Mobility

Final Android O developer preview arrives, here's how to prepare your apps

Google has launched the fourth and final developer preview for Android O, which means the official version is just around the corner.

On Monday, Google launched Developer Preview 4, the final preview of its upcoming Android O operating system. In a blog post announcing the launch, Android vice president of engineering Dave Burke wrote that the official version of Android O is coming soon.

The preview will only be available to users who have registered their device through the beta program. This is the last chance that both users and developers will have to test the new OS before its launch, so if your device isn't registered, be sure to do so at the Android Beta site.

While the final APIs (API 26 SDK) were available in Developer Preview 3, this latest version also includes the system behaviors along with the most up-to-date bug fixes and optimizations.

SEE: The Android O & Java Developer Mastery Course (TechRepublic Academy)

To make sure your apps will work well with Android O, there are a few important steps you can take. After enrolling in the beta program, and making sure you have Developer Preview 4 installed, it's important to check your apps against the behavior changes, the post said. You can find a list of those behavior changes here.

Android O will bring changes to media, class-loading behavior, privacy, and more. Take a look at the " Apps targeting Android O" of the behavior changes, and make note of any updates that may affect the performance of your app.

"Once you've resolved any issues, publish your app updates with the current targeting level, so that they're available as users start to receive Android O," the post said.

The first users to download Android O will likely want the app to be utilizing its new features, like notification channels, picture-in-picture, and autofill. Developers can find a full list of the new features on the preview website, and should consider integrating these features to keep users engaged.

It's important that developers have access to the latest Android tools as well. Burke's post recommends downloading Android Studio 3.0 and updating to the Android Support Library 26.0.0 before building new apps on Android O.

For testing, consider using the new Android Testing Support Library and running beta tests through the Google Play Console.

The public release of Android O is due sometime this summer.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Google has released the final preview version of Android O, Developer Preview 4, available to users and developers in the beta program.
  2. Developers should take steps to make sure their apps are in line with the behavior changes in Android O, and that they make use of some of the new features in the OS.
  3. A new Android Testing Support Library and beta testing through the Google Play Console can provide good options for developers looking to see how their apps work in Android O.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/Blackzheep

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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