06 October 2015

In-app translations in Android Marshmallow

Posted by, Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate

Google Translate is used by more than 500 million people every month, translating more than 100 billion words every single day.

Beginning this week, Android mobile users who have the Translate app installed will be able to translate in 90 languages right within some of their favorite apps on any device running the newest version of Android’s operating system (Android 6.0, Marshmallow).

Translating a TripAdvisor review from Portuguese

Composing a Whatsapp message in Russian

Android apps that use Android text selection behavior will already have this feature enabled, so no extra steps need to be taken. Developers who created custom text selection behavior for their apps can easily implement this feature by following the below steps:

Scan via the PackageManager through all packages that have the PROCESS_TEXT intent filter (for example: com.google.android.apps.translate - if it installed) and add them as MenuItems into TextView selections for your app

  1. To query the package manager, first build an intent with the action

    private Intent createProcessTextIntent() {
        return new Intent()

  2. Then retrieve the supported activities

    private List getSupportedActivities() {
        PackageManager packageManager =

  3. add an item for each retrieved activity and attach an intent to it to launch the action

    public void onInitializeMenu(Menu menu) {
        // Start with a menu Item order value that is high enough
        // so that your "PROCESS_TEXT" menu items appear after the
        // standard selection menu items like Cut, Copy, Paste.
        int menuItemOrder = 100;
        for (ResolveInfo resolveInfo : getSupportedActivities()) {
            menu.add(Menu.NONE, Menu.NONE,

    The label for each item can be retrieved with:


    The intent for each item can be created reusing the filter intent that you defined before and adding the missing data:

    private Intent createProcessTextIntentForResolveInfo(ResolveInfo info) {
        return createProcessTextIntent()
                .putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_PROCESS_TEXT_READONLY, !

    Adding the translation option to your apps text selection menu (if you don’t use default Android text selection behavior) is easy and takes just a few extra lines of code. And remember, when a user is composing a text to translate, your app you should keep the selection when the Translate app is triggered.

    With this new feature, Android Translate app users users will be able to easily translate right from within participating apps. We will be adding more documentation and sample code on this feature in the upcoming weeks.

05 October 2015

Inside Android’s Easter Egg Tradition

Posted by, Natalie Hammel, ½ of Nat & Lo’s 20% Project

A bit more than five years ago, I got my first smartphone. It was the Nexus One. And I didn’t know it at the time, but it was hiding a zombie gingerbread painting inside it. The first (of now many) Android “platform” easter eggs.

Android actually has a long, rich history of various mysterious and silly things tucked away inside its code for developers to enjoy. But its “platform” or “version number” easter eggs are probably the most elaborate and well-known.

Earlier this summer, my friend at work Lo and I started this project to go find out about different Google stuff we’re curious about. And one of the things we wanted to know more about was how the Android lawn sculptures get made. Which lead to us also finding out about why Android names its releases after tasty treats, and making this video.

As we were digging deeper into Android traditions, I decided to head up to Cambridge to get the inside scoop about Android’s easter eggs tradition from Android Framework Engineer / Easter Egg Painter, Dan Sandler. Which we just made this video about.

We hope you enjoyed, and maybe discovered a thing or two. And if you’re still in the mood for more Android video fun, the Android Developers YouTube channel was kind enough to recently compile all of our Android and Nexus videos to date in this playlist. (Take a look if you enjoy phone guts, silly songs, and/or stuffing your face with marshmallows.)

And since our project is ongoing, you can always subscribe to our YouTube channel if you want to check out what new stuff we’ll be learning about next.

Thanks for reading, watching, and easter-egging with us!

01 October 2015

How Google Cloud Messaging handles Doze in Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Posted by, Laurence Moroney, Developer Advocate

Android 6.0 Marshmallow introduces a new power saving feature called ‘Doze’. A device enters Doze when the user leaves it unplugged and stationary for a period of time and with the screen off. When this happens, the system defers application activity to save power. It will periodically and briefly resume normal operations, called an idle maintenance window, in order to perform app syncing and other pending operations.

If your app uses Google Cloud Messaging (GCM), you will need to take into account the following behaviors for users whose devices are in Doze.

GCM has two priority types for messages, called high priority and normal priority. When using high priority, GCM attempts to deliver messages immediately, waking a device in Doze, as needed. With Android Marshmallow, nothing changes here.

However, when using normal priority (the default priority), there are a number of different behaviors when the device is in Doze, including:

  • The most important change is that messages will be batched for devices in Doze. When the device enters its idle maintenance window, the batch of messages will be received.
  • We discard messages whose time_to_live expires while the device is in Doze (including TTL=0).

Despite this, it is recommended that, unless absolutely necessary, you keep your notifications as normal priority ones, as this will minimize battery impact. They will still sync during doze mode as described above, and of course once the device exits Doze.

High priority messages should only be used by applications that need to generate an immediate notification to the end user such as a chat app notification or an incoming phone call.

To learn more about Google Cloud Messaging message priorities, visit the Google Developers site.

30 September 2015

Android Studio 1.4

Posted by, Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

Today we are releasing the 1.4 update to the Android Studio stable release channel. Most of the work and enhancements for Android Studio 1.4 are under the hood. However we have a handful of new features that we hope you enjoy and integrate into your workflow.

Note that some of new features (e.g. vector assets) require you to use Gradle Plugin 1.4 for your app project. The beta version of the Gradle plugin (1.4.0-beta3 ) is available today on jcenter with the final version coming in the next few weeks.

New Features in Android Studio 1.4

Design Tools
  • Vector Assets

    Starting with API 21, you can use Vector Drawables for image assets. For most apps, using VectorDrawables decreases the amount of density dependent drawables you need to maintain, and will also give you sharp image assets regardless of the screen device densities your app supports.

    With Android Studio 1.4, we are making the process of importing SVG images or Material icons much easier. If you update your Gradle Android plugin to 1.4.0-beta3 (or higher) in the project structure dialogue or your project build.gradle file ( 'com.android.tools.build:gradle:1.4.0-beta3' ), you can now use the new Vector Asset Studio by right-clicking the res/drawable folder in your project and selecting New → Vector Asset from the content menu.

    We are also excited to offer backwards compatibility for your vector assets in Android Studio 1.4. Once you have a vectorDrawable image in your res/drawable, the Gradle plugin will automatically generate raster PNG images for API level 20 and below during build time. This means you only need to update and maintain your vector asset for your app project and Android Studio can take care of image conversion process. Note, it is still best practice to create density dependent launcher icons in your res/mipmap folder. Learn more by watching the DevByte video on the new Vector Asset Studio tool.

  • Theme Editor

    We understand that managing your app theme and style can be a bit complex. With Android Studio 1.4, we are releasing a preview of the Theme Editor to help with this task. This first version of the Theme Editor is focused on editing and updating the material theme colors (colors.xml) in your app project. In future releases, we will cover more attributes of your app theme and styles files. To access the editor, navigate from top level menu Tools → Android → Theme Editor.

  • Project Templates

    We know many of you use the New Project Wizard app templates to start a new app project or to quickly add an activity to an existing app. To help with the visual design of your apps, we updated the app templates to include the Android Design Support Library alongside the AppCompat Support library.

    From the template wizard you can start projects with a basic blank template with a floating action button or start from a range of user interface components such as the navigation drawer, or AppBar with scrolling view. We also re-introduced the empty app template for those who want minimum code generation when adding an activity to your project.

    With Android Studio 1.4, you can also validate your apps on the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P screen sizes.

Performance Monitors

  • GPU Rendering Monitor

    Now it is possible to quickly inspect the GPU rendering performance of your app. To enable GPU monitoring, make sure you turn on monitoring for your Android hardware device or emulator under Setting → Developer Options → Profile GPU rendering → In adb shell dumpsys gfxinfo . To learn more about the GPU rendering results, check out the developer documentation.

  • Network Monitor

    With Android Studio 1.4, you can also monitor the network usage of your app. With the monitor you can track the transmit and receive rates of your app over time.

Developer Services

  • Firebase

    It is now even easier to add a Firebase mobile backend to your Android app. Firebase includes data storage, user authentication, static hosting, and more. To access the feature, navigate from the top level menu and select File → Project Structure → Cloud. Learn more about Firebase in this tutorial.

Whats Next

For current developers on Android Studio, you can check for updates from the navigation menu (Help → Check for Update [Windows/Linux] , Android Studio → Check for Updates [OS X]) . For new users, you can learn more about Android Studio on the product overview page or download the stable version from the Android Studio download site.

We welcome feedback on how we can help you. Connect with the Android developer tools team on Google+.

29 September 2015

Android 6.0 Marshmallow coming to devices soon

Posted by, Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android

Starting next week, Android 6.0 Marshmallow will begin rolling out to supported Nexus devices around the world, including Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9, Nexus Player, and Android One. At the same time, we’ll be pushing the Android 6.0 source to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which marks the official beginning of public availability.

Today we also introduced two great new Nexus devices that will be among the first to run the Android 6.0 Marshmallow platform. These devices let your apps use the latest platform features and take advantage of the latest hardware optimizations from our partners. Let’s take a look at how to make sure your apps look great on these new devices.

Introducing Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P

Nexus 5X
Nexus 6P

The Nexus 5X is built in partnership with LG. It’s equipped with a 5.2-inch FHD LCD 1080p display, a Snapdragon™ 808 processor (1.8 GHz hexa-core, 64-bit), and a 12.3 MP rear camera. Offering top-line performance in a compact, lightweight device.

The Nexus 6P, built in partnership with Huawei, has a 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display, Snapdragon™ 810 v2.1 processor (2.0 GHz octa-core 64-bit), front-facing stereo speakers, and a 12.3 MP rear camera, all housed in a diamond-cut aluminum body.

Both devices have USB Type-C ports and fingerprint sensors, and include the latest hardware features for Android, such as: Android Sensor Hub, low-power Wi-Fi scanning with channel selection, batching, and BSSID hotlists, Bluetooth 4.2 with ultra low-power BLE notifications, and more.

Get your apps ready

Take some time to make sure your apps and games are ready to give your users the best mobile experience on these devices.

Check your assets

Resolution Screen size Density
Nexus 5X 1920 x 1080 px (730 x 410 dp) normal 420 dpi
Nexus 6P 2560 x 1440 px (730 x 410 dp) normal 560 dpi

Nexus 5X has a quantized density of 420 dpi, which falls in between the xhdpi and xxhdpi primary density buckets. Nexus 6P has a density of 560 dpi, which falls in between the xxhdpi and xxxhdpi buckets. The platform will scale down any assets from a higher resolution bucket, but if those aren’t available, then it will scale up the assets from a lower-density bucket.

For best appearance in the launcher, we recommend that you provide at least an xxxhdpi app icon because devices can display large app icons on the launcher.

For the rest of your assets, you can consider using vector assets or optionally add versions for the next-higher density bucket. This provides a sharper visual experience, but does increase apk size, so you should make an appropriate decision for your app.

Make sure you are not filtered on Google Play

If you are using the <compatible-screens>: element in your AndroidManifest.xml file, you should stop using it because it’s not scalable to re-compile and publish your app each time new devices come out. If you must use it, make sure to update your manifest to add a new configuration for Nexus 5X, since it uses a new density bucket (420). Otherwise, your app may be filtered from Google Play on these devices.

Wrapping up M Developer Preview

After three preview releases, and with the final OTA coming soon, it’s time to wrap up the Android M Developer Preview. The feedback you’ve provided has helped make Android 6.0 a great platform for apps and games. Developers in more than 200 countries have been using the Developer Preview to get their apps ready for Android 6.0 Marshmallow users everywhere.

More developer resources

If you haven’t taken a look at Android 6.0 Marshmallow yet, visit developer.android.com/mm for complete information about about what’s new for developers and important changes to plan for in your apps — runtime permissions, Doze and App Standby idle modes, Auto Backup for Apps, fingerprint support, and others.

We’ve also produced a playlist of developer videos to help you get the most out of all the new features in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Check it out below.

Final testing and updates

Now is the time to finish up testing and prepare for publishing. You can use the Developer Preview 3 system images for final testing until early October. After the Android 6.0 public release, you’ll be able to download final images from the Nexus factory images page, and final emulator images from Android Studio.

Reminder: Devices flashed with an M Developer Preview build won’t receive the Android 6.0 update automatically. You’ll need to manually flash those devices to a public released image first.

Upload your apps to Google Play

When your apps are ready, you can update them to Google Play via the Developer Console on all release channels (Alpha, Beta & Production). For apps that target API level 23, Google Play will provide the new optimized download and autoupdate flow based on the runtime permissions model in Android 6.0. Give it a try!

To make sure that your updated app runs well on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and older versions, we recommend that you use the newly improved beta testing feature on Google Play to get early feedback. You can then do a staged rollout as you release the new version to all users.

What’s next?

In mid-October, we’ll be turning down the M Developer Preview community and the M Developer Preview issue tracker. If you've filed bugs against the preview, and you'd like to keep these open against the Android 6.0 final builds, you can file a new issue in the AOSP issue tracker.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Android M Developer Preview. Let us know how this year’s preview met your needs by taking a short survey. Your feedback helps shape our future releases.

28 September 2015

Support for 100MB APKs on Google Play

Posted by Kobi Glick, Google Play team

Smartphones are powerful devices that can support diverse tasks from graphically intensive games to helping people get work done from anywhere. We understand that developers are challenged with delivering a delightful user experience that maximizes the hardware of the device, while also ensuring that their users can download, install, and open the app as quickly as possible. It’s a tough balance to strike, especially when you’re targeting diverse global audiences.

To support the growing number of developers who are building richer apps and games on Google Play, we are increasing the APK file size limit to 100MB from 50MB. This means developers can publish APKs up to 100MB in size, and users will see a warning only when the app exceeds the 100MB quota and makes use of Expansion Files. The default update setting for users will continue to be to auto-updating apps over Wi-Fi only, enabling users to access higher quality apps and games while conserving their data usage.

Even though you can make your app bigger, it doesn’t always mean you should. Remember to keep in mind the following factors:

  • Mobile data connectivity: Users around the world have varying mobile data connectivity speeds. Particularly in developing countries, many people are coming online with connections slower than those of users in countries like the U.S. and Japan. Users on a slow connection are less likely to install an app or game that is going to take a long time to download.
  • Mobile data caps: Many mobile networks around the world give users a limited number of MB that they can download each month without incurring additional charges. Users are often wary of downloading large files for fear of exceeding their limits.
  • App performance: Mobile devices have limited RAM and storage space. The larger your app or game, the slower it may run, particularly on older devices.
  • Install time: People want to start using your app or game as quickly as possible after tapping the install button. Longer wait times increase the risk they’ll give up.

We hope that, in certain circumstances, this file size increase is useful and enables you to build higher quality apps and games that users love.

24 September 2015

Android Development Patterns: A Series on Best Practices for Android Development

Posted by, Ian Lake, Developer Advocate

One of the benefits of Android development is the flexibility provided by the large number of APIs in the Android framework and Support Library, not even including the Google Play services APIs. However, that can be a lot to understand, particularly when confronted with multiple options or design decisions. Thankfully, things are about to get a lot clearer with a new series: Android Development Patterns.

The goal of Android Development Patterns is to focus on the fundamental components and best practices that can make the biggest difference in your app. We spend time talking about the why behind each API, so that you know exactly what is best for your situation.

Centered on Android framework APIs, the Android Support Library, and high level app structure and design, we’ll augment the many videos on the Android Developers YouTube channel to bring the focus back towards Android development at its core.

Android Development Patterns are more than just videos. You’ll find written pro-tips from in-house experts at Google, such as Joanna Smith and Ian Lake, every week through the Android Development Patterns Google+ Collection.

Watch all of Android Development Patterns!