One expected feature is a new Android plugin for Gradle, the build system that Android Studio is based on. Google says the feature brings faster build configurations, variant-aware dependency resolution, and quicker incremental build times. It also supports Android 8.0, building separate APKs based on language resources, and Java and its libraries.
Google cautions that the new plugin may break existing plugin behaviors, DSL and APIs; an apps build configurations may need to be tweaked after upgrading to Android Studio 3.0.
Making good on a Google I/O 2017 announcement, Android Studio 3.0 now fully supports Kotlin. The language is highly interactive with Java, but Android Studio now has a conversion feature for developers who wish to migrate existing Java files to Kotlin.
Performance concerns are potentially settled with the new Android Profiler. Replacing Android Monitor, Profiler measures an app’s CPU, memory and network use in real-time. Google says developers can also “perform sample-based method tracing to time your code execution, capture heap dumps, view memory allocations, and inspect the details of network-transmitted files.”
The emulator has also been updated with new images, a full Play Store experience, and a bug reporting tool.
If you’re looking for the biggest takeaway here, it’s Kotlin. Java is still king for Android when it comes to languages, but Kotlin is becoming an ever-larger presence; it’s barely at version 1.0, but is incredibly stable and works (nearly) seamlessly with Java.
Version 3.0 is the first full “dot zero” Android Studio release in over a year. The last full version, 2.0, landed in April of 2016. It’s clear Google has no reliable upgrade timeline for its IDE, but it iterates on it often. It’s also fairly new, so we’re hoping version 3.0 starts a new Google trend of discussing Android Studio at I/O, with the final update landing in the Fall.