers working in the space to keep up-to-date on the latest tools for the platform. According to recent data from research firm Gartner, Android’s market-share stood at 80.7 percent, well ahead of Apple iOS at 17.7 percent and Windows at 1.1 percent.