Category: android developers

Congrats to the new Android Excellence apps and games on Google Play

Android Developers July 3, 2018 android developers, App, Develop, Featured, Game, Google Play

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Join us in congratulating the latest apps and games entering the Android Excellence program on Google Play. This diverse group of apps and games is recognized for their high quality, great user experience, and strong technical performance. Whether you’re interested in learning meditation or a new language, or are looking for a game about butterflies or warships, we’re excited to dive in to these new collections.

Winning apps image

Check out a few of our highlighted apps.

  • Beelinguapp: Learn a new language with this unique app. Read and listen to stories with side by side text of the language you’re learning, while following along with your language as a reference.
  • Fortune City: If you’re looking for a fun app to help manage your personal finances, learn how Fortune City teaches good budgeting habits as you build a prospering metropolis.
  • ShareTheMeal: Feed a child in need with one tap on your phone, or create a team to fight hunger together with your friends, using this app by the World Food Programme.

Test your skills with these highlighted games.

  • Animal Crossing™: Pocket Camp: Take on the role of campsite manager as you collect items to decorate and build your ultimate dream campsite. Meet animals, build friendships and invite your favorite animals over for a fun time.
  • Cash, Inc.: Be the big boss of your business empire in this fun game. Work your way up to join a community of business elites and become the most famous money tycoon.
  • Shadowgun Legends: Save humanity from an alien invader in an epic Story Campaign spanning over 200+ mission on 4 diverse planets. Along the way, customize your character, team up with friends, and become a celebrity of the Shadowgun Universe.

See the full list of Android Excellence apps and games.

New Android Excellence apps New Android Excellence games
Beelinguapp

BTFIT

Fortune City

Letras.mus.br

LingoDeer

Memrise

PicsArt

Pocket Casts

ShareTheMeal

The Mindfulness App

Tokopedia

Trello

VivaReal

Wynk Music
Animal Crossing™: Pocket Camp

Cash, Inc.

Flutter: Starlight

Shadow Fight 3

Shadowgun Legends

War Heroes

World of Warships Blitz

Explore other great apps and games in the Editors’ Choice section on Google Play and discover best practices to help you build quality apps and games.

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Launching the Indie Games Accelerator in Asia – helping gaming startups find success on Google Play

Android Developers June 27, 2018 android developers, Featured, Google Play, Indie Games Accelerator, Launchpad Accelerator

Posted by Anuj Gulati, Developer Marketing Manager, Google Play and Sami Kizilbash, Developer Relations Program Manager, Google

Emerging markets now account for more than 40% of game installs on Google Play. Rapid smartphone adoption in these regions presents a new base of engaged gamers that are looking for high quality mobile gaming experiences. At Google Play, we are focused on helping local game developers from these markets achieve their full potential and make the most of this opportunity.

Indie Games Accelerator is a new initiative to support top indie game startups from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam who are looking to supercharge their growth on Android. This four month program is a special edition of Launchpad Accelerator, designed in close collaboration with Google Play, featuring a comprehensive gaming curriculum and mentorship from top mobile gaming experts.

Successful participants will be invited to attend two all-expense-paid gaming bootcamps at the Google Asia-Pacific office in Singapore, where they will receive personalized mentorship from Google teams and industry experts. Additional benefits include Google Cloud Platform credits, invites to exclusive Google and industry events, and more.

Visit the program website to find out more and apply now.

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Grow and optimize your subscriptions with new Google Play features

Android Developers June 20, 2018 Android app development, android developers, Featured, Google Play, monetization, subscriptions

Posted by Larry Yang and Angela Ying, Product Managers, Google Play

Subscriptions on Google Play continue to see huge growth, with subscribers growing over 80% year over year. At I/O 2018, we announced several improvements we’re making to the user experience to reduce barriers to subscription sign-up, and more tools to let you manage your business the way you want to.

More control for subscribers

While users derive a lot of value from their subscriptions, our research shows their fears of being “trapped” in a subscription without the ability to cancel or worry they’ll lose track of how much they’re spending create a hindrance to users signing up for your subscription apps. To address these fears, we recently launched a new subscriptions center, a one-stop shop for users to manage their subscriptions on Google Play.

Through the subscriptions center, users can:

  • View all of their subscriptions to see details and status
  • Manage and update payment methods, including setting up a backup payment method
  • Renew a subscription
  • Restore a cancelled subscription
  • Cancel a subscription

In addition, if a user cancels a subscription, we will now trigger a cancellation survey to give developers feedback as to why the user is cancelling. Currently you can see the data from the cancellation survey by querying our server side API.

The new subscriptions center also has a “Get Started” link in the empty state that lets users discover subscription apps through curated and localized collections.

With the launch of the subscriptions center, we’re also launching new deep links you can use to direct your users to manage their subscriptions from your app, over email or via the web. To implement, use the package name and SKU to construct the deep link, and then add the deep link as a button or link from anywhere in your app. View the Android Developers website for more information.

More control for you

In addition to creating a better experience for users, we’re also rolling out new tools that give you more flexibility in managing your business. One of the features we’ve heard requested most is price changes. Coming soon, you can easily ask users to accept a price change via the Google Play Console without having to set up a completely new SKU. Google Play will notify users of the change via emails, push notifications and in-app messaging, and if by renewal date the user hasn’t agreed, we’ll cancel their subscription. Sign up here if you are interested in participating in the early access program.

Other features we launched at I/O that help you better manage your subscription business include the ability to:

This is in addition to faster test renewals and flexible intro pricing we announced earlier this year.

To easily implement all of these, make sure you are using the Google Play Billing Library, which launched version 1.1 at I/O. The billing library is an abstraction layer on top of the AIDL file, and API updates are automatically picked up when you update your build dependency file the next time you compile your app. Price changes and upgrade/downgrade with the same expiration date are only available through the billing library. This will be the case for future launches as well.

Better for everyone

We strongly believe that by building a great user experience, we build a high quality subscriber base. And by giving you tools and insights to better manage your business, you have the flexibility to do what is best for your business and your customers.

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Congratulations to the winners of the Google Play Indie Games Contest 2017 in Europe

Android Developers February 13, 2018 Android, android developers, business, competition, contest, Developer, Europe, Featured, Games, Google Play, grow, indie, Indie Contest, Indie games contest, indies, London, prizes, Saatchi, win

Posted by Adriana Puchianu, Developer Marketing Google Play

We have just wrapped up the second edition of the Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe! The iconic Saatchi Gallery in London welcomed 20 developers, from 12 countries, who showcased their games to the audience of gamers, industry experts, and journalists.

The finalists’ games were on show to the public, who spent three hours trying out their games and voting for their favourites, alongside the Google Play team. The top 10 finalists were then selected, and went on to pitch their games, and compete for the big prizes in front of our jury.

Please join us in congratulating the winners! They will be bringing home a well-deserved diploma, along with a prize package that will help them reach more gamers worldwide; including premium placement on the Google Play Store, marketing campaigns of up to 100,000 EUR and influencer campaigns of up to 50,000 EUR, the latest Google hardware, tickets to Google I/O, and much more.

It’s really inspiring to see the excitement around this second edition, and great to see the new wave of indie games coming from Europe. We are already looking forward to playing the games that will be developed in 2018!

Check out the main winners and the other finalists on the Google Play Store!

Winner

Bury me, my love

Playdius

France

A reality-inspired interactive fiction designed for mobile phones. It tells the story of Nour, a Syrian woman trying to reach Europe in hope of a better life.

Runners up

Old Man’s Journey

Broken Rules Interactive Media GmbH

Austria

A story game about life’s precious moments, broken dreams, and changed plans.

Yellow

Bart Bonte

Belgium

A puzzle game for you! A love letter to a marvelous colour and to the little wonder called touchscreens. Warning: very yellow!

The other games that have made it into top 10 are:

Captain Tom Galactic Traveler

Picodongames

France

An open world platformer and space exploration game. Embark on an exploratory mission, discover planets, collect oxygen, play with gravity.

I Love Hue

Zut!

United Kingdom

A minimalist, ambient puzzle game influenced by mindfulness apps and abstract art. Players arrange shuffled mosaics of coloured tiles into perfectly ordered palettes.

Jodeo

Gamebra.in

Turkey

Jodeo is a 2D jelly critter. There’s something it’s curious about: what if 3D objects and 2D physics are in the same game? How can 2D objects interact with 3D objects?

Kami 2

State of Play

United Kingdom

The calming yet addictive puzzle game is back! With over 100 handcrafted puzzles, it takes you on a mind-twisting journey that combines logic and problem-solving.

Kenshō

FIFTYTWO

Russia

A tile sliding puzzle with a wonderful soundtrack. Mysterious things happen in a ruined room. Doors inside that room lead to different worlds and beautiful landscapes.

No More Buttons

Tommy Søreide Kjær

Norway

A hand-drawn platformer where the buttons are part of the environment.

The Big Journey

Catfishbox

Ukraine

Designed for kids and adults alike, this a beautiful, casual adventure. Tilt to roll around and explore a beautiful world with Mr. Whiskers.

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Join us for Google Developer Day at GDC 2018

Android Developers January 26, 2018 android developers, Featured, Games, Google Play

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

We’re hosting another Google Developer Day at this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) on Monday, March 19th.

Join us for a full day, where we’ll kick things off with a keynote to share our latest news for game developers, followed by three sessions focused on innovation & new platforms, pre-launch best practices, and strategies to improve performance post-launch. Each session will include mini-talks from different Google teams and developer partners sharing new tools, learnings and more.

We’ll also have a booth in Moscone South, Wednesday (March 21) through Friday (March 23), offering three days of additional talks from many Google teams and a chance for you to ask the experts any of your questions. Stop by to hear talks, meet experts, and try out exciting demos. These events are part of the official Game Developers Conference and require a pass to attend.

Learn more about Google’s activities throughout the week on our event site where you can sign up to stay informed. For those who can’t make it in person, join the live stream starting at 10am PST on Monday, March 19th.

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Meet the finalists of the Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe

Android Developers January 15, 2018 Android, android developers, business, competition, contest, Developer, Europe, Featured, Games, Google Play, grow, indie, Indie Contest, Indie games contest, indies, London, prizes, Saatchi, showcase, win

Posted by Adriana Puchianu, Developer Marketing Google Play

Back in October we launched the 2nd edition of the Google Play Indie
Games Contest in Europe
, with the aim to identify, showcase and reward indie
gaming talent from more than 30 countries. We were amazed by the innovation and
creativity that indie developers from the region have to offer.

Selecting just 20 finalists has once again been a huge challenge. We had a lot
of fun playing the games that will go on to showcase at the Saatchi
Gallery
on February 13th in London. Without further ado, we are happy
to announce the Top 20 finalists of this year’s edition. Congratulations to the
finalists and thanks to everyone else who has entered the contest.

A
Planet of Mine


Tuesday Quest

France

Bridge
Constructor Portal


ClockStone Softwareentwicklung GmbH

Austria

Bury
me, my Love


Playdius

France

Captain
Tom Galactic Traveler


Picodongames

France

Core

FURYJAM

Russia

Flat
Pack


Nitrome

United Kingdom

Fern
Flower


Macaque

Poland

I
Love Hue


Zut!

United Kingdom

Jodeo

Gamebra.in

Turkey

Kami
2

State of Play

United Kingdom

Kenshō

FIFTYTWO

Russia

No
More Buttons


Tommy Søreide Kjær

Norway

Old
Man’s Journey


Broken Rules Interactive Media GmbH

Austria

Radium 2 | Ra²

Developster

Germany

The
Big Journey


Catfishbox

Ukraine

The
House of Da Vinci


Blue Brain Games, s.r.o.

Slovakia

The
Office Quest


11Sheep

Israel

Unbalance

TVEE

Turkey

Undervault

Andriy Bychkovskyi

Ukraine

yellow

Bart Bonte

Belgium

Check out the prizes

All the 20 finalists are getting:

  • A paid trip to London to showcase their game at the Final held at Saatchi
    Gallery
  • Inclusion of their game on a promotional billboard in London for 1 month
  • Inclusion of their game in a dedicated Indie Games Contest collection on the
    Indie Corner for one month in more than 40 countries across EMEA
  • Two (2) tickets to attend a 2018 Playtime event, an invitation-only event
    for top apps and games developers on Google Play
  • One (1) Pixel 2 device

They will also have the chance to win more
prizes
at the final event.

Join the Google Play team and the finalists at the final event:

Anyone can now register
to attend the final
showcase event
for free at the Saatchi Gallery in London on 13
February 2018
. Come and play some great games and have fun with indie
developers, industry experts, and the Google Play team.


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Android Excellence: Congratulations to the newly added apps and games

Android Developers January 11, 2018 android developers, App, Develop, Featured, Game, Google Play

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Kicking off the new year, we’re excited to welcome our latest group of Android Excellence apps and games. These awardees represent some of the best experiences and top performing apps and games on the Play Store and can be found with other great selections on the Editors’ Choice page.

If you’re looking for some new apps, below are a few highlights.

  • EyeEm: A great photo editor app with a full suite of filters and tools to make your pictures shine. Learn style tips from their community and even sell your images through the EyeEm marketplace.
  • Musixmatch: Check out Musixmatch’s updated app while learning the lyrics to all your favorite songs. The app is compatible with many of the top music streaming services and you can even follow along with your Android Wear device or on the big screen with Chromecast support.
  • ViewRanger: Plan your next hiking adventure by discovering new routes and trail guides with ViewRanger. Check out the Skyline feature using your phone’s camera to identify over 9 million sites across the world through augmented reality.

Here are a few of our favorite new games joining the collection.

  • Fire Emblem Heroes: Nintendo’s popular strategy-RPG franchise is now reimagined for mobile. Fight battles, develop your heroes’ skills, and try various gameplay modes for hours of exciting gameplay.
  • Lumino City: Explore the charming papercraft style world in this award-winning puzzle adventure game. The beautiful scenery is all handcrafted.
  • Old Man’s Journey: Gorgeous scenery, an immersive soundtrack, and deep emotion help you uncover the old man’s life stories while you solve puzzles and shape the landscape to determine his future.

Congratulations to the newly added Android Excellence apps and games.

New Android Excellence apps New Android Excellence games
1tap

Acorns

Airbnb

Blink Health

Blinkist

Clue

Ditty

EyeEm

Fabulous

IFTTT

iReader

Journey

KKBOX

LinkedIn

Mobills: Budget Planner

Musixmatch

Shpock

Stocard

Video Editor

ViewRanger

YAZIO

YOP

Agent A

Bit Heroes

Bloons Supermonkey 2

Dancing Line

DEAD WARFARE: Zombie

Dragon Project

Fire Emblem Heroes

Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow

Idle Heroes

Last Day on Earth: Survival

Lords Mobile

Lumino City

Modern Combat Versus

Old Man’s Journey

The Walking Dead No Man’s Land

War Wings

Explore other great apps and games in the Editors’ Choice section on Google Play and discover best practices to help you build quality apps and games for people to love.

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A look back at the most read Google Play posts on Medium in 2017

Android Developers December 28, 2017 android developers, App, Featured, Game, Google Play

Posted by Sergejs Cuhrajs, Community Manager, Google Play

Earlier this year we launched the Google Play Apps & Games publication on
Medium
to help developers discover best practices and insights to grow
successful apps and games businesses on Google Play. As we draw closer to the
end of the year we thought it’s a good time to revisit some of our most popular
posts according to you – our readers.

It’s clear that many of you are excited by the potential of new technology, such
as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and how it could enhance
user interaction with your apps and games. You’re also concerned with everyday
issues including how to keep your APK size manageable, how to acquire new users,
and how to monetize games without pushing away your players.

So without further adieu, here’s the list of the top 10:

  1. Applying
    human-centered design to emerging technologies


    (by By Peter Hyer, Fabian Herrmann, and Kristin Kelly, 7 min read)

    VR, AR, and digital assistant present exciting opportunities for the future, but how can we ensure
    we’re designing for what people really want?
  2. Shrinking
    APKs, growing installs


    (by Sam Tolomei, 6 min read)
    Smaller APK
    sizes correlate with higher install conversion rate on Google Play – we share
    tips for keeping your apps lean.
  3. Who
    plays mobile games?


    (by Allen Bevans, UX Researcher at Google, 6 min
    read)

    Four actionable insights for game developers based on our research
    into different player segments.
  4. Why
    the first ten minutes are crucial if you want to keep players coming back


    (by Adam Carpenter, 7 min read)

    How to analyze your retention data so you can keep players coming back again
    and again.

  5. Design
    your app for decision-making

    (by Jeni Fisher, 10 min read)
    Useful
    tips and strategies for encouraging desired user behavior in your apps. Also
    check out follow-up posts on boosting
    motivation through app rewards
    , and common
    pitfalls of persuasive app design
    .
  6. Predicting
    your app’s monetization future

    (by Ignacio Monereo, 10 min read)
    Learn about predictive analytics and calculating your apps lifetime value (LTV)
    to gain practical insight into the future of your app. In the second part
    Ignacio shares how to calculate
    LTV based on five popular monetization models
    .
  7. Five
    tips to improve your games-as-a-service monetization

    (by Moonlit
    Beshimov, 9 min read)

    5 proven strategies to improve your game revenue
    without driving players away.
  8. An
    introduction to in-app A/B testing


    (by Gavin Kinghall Were, 13 min
    read)

    Learn how in-app A/B testing can drive insight into your app’s future
    design and development, and maximise its performance.
  9. Taking
    the guesswork out of paid user acquisition


    (by David Yin, 8 min
    read)

    A simple tool to help you estimate lifetime value (LTV) of your users
    and what to spend to grow your audience.
  10. Rethinking
    interface assumptions in AR: selecting objects


    (by Aaron Cammarata, 8
    min read)

    In this article for beginner AR developers we explore one of the
    most fundamental user interface actions: object selection.

Do you have suggestions for topics we should tackle in 2018? Let us know by
tweeting with the hashtag #AskPlayDev and we’ll reply from @GooglePlayDev, where we regularly
share news and tips on how to be successful on Google Play.

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Improving app security and performance on Google Play for years to come

Android Developers December 19, 2017 android developers, app updates, Develop, Featured, Google Play, Google Services

Posted by Edward Cunningham, Product Manager, Android

[Edit: Updated post on Dec 21 to clarify that when the
64-bit requirement is introduced in August 2019, 32-bit support is not going
away. Apps that include a 32-bit library just need to have a 64-bit version
too.]

Google Play powers billions of app installs and updates annually. We
relentlessly focus on security and performance to ensure everyone has a positive
experience discovering and installing apps and games they love. Today we’re
giving Android developers a heads-up about three changes designed to support
these goals, as well as explaining the reasons for each change, and how they
will help make Android devices even more secure and performant for the long
term.

  • In the second half of 2018, Play will require that new apps and app updates
    target a recent Android API level. This will be required for new apps in
    August 2018, and for updates to existing apps in
    November 2018. This is to ensure apps are built on the latest
    APIs optimized for security and performance.
  • In August 2019, Play will require that new apps and app
    updates with native libraries provide 64-bit versions in addition to their
    32-bit versions.
  • Additionally, in early 2018, Play will start adding a small amount of
    security metadata on top of each APK to further verify app authenticity. You do
    not need to take any action for this change.

We deeply appreciate our developer ecosystem, and so hope this long advance
notice is helpful in planning your app releases. We will continue to provide
reminders and share developer resources as key dates approach to help you
prepare.

Target API level requirement from late 2018

API behavior changes advance the security and privacy protections of Android –
helping developers secure their apps and protecting people from malware. Here
are a few such changes from recent platform versions:

  • Implicit intents for bindService() no longer supported (Android
    5.0
    )
  • Runtime permissions (Android
    6.0
    )
  • User-added CAs not trusted by default for secure connections (Android
    7.0
    )
  • Apps can’t access user accounts without explicit user approval (Android
    8.0
    )

Many of these changes only apply to apps that explicitly declare their support
for new API behaviors, through the targetSdkVersion
manifest attribute. For example, only apps with a targetSdkVersion of 23
(the API level of Android 6.0) or higher give the user full control over what
private data – such as contacts or location – the app can access via runtime
permissions. Similarly, recent releases include user experience improvements
that prevent apps from accidentally overusing resources like battery and memory;
background
execution limits
is a good example of this type of improvement.

In order to provide users with the best Android experience possible, the Google
Play Console will require that apps target a recent API level:

  • August 2018: New apps required to target API level 26
    (Android 8.0) or higher.
  • November 2018: Updates to existing apps required to target
    API level 26 or higher.
  • 2019 onwards: Each year the targetSdkVersion requirement
    will advance. Within one year following each Android dessert release, new apps
    and app updates will need to target the corresponding API level or
    higher.

Existing apps that are not receiving updates are unaffected. Developers remain
free to use a minSdkVersion
of their choice, so there is no change to your ability to build apps for older
Android versions. We encourage developers to provide backwards compatibility as
far as reasonably possible. Future Android versions will also restrict apps that
don’t target a recent API level and adversely impact performance or security. We
want to proactively reduce fragmentation in the app ecosystem and ensure apps
are secure and performant while providing developers with a long window and
plenty of notice in order to plan ahead.

This year we released Android Oreo, the most secure and best performing version
of Android yet, and we introduced Project
Treble
to help the latest releases reach devices faster. Get started
building apps that target Android 8.1 Oreo
today.

64-bit support requirement in 2019

Platform support for 64-bit architectures was introduced in Android 5.0. Today,
over 40% of Android devices coming online have 64-bit support, while still
maintaining 32-bit compatibility. For apps that use native libraries, 64-bit
code typically offers significantly better performance, with additional
registers and new instructions.

In anticipation of future Android devices that support 64-bit code only, the
Play Console will require that new apps and app updates with native libraries
provide 64-bit versions in addition to their 32-bit versions. This can be within
a single APK or as one of the multiple APKs published.

We are not removing 32-bit support. Google Play will continue to support 32-bit
apps and devices. Apps that do not include native code are unaffected.

This change will come into effect in August 2019. We’re providing advance notice
today to allow plenty of time for developers who don’t yet support 64-bit to
plan the transition. Stay tuned for a future post in which we’ll take an
in-depth look at the performance benefits of 64-bit native libraries on Android,
and check out the CPUs and
Architectures
guide of the NDK for more info.

Security metadata in early 2018

Next year we’ll begin adding a small amount of security metadata on top of each
APK to verify that it was officially distributed by Google Play. Often when you
buy a physical product, you’ll find an official label or a badge which signifies
the product’s authenticity. The metadata we’re adding to APKs is like a Play
badge of authenticity for your Android app.

No action is needed by developers or users. We’ll adjust Play’s maximum APK size
to take into account the small metadata addition, which is inserted into the APK Signing Block
and does not alter the functionality of your app. In addition to enhancing the
integrity of Play’s mobile app ecosystem, this metadata will enable new
distribution opportunities for developers in the future and help more people
keep their apps up to date.

Looking ahead

2017 has been a fantastic year for developers who have seen growth and success
on Google Play. We’ve been hard at work on features (including those announced
at I/O
2017
and at Playtime)
to help you improve your app quality and business performance. With these
features and the upcoming updates, we hope to see the Android and Play ecosystem
continue to thrive in 2018 and beyond.

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Google Play’s Indie Games Contest is back in Europe. Enter now

Android Developers October 19, 2017 Android, android developers, business, competition, contest, Developer, Europe, Featured, Google Play, grow, Indie Contest, Indie games contest, indies, London, prizes, showcase, win

Posted by Adriana Puchianu, Developer Marketing Google Play

Following last year’s success, today we’re announcing the second annual Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe, expanding to more countries and bigger prizes. The contest rewards your passion, creativity and innovation, and provides support to help bring your game to more people.

Prizes for the finalists and winners

  • A trip to London to showcase your game at the Saatchi Gallery
  • Paid digital marketing campaigns worth up to 100,000 EUR
  • Influencer campaigns worth up to 50,000 EUR
  • Premium placements on Google Play
  • Promotion on Android and Google Play marketing channels
  • Tickets to Google I/O 2018 and other top industry events
  • Latest Google hardware
  • Special prizes for the best Unity games

How to enter the contest

If you’re based in one of the 28 eligible countries, have 30 or less full time employees, and published a new game on Google Play after 1 January 2017, you may now be eligible to enter the contest. If you’re planning on publishing a new game soon, you can also enter by submitting a private beta. Check out all the details in the terms and conditions. Submissions close on 31 December 2017.

Up to 20 finalists will showcase their games at an open event at the Saatchi Gallery in London on the 13th February 2018. At the event, the top 10 will be selected by the event attendees and the Google Play team. The top 10 will then pitch to the jury of industry experts, from which the final winner and runners up will be selected.

Come along to the final event

Anyone can register to attend the final showcase event at the Saatchi Gallery in London on 13 February 2018. Play some great indie games and have fun with indie developers,industry experts, and the Google Play team.

Enter now

Visit the contest site to find out more and enter the Indie Games Contest now.

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Fight global hunger with your favorite apps and games on Google Play

Android Developers October 16, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play, social impact, World Food Day

Editor’s note: Cross-post from The Keyword. If you’re a developer interested in supporting a fundraising cause within your title or if you have a social impact app, let us know

Posted by Maxim Mai, Partner Development Manager, Google Play


We grow enough food to feed everyone on the planet. Yet 815 million people–one
in nine—still go to bed on an empty stomach every day.

On October 16, people from around the world come together for World Food Day, with the goal to
promote awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and to advocate
for food security and nutritious diets for all.

To raise funds and awareness for this cause, Google Play has joined forces with
12 popular apps and games to create the Apps
and Games Against Hunger
collection available in North and Latin America.

From now until October 21, 100% of revenue from designated in-app purchases made
in Google Play’s Apps and Games Against Hunger collection will be donated to
World Food Program USA.

World Food Program USA supports the mission of the UN World Food Programme, the leading agency
fighting hunger, by mobilizing individuals, lawmakers and businesses in the U.S.
to advance the global movement to end hunger, feeding families in need around
the world.

These are the 12 global leading apps and games taking part in this special
fundraising collection on Google Play:

ShareTheMeal–Help
children

Peak–Brain
Games & Training

Dragon
City

Cooking
Fever

Animation
Throwdown: TQFC

Legendary:
Game of Heroes

My
Cafe: Recipes & Stories – World Cooking Game

TRANSFORMERS:
Forged to Fight

Rodeo
Stampede: Sky Zoo Safari

Jurassic
World™: The Game

MARVEL
Contest of Champions

Sling
Kong

Thank you to all our users and developers for supporting World Food Day.

Android Excellence: congratulations to the new apps and games for Fall 2017

Android Developers October 3, 2017 android developers, App, Develop, Featured, Game, Google Play

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Android Excellence recognizes some of the highest quality apps and games on
Google Play. With a strong focus on great design, an engaging user experience,
and strong app performance, this set of apps
and games
show the diversity of content on Google Play. Whether you’re trying to better
manage personal finances with Money
Lover
or want to experience the thrill of stunt-racing with stunning
graphics and real-time challenges in Asphalt
8
, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

One new awardee is Bring!,
a simple-to-use app that helps manage your grocery lists. Use the existing
catalog of items or add your own product photos, then share your lists and
message in-app to let others know when it’s time to shop. If you’re looking for
a new game to play, Karma.
Incarnation 1.
is a “wonderfully weird, puzzle-filled indie adventure game.”
With beautiful hand-drawn art, you guide the story’s hero through moments of
humor and challenge to be reunited with his love.

Congratulations to the new Android Excellence apps and games for Fall 2017.

New Android Excellence
apps
New Android Excellence
games
Agoda Asphalt
8
AlarmMon Bubble
Witch 3 Saga
Bring! Castle
Creeps
CastBox Crab
War
Email
by Edison
Crash
of Cars
Eve Dan
the Man
Fotor Dawn
of Titans
Mint Dream
Defense
Money
Lover
Iron
Marines
Onefootball Karma.
Incarnation 1.
Robinhood Postknight
Viki Sky
Force Reloaded
Zombie
Age 3

Explore other great apps and games in the Editors’ Choice section on Google Play.


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Announcing the Winners from the Indie Games Festival in San Francisco

Android Developers September 26, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play, Google Play Console, Indie Games

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

At the Google Play Indie Games Festival over the weekend, we welcomed hundreds
of attendees to try out and enjoy a diverse range of amazing games from the
indie community. The competition was very tough, and in the end, we recognized
three winners:

We’d also like to congratulate the rest of the Top 10 developers and all of the
finalists who shared their games to make for such a fun and exciting event.
Check out the great collection
of games on Google Play.

Here are the other seven games that rounded out the Top 10:

The day started with time for attendees to play the 20 finalists’ games. They
experienced different genres and styles of gameplay and were encouraged to talk
with the developers about their work and what it’s like to make mobile games for
a living. The event brought together kids, adults, gaming enthusiasts and
non-gamers, and was a great representation of the fun experiences mobile games
create.

In the afternoon, attendees voted for their favorites and the Top 10 moved on to
the presentation round. These developers had three minutes to deliver their best
pitch to the panel of judges. After the judges voted, results were in and the
three winners and seven runners up were named.

If you like indie games and want to keep up with our favorite indie picks, visit
the Indie Corner on Google Play.


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Helping indie developers get discovered on Google Play

Android Developers September 8, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play, Indie Games

Posted by Adriana Puchianu, Google Play Developer Marketing

There are increasing growth opportunities for indie game developers, but being
one can still feel daunting in today’s crowded gaming industry. We’ve been
working hard to help indie developers find an audience and to recognize them for
their creativity and innovation. We launched the Indie
Corner
as a destination for exciting new games along with longstanding indie
masterpieces. Since launch, more than 380 games have been featured. Earlier this
year, we launched Android
Excellence
which showcases apps and games that deliver incredible user
experiences on Android, while providing another opportunity to be discovered on
Google Play.

We’ve also held several indie games contests across the globe, giving indies the
chance to showcase their games and find new audiences. In April, we selected the
winner of the second Indie Games Festival in South Korea and we recently
announced the top 20 finalists of this year’s San Francisco event. Come and see the finalists in person on
September 23rd, it’s free to attend and open to the public. Soon we’ll be
bringing back the second Indie Games Contest in Europe too.

Watch François Alliot, the developer of Reigns,
an indie game showcased in Android
Excellence
and the winner of last year’s Indie Games
Contest in Europe
, share how he built a successful games business in the
video below.

And, finally, check out our recent Q&A
with Spry Fox
, makers of the popular game Alphabear, to learn more about what it’s like to be an indie game developer.


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Optimize your Android apps for Chromebooks

Android Developers September 7, 2017 android developers, Chromebooks, Featured, Google Play

Posted by Cheryl Lindo Jones, Mobile App Solutions Consultant, Google Play

As more Chromebooks are enabled with Google Play, now is a great time to optimize
your Android app for Chromebooks
to reach a larger audience. The changes
made to optimize for large screens will benefit mobile devices that are able to
project to desktop monitors, like the Samsung Galaxy S8. The current
list of Chromebooks
that can access the Play Store continues to grow.

There are several differences to consider when optimizing your Android app or
game for Chromebooks:

  • Larger screen sizes and higher resolutions
  • Multi-window and resizable-window support
  • Different hardware input methods: keyboard, trackpad, mouse, stylus
  • Convertible Chromebooks enabling use in laptop and tablet modes

Chromebook users can change screen resolutions, switch between various input
methods, and convert from laptop to tablet mode at any time, so Android apps and
games should handle all of these situations gracefully.

Discoverability on Google Play

If Android apps or games require hardware not available in a Chromebook (like
cellular capability or GPS), those titles will not show up on Google Play for
Chromebook users, similar to Play on Android tablets. Developers should maximize
discoverability on Google Play by doing the following:

Set requested permissions and uses-features in the manifest to ensure
compatibility
with Chromebooks. Not all Chromebooks will have touchscreens,
GPS, or rear-facing cameras which are typical for smartphones. Update the
manifest so that sensors and hardware not commonly found on Chromebooks are not
required. Example:

<uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.touchscreen"
    android:required="false" />

Additionally, to educate Chromebook users on any Chrome OS-specific features
that have been implemented, for example supporting additional input methods like
keyboard, trackpad, and stylus, or supporting large, high-resolution screens
with a responsive layout, developers should update the app description on Google
Play. It would also be useful to provide screenshots showcasing how well the app
or game works on the larger screen, or how the title works on a Chromebook
specifically.

Optimizing functionality

While most apps and games already work fairly well on Chromebooks without any
changes, it is still a good idea to explore how to provide an optimized,
consistent experience for Chromebook users.

Large screens and resizable windows

Chromebook users will be more inclined to multitask, opening multiple apps
and/or games at once, taking advantage of the screen size, and operating in a
manner consistent with a desktop or laptop form factor. Unlike on Android
phones, they can also change the screen resolution to fit more onto the screen,
or enlarge the fonts, UI, and graphics, if needed. Multi-window support and
fully resizable window support are key for this usage. Graphics, fonts, layout,
and touch targets should be adjusted accordingly as the screen resolution and
orientation changes.

It is also important to note that just because an app or game window is not in
focus, it does not mean that it is not visible. For example, if a video app is
open in an inactive window, it should continue to play content “in the
background” because it could still be visible along side another app window. To
fully support multi-window
usage
in this case, pause video in onStop(), and resume in onStart().

Targeting Android N (API level 24 and higher) will signal to the Chrome OS
window manager that compatibility restrictions should not be used. This allows
for more flexibility and control on the developer’s part for supporting window
resizing.

The system will handle window
management
best if Android N is targeted, but for pre-N API support, windows
can be toggled between either a default size selected at app launch, or a
full-screen mode with either the window bar visible, or with window UI hidden in
immersive full-screen mode.

When handling different windowing modes, it is important to know that the window
area for an app or game will be offset by the presence or absence of the window
control bar. The app should not assume that the activity will always be at (0,0)
in the window. Adjust the layout and touch targets accordingly. It is somewhat
common to see apps or games become unresponsive after a window resize or
orientation change because it did not gracefully handle the presence of the
window control bar, or the higher resolution settings of a Chromebook screen.

Orientation support

Because of the laptop form-factor, Chromebook users expect landscape to be the
default orientation for apps on Chromebooks. However, Android apps often assume
that portrait is the default orientation to support, due to the typical way
users interact with their smartphones. To offer flexibility to users, it is
highly recommended to support both portrait and landscape orientations. Some
Chromebooks are convertible, so users can change between laptop and tablet modes
at will, switching between portrait and landscape orientation, according to what
feels comfortable for a given use case.

Most importantly, if possible, do not require a restart if the orientation or
window size changes. If a user is in the process of filling out a form, creating
or editing some content, or in the middle of a level in a game and loses
progress because of an window change — intentional or not — it would be a poor
user experience.

Developers can monitor window configuration changes using
onConfigurationChanged() and dynamically handle those changes by adding this
line to the activity’s manifest:

android:configChanges="screenSize|smallestScreenSize|orientation|screenLayout".

If it is absolutely necessary to require a restart upon changes to the window,
at least restore state by using the onSaveInstanceState() method so that work or
state is not lost.

Additionally, it is important to be consistent with the app’s orientation as the
user is navigating through activities. Currently, the system forces Android apps
to follow the orientation of the root activity to help maintain consistency.
However, this may result in a situation where, perhaps an app starts out in
landscape orientation, and a login screen normally laid out for portrait
orientation pops up, and now does not look optimized due to an unresponsive
layout. Also, it is still possible to have a case where a springboard activity
starts out in an orientation that is different from the primary orientation of
the app. Please keep these possible scenarios in mind when designing the layout
for activities.

Finally, developers should be aware of the differences in handling cameras and
orientation on Chromebooks. Obviously, Android phones have front-facing and
rear-facing cameras that are situated at the top of a portrait-oriented screen.
The front-facing cameras on Chromebooks are situated at the top of a
landscape-oriented screen. Many Chromebooks do not have rear-facing cameras. If
an app requires a camera, it would be best to use android.hardware.camera.any to
access the front-facing camera, if a rear-facing one is not available. Again,
developers should target Android N and, if possible allow the app to be
resizable so that the system can take care of properly orienting the camera
previews.

Supporting multiple input methods

Chromebook users are used to interacting with webpages and apps using a keyboard
and trackpad. Effectively supporting these two input methods for an Android app
means:

  • Supporting hotkeys for commands that a desktop app user may be familiar with
  • Using arrow and tab keys and a trackpad to navigate an activity
  • Allowing hover and opening context menus
  • Supporting other trackpad gestures to enhance productivity in desktop/laptop
    mode

Something as simple as hitting return to send text in a messaging app, or
allowing a user to navigate fields by hitting the tab key will make an app feel
more efficient and cohesive on a Chromebook.

While there is a compatibility
mode
for Chrome OS to emulate touchscreen scrolling and other touch events,
it would be best to optimize an Android app by declaring

<uses-feature
    android:name="android.hardware.type.pc"
    android:required="false" />

in the manifest to disable compatibility mode in order to further define custom
support for keyboard and trackpad.

Similarly, the system can guess at giving focus to the right views when
navigating via the tab or arrow keys on a keyboard. But for best performance,
specify how keyboard navigation should be handled
in the activity manifest
using the android:nextFocusForward attribute for
tab navigation, and android:nextFocusUp, android:nextFocusDown,
android:nextFocusLeft, android:nextFocusRight attributes for arrow key
navigation.

On a related note, some Chromebooks do not have touchscreens, therefore
well-optimized Android apps on Chrome should not assume the user can perform
typical swipe and multi-touch tap gestures to navigate through an app or game.
If primary functionality cannot be performed using only a keyboard or trackpad,
the user experience will be severely impacted on non-touchscreen Chromebooks.
Try to “translate” existing touchscreen tap and swipe gestures into something
that can be easily done on a trackpad or using the keyboard.

Newer Chromebooks are gaining stylus support, allowing for richer interactions
for sketchbook and note-taking apps, photo editors, games, and more. Developers
are encouraged to use available
APIs
to support pressure-sensitivity, tilt, and eraser inputs. To enable
users to comfortably rest their hands on the screen while writing, drawing, or
playing games with the stylus, support palm rejection. The system will attempt
to ignore input from a user’s resting palm, but in case such erroneous touch
events are registered, Android apps should gracefully handle ACTION_CANCEL
events to erase the erroneous inputs.

By supporting all of these additional input methods, users will be able to take
full advantage of the laptop mode for Chromebooks to work more efficiently, or
to be more creative.

Learn more

While a lot was covered in this article, we have additional resources for you to
learn more about optimizing their apps and games for Chromebooks. Read our Medium post
with tips to get your app running great on Chromebooks and watch our
session at Google I/O 2017, Android Apps for Chromebooks
and Large Screen Devices
. There is also training material on the Android
developers website for building apps for
Chrome OS
. If you have any questions, reach out to the Android developer
community
and post with the hashtag #AndroidAppsOnChromeOS.


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Android Developer Story: Zalando increases installs and revenue by focusing on app quality

Android Developers September 1, 2017 android developers, App, Featured, Google Play, Google Play Console, Story

Posted by Adriana Puchianu

Based in Berlin, Zalando
is Europe’s leading online fashion platform. With more than 70% of its traffic
now coming from mobile, the company has invested a lot in improving the quality
of its app to provide a good user experience. Investing in bridging the online
and the offline worlds, as well as providing a seamless cross-platform
experience, has had positive results on their user engagement and revenue. Using
features like A/B testing, the pre-launch report and the new release dashboard
from the Google Play Console, Zalando saw a 6% increase in installs and a 15%
increase in the users’ lifetime value.

Watch Rushil Dave, Senior Product Specialist and Meritxell Rivera, Android
Developer discuss how the company has improved user experience and key revenue
and engagement metrics by investing in app quality for their Zalando
app.


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Announcing the 20 finalists and open registration for the Indie Games Festival in San Francisco

Android Developers August 28, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play, Google Play Console


Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

With so many great mobile games launching this year, we saw a huge amount of
interest from indie developers to showcase their art at the Google
Play Indie Games Festival
in San Francisco next month. While it was a tough
selection process, we’re excited to announce the 20 finalists, as well as our
esteemed judging panel. Fans will be able to play the new and un-released indie
games in a fun festival atmosphere where they can also meet the creators
themselves. To attend and learn more about the event, register now for free at
g.co/play/sfindiegamesfest2017.

So how did we choose the 20 finalists? We powered up our phones, put our
game-faces on, and looked for games that not only met the festival requirements,
but also stood out with their overall design, fun, and quality. These are the 20
finalists who will be joining us at the festival to demo their games.

Meet the finalists

7
Pin Pool

SPG Inc

Age
of Rivals

Roboto Games

Brave Hand
Heart Shaped Games
(game not yet released)
Covens
Raincrow Studios, LLC
Crashy
Cars

pixelbizarre
Dokudo

Sense of Wonder
Flipping
Legend


Hiding Spot
Gladiator
Rising


Happii Gamer Studio
Jigsaw
Story


Happy Square Studio Inc
Loteria
Latin Bingo


Gorilla Bean Games
Maruta Escape

Busan Sanai Games

(game not yet released)
NoStranger

Black Vein Productions
Slayaway
Camp


Blue Wizard Digital
Space
Tunnel


Spacewave Studios
Star
Vikings Forever


Akupara Games
Storm
Wars


Zom.bio
Tiny Bubbles

Pine Street Codeworks

(game not yet released)
Topsoil

Nico Prins

In addition to playing these games and meeting the developers who made them,
fans will have a chance to vote for their favorites throughout the festival. The
Top 10 will then move on to present a short pitch in pursuit of going home as
one of the three overall festival winners. The winners will be chosen by this
year’s panel of judges representing a diverse lineup of gaming expertise.

  • Alex the Gamerette, YouTube Creator
  • Lina Chen, Co-founder & CEO of Nix Hydra
  • Emily Greer, CEO of Kongregate
  • Jamil Moledina, Games Strategic Lead, Google
  • Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer for GamesBeat
  • Sarah Thomson, BD Lead, Indie Games, Google Play

Emceeing this year’s event is J.D. Witherspoon, aka runJDrun. No stranger to gaming,
YouTuber/actor/comedian, J.D. plays a wide array of games and frequently uploads
gaming, vlog, and comedy content to his channels.

If you want to try out these games and celebrate the indie community, learn more
about the event and register at g.co/play/sfindiegamesfest2017.


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How to improve app design for Wear 2.0

Android Developers August 25, 2017 android developers, Android Wear, Featured, Google Play

Posted by Steven Tepper, App Quality Consultant, Google Play

Wear
2.0 launched
back in February with added support for new hardware features
in addition to adopting new Material
Design themes
,
guidelines,
and a simpler vertical UI pattern. It also introduces a complications
API
, making it easier for apps to provide data to watch faces, and watch
faces to incorporate external data. The final big update was that, apps
targeting Wear 2.0 now have the ability to operate in a standalone
mode
, without needing a connection to a companion app on the phone.

There are a few design considerations in relation to navigation, notifications,
the complications API, and the standalone functionality to help you better
optimize for Wear 2.0 devices:

Navigation

  1. Use the WearableDrawerLayout navigation drawer for simple and infrequent
    navigation:
    Simple navigation includes tasks such as accessing app
    settings, switching users or logging out. You can implement
    this on Wear 2.0 to switch between different views or sections of the app via a
    swipe down from the top of the screen, or an action drawer can be set up for
    context-specific actions when swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
  2. Present a navigation drawer as a single-page drawer to enable users
    to navigate views quickly:
    A navigation drawer can be presented as
    either a multi-page or single-page drawer. The single-page layout is useful for
    when the user is expected to navigate quickly between 7 or less views of the
    app. Remember that if the app is using a single-page drawer, the iconography
    should be clear and understandable as there will not be any sort of text
    labeling in this layout. If there are more than 7 views to navigate to or the
    views are not easily represented by icons, you should instead use the multi-page
    drawer layout.

  3. Use multiple app launchers if your app has two or three discrete
    functions:
    For example, if your app supports
    both activity tracking—with various options, actions,
    and views—and historical analysis and management of tracked activities, you can
    use multiple app launchers to handle these tasks. Alternatively, if your app has
    a simple home screen, these features could be placed in line, at the bottom of
    the screen.
  4. Use peeking at the top of the action drawer to provide quick access
    to the primary action:
    If there is no primary action associated with
    the view, override the default behavior and force an overflow button to peek
    instead, exposing all actions at the bottom of a view, when tapped.

Ensure that for devices using Wear 2.0, your app takes advantage of these new UI
patterns to provide a consistent user experience. Check out more training
resources for Wear
Navigation and Actions
and the Material Design specifications for Navigation
and Action
Drawers.

Notifications

Wear 2.0 uses a simpler vertical navigation pattern, removing the horizontal
swiping gesture to present actions for a notification. Notification actions are
now presented as a single primary action (if applicable) at the bottom of a
notification. If there is no primary action, expanding the notification will
present options in a single, vertically scrollable view.

Notifications will work without needing many changes on both 1.x and 2.0
devices, but appear quite different:

When creating apps for Wear 2.0 devices, improve the user experience with
notifications by applying the following best practices:

  1. Support expandable notifications: Use BigTextStyle
    so that users can see more content on their watch.
  2. Use the collapsed view of the notification (if applicable):
    Add the primary action for your notification to the collapsed view of the
    notification using setContentIntent(), where appropriate.
  3. For messaging apps, use the MessagingStyle:
    Provide a rich chat app-like experience in the expanded notification using this
    style.
  4. Update user directions which are specific to Wear 1.0:
    Remove any text guiding users to act on a card by swiping horizontally
    (the Wear 1.x pattern).
  5. Enhancing notifications to use inline actions: This allows
    users to do things without needing tap to see the expanded notification details.
    Actions for messaging notifications can use several different input methods
    including Smart Reply presets, voice, and keyboard input. Take advantage of
    these features to provide added functionality and delight users.

To learn more about adding
wearable features to notifications
.

Complications

The complications API in Wear 2.0 makes it much easier for watch face developers
and third-party data providers to surface important information users want, at a
glance. Watch faces that support the API can be configured to use any of the
data providers that have been installed on the watch while maintaining complete
control over their appearance. Apps supporting the complication API allow the
app’s data to be accessible on any watch faces that support complications. These
complications can be displayed in a variety of forms (short text, icon, ranged
value, long text, small image, and large image) depending on what the data
provider has configured and how much space has been allocated on the watch face.

To ensure that complications fit the overall design of the watch face and
properly handle their data type, when adding complication support we recommend
watch face makers should:

  1. Use the TextRenderer
    class found in the Wear 2.0 SDK:
    This allows the text within
    complications to be adjusted to their bounds by shrinking the text, dynamically
    supporting line breaks or ellipsizing strings when they exceed the bounds of a
    text-based complication.
  2. Use the ComplicationDrawable
    class to set the background color, shape, border, and font options for the
    complications:
    This gives complete control of how the complication is
    rendered to the watch face.
  3. Design the watch face to provide a way for users to configure or
    adjust complications on the watch face through a settings menu:
    To
    learn how to construct these settings see the watch face sample
    on GitHub.
  4. Use the data provider test
    suite
    app to feed dummy data to the watch face complications:
    This
    will enable you to verify that all of the complications render properly and have
    fonts formatted for their bounds.
  5. As a complication data provider, expose relevant data by using the
    ComplicationProviderService:

    Simply define and configure what types of ComplicationData
    the app can provide for complications.

Standalone functionality on Wear devices

  1. Make sure your app is able to handle itself if there is no companion
    app installed when using the android.hardware.type.watch hardware feature
    flag
    : Using this feature enables your app to become searchable and
    installable directly on Wear devices without needing to install a companion
    phone app, so ensure your app can handle itself to avoid a confusing or broken
    user experience.
  2. Ensure your wearable app doesn’t rely on the phone app for
    sign-in/authentication or primary functionality
    : When requiring
    complicated input for authentication (for example, password entry) your wearable
    app can point to the companion phone, but should rely on web UI for
    account/password entry rather than an app.
  3. Where a companion app must be present on a phone to support your app
    in some other way, the app should use the CapabilityApi:

    This should be used to properly direct users to the Play Store listing on their
    companion device to install the missing app. Otherwise, the app should function
    on its own, using the Wear built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, or other connectivity functions.

  4. Include wording about any companion app requirements or briefly
    mention how your Wear app should function within the Play Store listing
    description
    : This will help set expectations and guide users to install
    the correct apps for the best possible experience.
  5. Incorporate the com.google.android.wearable.standalone
    flag in the manifest if your Wearable app can function without any phone
    companion interaction
    : This flag indicates that the wearable app can be
    installed and will fully function when not paired to an Android or iOS companion
    phone.

Though a lot was covered here, there are additional resources you can use to
ensure that your apps or games are optimized and use the latest patterns and
functionality on Wear. Be sure to review
the quality guidelines
and check out the developer training documentation to
learn more best practices for wearable app
development
and wearable
app design
in order to build quality apps for Wear.

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Start on Android and succeed on Google Play

Android Developers August 23, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play

Posted by Karolis Balciunas, VC & Startups Business Development, Google Play

Early Access was launched at Google I/O 2016 as a destination
on Google Play for beta app and game titles still in development, and to attract
early adopters willing to test those titles. The results speak for themselves.
The program has helped over 350 developers launch their titles and generated
over 40M beta installs for their apps and games during just the short window
before their public availability on the Play Store. More importantly, the
average rating for titles that have been through Early Access is 4.3☆ once in
production, putting them in a strong position to be favored in search and
discovery on Google Play.

Early Access also generates positive awareness for new titles. Alumni like Simple
Habit
and Digit
were chosen as finalists in the “Standout Startup” category at the Google
Play Awards
this year.
Omnidrone’s game Titan
Brawl
became the first game to reach 1M testers. Hear more about their
experience in the video below.

Early Access and our work with the venture capital community has taught us a lot
about successful startups. We know you seek rapid iteration towards
product-market fit and are thirsty for the same kind of powerful testing,
analytics, and user feedback that Google’s own product teams depend on to launch
successful products. When we know about your startup’s plans
well in advance of your launch date, we can impact your trajectory by supporting
you through this understood process of iterative improvement.

Start on Android

Earlier this year we launched Start
on Android
to identify the highest potential Android startups
earlier in their lifecycle and provide tools, perks, and guidance for those who
qualify. We’ve developed five components that have proven to be most impactful:

  1. Early Access participation enabling developers to recruit beta testers and
    respond to their feedback before it impacts an app’s rating on the Play Store.
  2. Pre-launch user interface and user experience reviews from the Play
    editorial team to help optimize onboarding experiences, material design
    implementation, business model execution, and user engagement.
  3. Access to Google perks like the Google Cloud Platform’s Spark Package which
    includes $20K in Google Cloud and Firebase credits, free 12 months of G Suite
    for up to 10 employees, and other financial incentives.
  4. Opportunities to participate in Google Play and other Google teams’ programs
    and special events including Google Cloud Platform,
    Google for Entrepreneurs,
    and Launchpad.
  5. Guidance in the form of videos and content on startup best practices
    available to all at StartonAndroid.com.

We are just getting started

We’ve already seen a lot of developer interest and received hundreds of public
applications and referrals from venture capitalists and other startup
influencers. Below are a few accepted startups:

  • Socratic
    – A Spark Capital backed company that allows students to solve math problems by
    snapping a photo with their camera and using computer vision to return relevant
    answers and related concepts and video.
  • Astro
    A Redpoint
    portfolio company that layers AI on top of your email to help intelligently
    manage your inbox.

  • Peanut
    – A Tinder-like app for connecting moms, funded by NEA and Felix Capital.
  • Gyroscope
    – A startup working on an “operating system for the human body”.
  • Empower – An exciting new money management
    app backed by Sequoia Capital, coming soon to Android.

We are incredibly proud of every developer we work with and grateful to our
friends within VC firms and the wider community who bring exciting new startups
to our attention.

Get in touch with us

If you would like to be part of Start on Android, complete the form at StartonAndroid.com. We’re looking for
developers who are planning to launch on Android soon, or have done so in the
past 6 months.

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500 million devices now supported for Android Instant Apps

Android Developers August 17, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play, Google Play Console, Play Console

Posted by Jonathan Karmel

Since our public launch at Google I/O this year, we’ve been hard at work expanding the number of supported devices and the availability of instant apps, so that users can run your apps instantly, without installation. We’re excited to announce that 500 million Android users now have access to instant apps across countries where Google Play operates.

A number of Google Play apps and games businesses across a range of industries have already started building with instant apps. Following the launch of their instant apps, they have seen strong results in engagement, acquisition and retention.

Vimeo: WIth more than 50M creators and 240M viewers worldwide, Vimeo has built a platform whereby people can easily share videos with friends. The company wanted to implement Android Instant Apps to enable their audience to easily immerse themselves in content through a native app experience. Vimeo increased session duration by 130% with their instant app. Discover how Vimeo drove increased engagement with their instant app.
Jet: Based in the US, Jet provides a shopping platform, using a real-time savings engine to surface opportunities for customers to pay less. The company wanted to expand the reach of their existing app, and updated their app in order to support instant apps. Following the launch of their instant app, Jet found that their conversion rate increased by 27%. Learn about how Jet launched their instant app.
NYTimes Crosswords: The NYTimes Crosswords instant app provides users with crossword puzzles as printed in the New York Times daily newspaper. Their aim was to create a more native experience for their audience, increasing app engagement. Instant apps have 2x the number of sessions per user. Based on early results, they are also seeing more effective acquisition, conversion, and long term retention. Learn more about how NYTimes increased app sessions.
dotloop: dotloop is a real estate transaction platform which makes it easier for real estate professionals to interact with home buyers and sellers, and for them to be able to sign documents anytime, anywhere. Their aim for instant apps was to provide more users a native app experience for the signing process of documents. dotloop increased their key metric with a 62% increase in users who sign a document. Discover how dotloop supported Android Instant Apps and increased engagement.
Onefootball: Based in Berlin, the app provides news, live scores, fixtures, results, tables and stats for over 230 leagues and 15 languages. Onefootball built an instant app by reducing its APK size alongside other updates. The number of users who read news and share content increased 55% in their instant app. Find out more about how Onefootball increased engagement following their launch.
Realtor.com: A leading online real estate destination that attracts nearly 60 million unique visitors each month to its desktop and mobile platforms. Realtor.com enabled Android Instant Apps support by modularizing its 12 MB app into instant app modules. With Instant Apps, Realtor.com increased their key conversion metrics having doubled the number of leads per property listing details pageview. Find out how Realtor.com reduced its instant app APK size.

Learn more best practices for managing your download size with Android Instant Apps, and also visit g.co/instantapps for more information on building instant apps and get started today!

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Android Instant Apps: Best practices for managing download size

Android Developers August 17, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play, Google Play Console, Instant Apps, Play Console

Posted by Dmitry Malykhanov, Developer Relations Partner, Google Play
Android Instant Apps provides rich, native experiences at the tap of a web link. People can experience your app without upfront installation, enabling a higher level and quality of engagement.
However, to provide comparable latency of loading a mobile webpage, an instant app needs to be lean and well structured, so it can be downloaded and run quickly in response to a URL tap. In light of that, we encourage that the binary loaded in response any entry-point URL is as small as possible, with a maximum of 4MB. The smaller the binaries, the faster the instant app will load and the smoother the user experience.
This document will propose best practices for managing the application structure and binary size to enable a smooth instant app experience. These practices will also benefit your installable app.

Refactoring your codebase

The biggest binary size benefit comes from refactoring your app into multiple feature modules. Even if your current size and feature set don’t require multiple features, we recommend designing for it, so you can quickly add more features in the future without affecting the binary size of existing features. We also highly recommend having a unified modular codebase to produce both installable and instant application binaries, as this will reduce the burden of maintaining separate projects and code and provide a cleaner project structure across both. Based on the experience of our early access partners, we believe this will have the largest impact to the binary size at download. However, it also requires the most investment.
To get to that end, you can start with a single (base) module and then refactor code by moving relevant portions to feature module(s). Note that you do not need to worry about the binary size while developing your instant app, as the size limit does not apply for locally built binaries. You can also publish your binary through the Play Developers Console to the Development track (special track for quick deployment of your instant app during development), where the size limit is 10MB. [1, 2] The 4MB restriction is applied once your binary graduate out of the Development track.
Each feature module can have one (or more) entry points – activities – that correspond to a given URL. When splitting a single code base into multiple modules, you will have different entry points for different features, and the platform will load the relevant feature as needed. Remember, the total binary to be downloaded for any given entry point should be under 4MB, so the combined size of any feature module and the base module must be below 4MB.

It is advised to define the feature–activity–entry point mappings first, and then structure the refactoring effort towards reducing the binary size for each entrypoint..
Also consider how your libraries are included. If a specific feature module requires certain libraries they should be included in the feature module only, instead of being added in the base APK. This will reduce the size of the base module. For example, let’s say you have an application that depends on libraries X, Y, and Z. Initially, you may pack all the libraries in the base module by placing all the dependencies in the base gradle.build file. But if only the code in the feature module requires library Z, it makes sense to move that dependency from the base module to the feature module.This works as long as no other feature modules depend on the same library. If multiple feature modules use the same library it definitely makes sense to keep it in the base module.

Lint checks

Many apps tend to acquire a lot of resources, and over a period of time, some of them are no longer used. Android Studio has useful built in lint check for unused resources. Press Alt+Ctrl+Shift+I (Cmd+Alt+Shift+I on Mac OS), type “unused resources” and start “Unused resources Android|Lint|Performance” inspection. It helps to reduce the size of the installable APK as well.

String resources

Similar to resources, pay attention to strings, not all of them may be in use, and typically the application size can be reduced significantly by removing unused string resources. If application supports multiple languages, you may want to reduce the number of localized resources, as it typically removes large chunks of the resources assets. This is especially important if the app supports only a few languages but uses AppCompat library, which includes messages in multiple languages. Use resConfig to select specific resources configurations only. Hint: typically you can use “auto” to restrict configurations pulled from third-party libraries to match the set of configurations defined in your project.

Switch to WebP

Significant reduction of the drawable resources size may be achieved by switching to WebP images instead of PNGs. Android Instant Apps supports all features of the WebP format (transparency, lossless, etc.) so there will be no loss in functionality. Keep in mind that application launcher icons must use PNG format, but it should not be a problem since projects normally keep those in mipmap- directories. If a backward compatible solution is required, you need to include the original PNG images in the APK module and it will override WebP resources automatically (main source set overrides all resources from AAR/feature module). [4]

Of course, going with vector drawables may let you save even more of the precious space, but using vector drawables will require a code change while the above mentioned trick with WebP images for the instant app and PNG images for the installable APK requires no code modifications.

Download assets at runtime

Finally, remember that technically there is no need to pack all the resources in the instant app APKs, as the application can download additional assets at run time. This approach also enables the app to download the required assets only. These modifications may require significant changes to the code base, but will also help you to reduce the size of the installable APK.
If shrinking resources does not bring your app feature modules size under the limit, it is time to look for the ways to reduce the code size.

Review native libraries

Some third-party libraries may include native code, which may not be used in the instant app at all. So the first step is to review the native libraries packaged within the APK and make sure the instant app has only those that are actually used. Remember to look into the compiled APK using APK Analyzer (Build -> APK Analyzer…) [5]

Review external libraries

Next review the list of all external libraries linked with the app’s code. You may find some unexpected surprises courtesy of transitive dependencies. Transitive dependencies occur when the library your project relies upon depends on another library, which in turn may depend on yet another library. Sometimes those transitive dependencies may contain unexpected surprises such as libraries you do not need at all (i.e. a JSON processing library you never use in your code.) Please see “Excluding transitive dependencies” section in the Gradle User Guide for further details.
Android Studio has several useful tools for analyzing the external dependencies for the project. It always helps to start with the Project view:

The “Project” view shows a section called “External libraries”, where you can see all the libraries used by the project including any transitive dependencies:

In order to further reduce the base feature size you may need to pay attention to the code dependencies and external libraries. Check the “Project” view and look for unused libraries that might be transitive dependencies the project does not need. Also look for libraries that provide the same functionality (e.g. multiple libraries for image loading/caching). [4]
You can also compare different builds with APK Analyzer tool, and it works with instant APKs, too.

Finally, review the list of transitive dependencies and exclude the ones you do not need. Use the following command to review the dependencies graph: gradle -q :MODULE:dependencies --configuration compile. Further details can be found in the Gradle documentation.

Other tips

Android Studio 3.0 includes the App Links Assistant tool, which can help to generate the necessary intent filters, and help in splitting the project into several modules. [3]

Once you got the instant app bundles under the size limit, it is the time to make sure the building process is up to date. Check that the application package and instant app APKs are signed using the “APK Signature Scheme v2“. If you sign the APKs using the latest version of the SDK tools, everything should be done automatically. However, if you manually sign the build artifacts you need to avoid using jarsigner and switch to apksigner instead.
And a few useful tips for adapting the app’s code to the instant runtime environment. Keep in mind that having a small branches of code for instant/installable applications, based on the InstantApps.isInstantApp(…), should be fine and typically does not make the source code unreadable (unless you abuse it, of course). Also, when using share intents make sure the code does not explicitly enumerate applications installed on the device, instant app security model does not allow that. Simply use regular Intent.createChooser() to present the list of all possible actions to the user.
The level of effort of developing an instant app for an existing Android application varies across developers and is heavily dependent on how your application is organized today. For some, it will be easy as your project is already organized as multiple modules. However, for some, the focus will be on reducing the code and resource assets size, and we have introduced tools and Android platform features above to help you with that.

Hear from other developers using Android Instant Apps

Finally, check out these great posts by developers that have already built an instant app:

Visit the Android Developers website to get started with Android Instant Apps and check out more instant apps success stories from other developers.

Build a subscriptions business on Google Play with these new features and best practices

Android Developers August 14, 2017 android developers, Featured, Google Play, Google Play Billing, Google Play Console, Play Console, subscriptions

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager

Subscriptions can be a sustainable source of revenue, allowing you to invest in your long-term business growth with confidence. Subscription apps are growing rapidly on Google Play; the number of subscribers doubled in the last year and spend on subscriptions has increased 10-times over the past three years. To help the growing number of subscription businesses we’re seeing, we introduced the subscriptions dashboard in the Google Play Console at I/O 2017. Today, we’re adding three new subscription reports covering acquisition, retention, and cancellations to help you understand your data and make informed business decisions. Find information below on the new features, our updated best practices to help you grow your subscriptions business, and stories from other developers succeeding on Google Play.

New subscription reports now available in the Google Play Console

Three new subscription reports in the Google Play Console

The acquisition report enables you to evaluate different acquisition channels, including Adwords and UTM-tagged campaigns. This can help you identify which channels and campaigns are the most successful in acquiring new subscribers.

The retention report displays the lifetime retention of a customized cohort of your subscribers. It allows you to easily compare different subscription products, plots key events such as the end of a free trial, and provides forecasts to enable you to make decisions faster.

Finally, the cancellations report. This detailed cancellation data shows when a user cancels, either voluntarily (such as when they choose to cancel) or involuntarily (for example, when there is payment failure). You can also see whether the cancellation was accompanied by the person uninstalling.

We’re continually working to improve the Google Play Console. If you have ideas or feedback on how we can improve the subscriptions features, please let us know.

Take advantage of the new Google Play Billing Library

To benefit from these features, you need to be using Google Play Billing as the payment method for subscriptions in your app. Implementing Play Billing is easy with the new Google Play Billing Library. We’ve also updated Play Billing so the billing permission will be enforced when the buyer tries to initiate a purchase rather than when you publish your app. This means you can publish a single APK in both Play Billing supported and non-supported countries (rather than maintaining a separate APK that does not use the Billing permission for non-supported countries). Remember to check first if billing is supported before trying to offer any in-app purchases.

Become a ‘subscriptions first’ company and succeed on Google Play

As developers become more sophisticated with their subscriptions offerings on Google Play, our most successful partners have learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work well. Niko Schröer, a partner manager with expert knowledge of subscription apps, has a new post on Medium to help you become a successful subscriptions company. In the post, you’ll find a link to our detailed user research on Android subscribers [PDF] published in June 2017, which offers helpful insights into what users look for in a subscription product. We’ve also published some new best practices on subscriptions, which you can read along with other tips to succeed on Google Play in the Playbook app.

How other developers are succeeding with subscriptions on Play

Viki, a Singapore based video app, uses subscriptions to build a sustainable and predictable revenue stream, allowing them to invest in original content and provide better premium experiences for their users. Total revenue from subscriptions grew over 200% over the year, and by 700% in emerging markets like the Middle East and Latin America. Watch Alex Chan, Senior VP of Product and Engineering at Viki, tell the story.

The developer of Anghami, a popular music service in the Middle East and North Africa, increased the number of subscribers in their app with user interface experiments and introductory pricing. During one promotional period, Anghami used introductory pricing to increase new sign-ups by 400% compared to their average daily sign-ups. Find out more about how Anghami achieves subscription success.

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