Sunday, April 14, 2024

Google releases Android 15 Developer Preview

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Today, Google releases Android 15… sort of. You see, it is not a stable release, but instead, it is the official Developer Preview. And most likely, you cannot run it on your phone or tablet either. Right now, it is only available for certain Google Pixel devices — the Pixel 6 series, Pixel 7 series, Pixel 8 series, Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet. Got a different Android device? Sorry, you must wait.

Android 15 continues to focus on elevating developer productivity while introducing new capabilities for creating superior media experiences. The platform is designed to minimize battery impact and maximize app performance, all while maintaining a strong emphasis on user privacy and security.

The growing demand for large-screen devices, including tablets, foldables, and flippables, presents a unique opportunity for developers. Android 15 is dedicated to providing the necessary tooling and libraries to help apps take full advantage of these devices and the latest advances in AI.

Android 15 introduces several key features aimed at bolstering user privacy and security:

  • Privacy Sandbox on Android: The update brings Android AD Services to extension level 10, incorporating the latest version of the Privacy Sandbox. This initiative seeks to develop new technologies that enhance user privacy while enabling personalized advertising experiences for mobile apps.
  • Health Connect: Building on Android 14 extensions, Health Connect by Android now supports new data types across fitness, nutrition, and more, providing a secure platform for managing and sharing health and fitness data.
  • File Integrity: The new FileIntegrityManager API taps into the fs-verity feature of the Linux kernel, offering enhanced security through custom cryptographic signatures to protect files from tampering or corruption.

Android 15 introduces features that empower creators and optimize app performance:

  • In-app Camera Controls: Developers gain more control over camera hardware and algorithms, including low light enhancements and advanced flash strength adjustments.
  • Virtual MIDI 2.0 Devices: Building on Android 13’s support for MIDI 2.0 devices, Android 15 extends Universal MIDI Packets (UMP) support to virtual MIDI apps, enabling composition apps to control synthesizer apps as virtual MIDI 2.0 devices.
  • Dynamic Performance: The Android Dynamic Performance Framework (ADPF) receives new capabilities, allowing games and performance-intensive apps to interact more directly with the power and thermal systems of Android devices.

Android 15 continues to add OpenJDK APIs, focusing on quality-of-life improvements around NIO buffers, streams, security, and more. These updates are available on over a billion devices running Android 12+ through Google Play System updates. The platform also provides advance notice of the Platform Stability milestone, expected in June 2024, giving developers ample time for app compatibility work and final testing.

You can begin exploring the Android 15 features by flashing a system image onto one of the aforementioned Pixel devices or using the Android Emulator in Android Studio. The latest preview of Android Studio Jellyfish is recommended for the best development experience. Developers are encouraged to try the new features, test app compatibility, and provide feedback to help shape the future of Android.

Developers, or courageous Android enthusiasts, can download Android 15 Developer Preview here.

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