Illustration by Virginia Poltrack

Now in Android #19

Android 11 Beta launch update, Android Studio 4.0 stable release, Kotlin articles and videos, sample code, and an ADB podcast episode on Bubbles

Chet Haase
Android Developers
Published in
5 min readJun 8, 2020


Welcome to Now in Android, your ongoing guide to what’s new and notable in the world of Android development.

NiA19 in Video and Podcast Form

This Now in Android is also offered in video and podcast form. It’s the same content, but with less reading required. The article version (keep reading!) is still the place to come for links to all of the content that’s covered.



Click on the link below, or just subscribe to the podcast in your favorite client app.

#Android11: The Beta Launch Show… Postponed

You probably know this already, but the Beta launch show, originally scheduled for June 3, has been postponed. Look for updates on timing and details on the site. In the meantime, more details have been posted about the content that you can expect to see… when it happens. Stay tuned, we’ll have more info on this available soon.

Android Studio 4.0

Android Studio recently released 4.0 into the stable channel. So if you were waiting for it to come out of Beta, now is your time.

I’ve talked about this release in its earlier incarnations in previous episodes of Now in Android, but here are some of the highlights you can look forward to:

Motion Editor

Motion Editor simplifies the creation of rich and flexible UI animations

MotionLayout is an API (a subclass of ConstraintLayout, to be specific) that you can use to create powerful animations in your UI. It allows you to create before/after states, and then define flexible animations between those states, including integrating with user interactions, which essentially ‘scrub’ between those states. Think of MotionLayout as Transitions on steroids, with more power and flexibility.

But MotionLayout was always intended to be used with a visual tool; creating these animations in XML files is… tedious, and not for the faint of heart or fearful of typing. So check out 4.0 to enjoy the real experience of MotionLayout, with the Motion Editor tool.

Layout Inspector

Layout Inspector, showing off its new 3D containment hierarchy visualization

The Layout Inspector tool has been substantially rewritten to offer powerful new capabilities, such as being able to click through property values to find out where and how they are being assigned. Also, you can see your UI in 3D to visualize the containment hierarchy. And you can now see updates to your UI live in the tool as the app on the device changes.

Build Analyzer

Build analyzer helps catch bottlenecks in build performance

Build Analyzer helps you see bottlenecks in your build to help you figure out how to fix them and speed up your build times.

There are many more features in the release. You can read more about the features in 4.0 in Adarsh Fernando’s blog post:

Also, Yacine Rezgui posted this video overview on the 4.0 release:

Articles & Videos

Murat Yener published an article in the Kotlin Vocabulary series on reification:

Generics enable compile-type type safety for APIs and structures that otherwise do not offer it, but at the cost of not being able to retrieve those types at runtime. This situation is the result of type erasure. The type informs the compilation step (to ensure that, for example, you’re not passing in an Integer value to a String-typed ArrayList), but is not kept in the bytecode (allowing it to be compatible with APIs that do not have types in them).

Kotlin offers a workaround through the use of the reified keyword, along with inline functions. If you declare a function as both reified and inline, then the Kotlin compiler adds the necessary bytecode under the hood so that the type information is available at runtime.

Murat also posted a video in the Kotlin Vocabulary series on Object, which goes hand-in-hand with the article The One and Only Object that he posted a few weeks ago (and which was featured in Now in Android #17).

Sample Code

The Bubbles sample has been updated to reflect the changes and improvements in the Bubbles API in Android 11.

ADB Podcast Episodes

There’s been another episode of Android Developers Backstage posted since the last Now in Android. Check it out at the links below, or in your favorite podcast client:

ADB 140: Bubbles!

In which Tor Norbye, Romain Guy, and I talked with Mady Melor and Artur Tsurkan from the System UI team about the Bubbles features in Android 11. Originally introduced in Android 10 as a developer option, this feature allows users to access conversations in your app throughout the Android UI.

Also check out the Bubbles sample (called out above), which has been updated for Android 11.

Now then…

That’s it for this time. Check for updates on the Android 11 beta plans! Download Android Studio 4.0! Read the blog and watch the video about the 4.0 release features! Learn about Kotlin reification and the object keyword! Play with the updated Bubbles sample! Listen to the latest ADB podcast episodes! And come back here soon for the next update from the Android developer universe.



Chet Haase
Android Developers

Android and comedy. Not necessarily in that order.