Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering
As we put the finishing touches on the Android O platform, today we’re rolling out Developer Preview 4 to help you make sure your apps are ready.
This is the final preview before we launch the official Android O platform to consumers later this summer. Take this opportunity to wrap up your testing and publish your updates soon, to give users a smooth transition to Android O.
If you have a device that’s enrolled in the Android Beta Program, you’ll receive an update to Developer Preview 4 in the next few days. If you haven’t enrolled your device yet, just visit the Android Beta site to enroll and get the update.
Watch for more information on the official Android O release soon!
What’s in this update?
Developer Preview 4 is a release candidate build of Android O that you can use to complete your development and testing in time for the upcoming official release. It includes the final system behaviors, the latest bug fixes and optimizations, and the final APIs (API level 26) already available since Developer Preview 3.
We’re releasing the Developer Preview 4 device system images today, together with the stable version of the Android 26.0.0 Support Library. Incremental updates to the SDK, tools, and Android Emulator system images are on the way over the next few days.
We’re also introducing a new version of Android Testing Support Library that includes new features like Android Test Orchestrator, Multiprocess Espresso, and more. Watch for details coming soon.
Test your apps on Android O
Today’s Developer Preview 4 system images give you an excellent way to test your current apps on the near-final version of Android O. By testing now, you can make sure your app offers the experience you want as users start to upgrade to the official Android O platform.
Just enroll a supported device in the Android Beta Program to get today’s update over-the-air, install your current app from Google Play, and test the user flows. The app should run and look great, and should handle the Android O behavior changes properly — in particular, pay attention to background location limits, notification channels, and changes in networking, security, and identifiers.
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.
Enhance your apps with Android O features and APIs
Users running the latest versions of Android are typically among the most active in terms of downloading apps, consuming content, and making purchases. They’re also more vocal about support for the latest Android features in their favorite apps. With Android O, users are anticipating features like notification channels and dots, shortcut pinning, picture-in-picture, autofill, and others. These features could also help increase engagement with your app as more users upgrade to Android O over time.
Enhancing your apps with Android O features can help you drive engagement with users, offer new interactions, give them more control and security, and improve performance. Features like adaptive icons, downloadable fonts, and autosizing TextView can simplify your development and minimize your APK size. Battery is also a top concern for users, so they’ll appreciate your app being optimized for background execution limits and other important changes in vital system behavior for O apps.
Visit the O Developer Preview site to learn about all of the new features and APIs and how to build them into your apps.
Speed your development with Android Studio
When you’re ready to build for Android O, we recommend updating to the latest version of Android Studio 3.0, available for download from the canary channel. Aside from improved app performance profiling tools, support for the Kotlin programming language, and Gradle build optimizations, Android Studio 3.0 makes it easier to develop with Instant Apps, XML Fonts, Downloadable Fonts, and Adaptive Icons.
We also recommend updating to the stable version of the Android Support Library 26.0.0, available now from Google’s Maven repository, and to the latest SDK, tools, and emulator system images, available over the next few days.
You can update your project’s compileSdkVersion to API 26 to compile against the official Android O APIs. We also recommend updating your app’s targetSdkVersion to API 26 to opt-in and test your app with Android O specific behavior changes. See the migration guide for details on how to setup your environment to build with Android O.
Publish your updates to Google Play
Google Play is open for apps compiled against or targeting API 26. When you’re ready, you can publish your APK updates in your alpha, beta, or production channels.
Make sure that your updated app runs well on Android O as well as older versions. We recommend using Google Play’s beta testing feature to get early feedback from a small group of users. Then do a staged rollout. We’re looking forward to seeing your app updates!
How to get Developer Preview 4
It’s simple to get Developer Preview 4 if you haven’t already! Just visit android.com/beta and opt-in your eligible phone or tablet. As always, you can also download and flash this update manually. The O Developer Preview is available for Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and the Android Emulator. Enrolled devices will automatically update when we release the official version of Android O.
Thanks for all of your input throughout the preview. Continue to share your feedback and requests, we love it!