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Illustration by Virginia Poltrack

Now in Android #21

#11WeeksofAndroid featuring ML, Privacy, and Compatibility; a Reddit AMA with the Android team; more Android 11 meetups; AndroidX releases; articles, videos, and a codelab; and a new ADB podcast episode

Chet Haase
Jul 8 · 8 min read

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

NiA21 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.

Video

Podcast

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


11 Weeks of Android

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We are continuing 11 Weeks of Android with new topics every week. Since the last Now in Android episode, we finished off Machine Learning, spent a week on Privacy & Security, and are now in the midst of Android 11 Compatibility. Here’s how to find out more about each of these topics:

Week 2: Machine Learning

The week kicked off with the announcement about the winners of the ML-focused Android Developer Challenge. This was followed by new announcements from ML Kit (support for custom classifier and a new early access program), TensorFlow Hub (new mobile-optimized models), Android Studio ML binding, multiple new codelabs, videos, and articles.

So much [machine] learning!

Check out the blog posted at the end week for a summary of all of the content and information:

Also, check out the ML week video playlist.

Week 3: Privacy & Security

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Week three brought content on platform changes aimed at protecting user privacy as well as information on what we’ve been doing to make the platform more secure. For privacy, there were articles and videos on some of the important behavior changes in Android 11, such as one-time permissions, background location, scoped storage, and auto-reset permissions. On the security front, the team posted content on what they’ve been up to in securing the platform, as well as features for developers, like biometric APIs, to make apps more secure.

First, check out the introduction blog:

Also be sure to check out the video playlist for the week.

Finally, look at the privacy and security items linked in the Articles & Codelabs section below.

Week 4: Android 11 Compatibility

This week is all about how to make sure that your apps are compatible with changes in the latest Android release.

There will be more compatibility content coming out during the week. Follow @AndroidDev on Twitter to find out as things are posted. In the meantime, you can start with this blog to kick it off:

Next week: Languages.


Ask Me [and Many Others] Anything!

One of the things we’re doing for the 11 Weeks of Android is hosting a series of Reddit AMAs. The first of these happens this week, on Thursday July 9th. This AMA is focused on the Android platform. You can ask people from the platform team technical questions on changes in the Android 11 release (and as a bonus, we will try to answer those questions).

Add your questions or follow the discussion on the AMA site

Depending on when you are reading this article (or watching/listening to the Now in Android video or podcast), the AMA might already be done. But you can check out your questions and our answers at the same link to catch up to the conversation we had.


Android 11 Meetups

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The online meetups that I talked about last time have continued apace, with events happening all over the world. Check out the Android 11 Meetups site to find one happening near you.


AndroidX

There were several AndroidX libraries released in the last couple of weeks (as usual).

New stable releases include:


Articles, Videos & Code

There were several articles published, including a few specifically for Privacy & Security week.

Hard Choices

The security team published System Hardening in Android 11, which covers some of the recent developments in memory allocation robustness and debugging (including Android 11’s GWP-ASAN, which I mentioned way back in Now in Android #17), along with other features which help make the Android platform more secure.

Storage FAQ

One of the larger behavior changes to the platform in the last couple of releases is in the area of scoped storage, where we introduced new APIs, permissions, and restrictions to further protect user data. nandana published an FAQ to help answer some of the common questions that developers have.

Package Visibility

Yacine Rezgui published an article which talks about the new behavior in Android 11 limiting the access that apps have to information about other apps installed on a device.

Why Is My App Doing That?

Sara N-Marandi published an article which discusses a couple of new APIs in Android 11 that should help developers figure out more about what their application is doing and why. Data Access Auditing makes it easier for applications to discover when and why their apps are asking for data that requires user permission. And Process Exit Reasons helps developers (and crash reporting services) determine why an app has crashed on user devices in the real world, to help chase down fixes for those problems.

Playing Those Bills

I’m sure that we all write code just for the sheer joy of it, right? But sometimes we need to actually make money from the applications we write. That’s where Google Play Billing comes in.

One of the major ways that apps make money is through in-app purchases, which are enabled through Play Billing’s tools, services, and APIs.

Caren Chang published Part 1 in a series of articles to help you get started. This first installment gives an introduction to Play Billing, including adding items to your Google Play Console and querying those items using Play Billing APIs.

Android 11 Q&A

Daniel Galpin and Fred Chung hung out online with India developers, answering questions about Android 11… and Android development in general.

Biometrics Codelab

Isai Damier published a new codelab showing how to log in to your app using biometric capabilities of the device and the AndroidX Biometric library.


ADB Podcast Episodes

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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.

Many of the current episodes of ADB are being planned around #11WeeksofAndroid focuses (foci? points of focus? things upon which we focus? Hmmm: how about ‘topics’), and the latest episode on Privacy was no exception:

ADB 143: Shhhh! Private!

In which Tor Norbye, Romain Guy, and I talk with Sara N-Marandi and Philip Moltmann from the Android framework team about some of the new permissions changes in Android 11. We talk about why these changes were made, how to use them correctly in your code, and how things actually work on the inside.

Now then…

That’s it for this time. Go learn about 11 Weeks of Android content on Machine Learning, Privacy & Security, and Compatibility! Join us for our Reddit AMA! Tune into an Android 11 Meetup near you! Check out the latest AndroidX releases! Read articles on privacy, security, and app monetization! Do a codelab on biometric login! Listen to podcast on privacy! And come back here soon for the next update from the Android developer universe.

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