Android Dev Summit 2019 Highlights

October 24th, 2019

Android Dev Summit 2019 Highlights
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

The 2019 Android Dev Summit has begun, with two days of announcements and sessions. Now that the keynote has ended, there are a number of announcements and highlights that developers should consider for app development and App Store Optimization.

App Bundles, Pre-Registration & Play Pass

The keynote speakers gave updates on the performance of several more recent features added to the Play Store.

App Bundles were introduced 18 months ago. Since that time, over 250,000 app bundles have gone into production and make up 25 percent of active installs. Given the success of the bundles, Google has begun adding new features for developers of app bundles. These include new tools for sharing and testing bundles, the ability to install old versions of an app via a link and offline testing of dynamic delivery.

Pre-registration for apps was made available for all developers during the last Game Developers Conference. In order to boost demand for developers, Google has added features such as pre-registration rewards and milestone rewards. According to Google, developers using pre-registration rewards have seen a greater user retention and engagement among pre-registered users, including up to 60% higher retention in one success case.

The keynote also touched on the Google Play Pass, Google’s premium subscription service. Developers have been concerned about fairly monetizing their apps on a storewide subscription, so the keynote speaker explained that developers will be compensated for the value they provide to users. However, no specifics were given, as the model is being fine-tuned to present the best value to users and developers.

Play Store Review Process

Google has, as of late, been adjusting the time it takes to review and approve apps. According to the company, most apps are reviewed within a few days, although complex ones can take up to seven. This, along with vague details of change to the process, has been causing some concern among developers.

According to Google, the app reviews and any policy changes will be displayed clearly on the Developer Console. Any apps rejected or removed can appeal, and all appeals are reviewed by people (as opposed to automated).

Google also spoke highly of its detection capabilities. “This year, we’ve been increasing all our detection capabilities for impersonators, repackaging, bad content and other forms of abuse, but we know there's more we can do, and the threats are constantly changing. With your help, we’ve reduced access to sensitive data and have made Play even safer for children and families. We restricted SMS/Call log permissions to only apps that need them as part of their core functionality, and as a result 98% fewer apps access this sensitive data.”

Android Studio 4.0

On the developer side, Google announced the new version of Android Studio. The canary of Android Studio 4.0 is available now, and includes Jetpack Compose, a new UI toolkit. Compose uses the Kotlin programing language and is compatible with the existing UI toolkit.

Included in the Studio 4.0 canary is a live preview, code completion, project templates, motion library and similar features that should give developers an idea of what the new Android Studio gives them. Developers can download the latest Preview build of Android Studio to try the Jetpack Compose Developer Preview.

  • Jetpack gained several new features as well, including:
  • Benchmarking to measure an app’s performance
  • Viewbinding to access views directly from the code
  • CameraX to address the differences between the different cameras on Android devices.


Google did not officially announce Android 11, as many suspected. However, the operating system was mentioned in passing, so it appears to be on the horizon.

Project Treble, which is designed to help manufacturers modularize the operating system to quickly update devices, has shown a significant increase in updates over the previous year. Android 10 is being adopted at a rate much faster than previous operating systems, and the average time to upgrade has been reduced by more than three months. For comparison, Nougat (Android 7) took 18 months to reach a similar position.

Google also announced a new Android Developer Challenge. The challenge is focused around On-Device Machine Learning and using it to create “Helpful innovation.” An example of this would be the new Live Captions, which use machine learning to instantly transcribe dialogue for the hard of hearing. Developers are challenged to come up with ideas utilizing machine learning and submit them; the top ten concepts will receive expertise and guidance to bring the apps to life, which will then be showcased in a collection on Google Play and at Google I/O 2020.


The biggest news for app developers is Android Studio 4.0, which will help them build better apps more efficiently. However, the other news is not to be overlooked.

Understanding the benefits of app bundles and pre-registration perks can help improve an app’s success on the Play Store. Downloads from quality users can help increase an app’s keyword indexation, so maintaining users by offering pre-registration bonuses can be beneficial. This also helps an app hit the ground running with guaranteed instals from launch.

The app review process is also important for developers launching new apps or updates. Developers may want to schedule their apps for release on a certain date, or their apps could be rejected and they’ll want to appeal. Having the policy changes clearly displayed alongside the app’s review status can help developers understand how their apps are reviewed and what they need to change.

Today was the first day of the Developer Summit, so there will likely be more information revealed as the summit continues. App developers should pay close attention to see what can help them improve their apps and what they’ll want to consider for their App Store Optimization.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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