Google Launches 2nd Android Q Beta: What App Developers Should Know

April 5th, 2019

Google Launches 2nd Android Q Beta: What App Developers Should Know
Anh Nguyen

by Anh Nguyen

COO & Co-Founder at Gummicube, Inc

Google has been steadily working on Android Q, with the release of a new beta. Developers can utilize this to begin preparing their apps for the upcoming release, as well as determine how to utilize the new capabilities in their apps and plan their App Store Optimization strategy.

Beta Capabilities

There are several new features in the latest Android Q beta release. The first is Bubbles, which applies a functionality similar to Android’s version of Facebook Messenger to the platform. Bubbles essentially lets users set apps into circular pockets on the screen. This provides quick access to app functions such as notes and tasks while enabling quicker transitions between apps. Apps can also send notifications through Bubbles, making the message pop up next to a bubbled version of the app for easy access.

Additionally, Google is adding Scoped Storage, which provides users with better control over shared files. With Scoped Storage, apps will be able to use their private sandbox without permission, but require permissions to access shared photo, video and audio collections.

As foldable devices move closer to completion, Google is working on ways to make their apps work within a folding screen. To do this, it’s providing a foldable device emulator as an Android Virtual device in Android Studio 3.5. This enables developers to test standard hardware configurations, behaviors and states to see how they perform on foldable devices. Developers should pay attention to configuration changes, multi-resume and resizable activity behaviors, as well as how their apps look and perform on 7.3/4.6-inch and 8/6.6-inch (folded/unfolded) screens.

Beta 2 has also added a new MicrophoneDirection API. This lets the API specify a direction for the microphone when taking an audio recording and control zoomable microphones. Developers will be able to utilize this for voice apps to ensure the mic is always facing the right direction.

Google has been pushing developers towards public APIs, and Beta 2 updates the restrictions to alternative APIs. The company states that alternative APIs will be available for certain cases.

What Developers Should Do

The beta is a time for developers to prepare their app for the new features, so this is the time to start testing. Developers should use the beta to see how their apps perform with all the upcoming features, particularly for foldable devices. Major changes to devices can result in changes to user searches and desires – when users start buying foldable devices, they’ll want apps that can work with them.

Developers should research trending keywords around the new features and incorporate them into their metadata. This will help the apps show up in searches for those features while using the description to highlight how they work with the changes. Staying up with the latest developments and trends lets apps stay competitive, and App Store Optimization enables them to highlight the changes and increase conversions.

The beta is also a good time to start planning screenshots designed for foldable devices. It is not yet known how the Play Store will display screenshots from foldables, but apps built for folding phones should still have creative sets designed for those dimensions. The screenshots should demonstrate how the app looks on folded and unfolded screens, giving users a full look at its visuals.

If an app uses an interface in Android 9 Pie that is now restricted, you can request a new public API. There is time until Android Q sees a proper full release – there are at least four more betas planned – but developers should start preparing now so that their apps are ready when it goes live.

No matter what the changes are, developers can stay ahead of the competition by properly optimizing their apps. Whether users are looking for apps with zoomable microphones or optimized for folding screens, ASO can help an app reach and appeal to them.

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

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