Google this week made the final Android O APIs available to developers, along with an updated SDK and fresh beta of the still-in-progress mobile operating system. Google hopes developers will use these finalized tools to update their apps for Android 8.
Android 8 is making swift progress through its development phase. Google first introduced the OS in March and later followed that with an in-depth reveal at its I/O developer conference in May. Lots of wheels are in motion, and they appear to all be headed in the right (or at least the same) direction.
Most of the new goodies are available from within Android Studio. Google says developers can find the final API 26 SDK in Android Studio and the Android Support Library 26.0.0 beta 2 from the Maven repository. Together with the Android O Developer Preview 3, developers should have everything they need.
A word about Android Studio. Google suggests developers take advantage of Android Studio 3.0 to develop for Android O -- even though Android Studio 3 is still in the canary phase. Android Studio 3.0 is where developers will find improved app performance profiling tools, Gradle build optimizations, and, perhaps most importantly, support for the Kotlin programming language. Android Studio 3.0 also makes it possible to build Instant Apps, create fun adaptive icons, as well as find the latest XML and downloadable fonts. If you're not looking to use some of these more advanced features, Android Studio 2.3.3 will still get the job done. Google says the XML/downloadable fonts and adaptive icons have been added to 2.3.3.
With the latest API 26 SDK installed from the SDK Manager, developers can update their project's compileSdkVersion to API 26 to compile against the official Android O APIs. Google strongly suggests devs update their apps' targetSdkVersion to API 26 for testing purposes, but this isn't entirely necessary. A migration guide is available here.
The APIs have changed since Google released the second developer preview in May. Developers who may have already updated their code for Android O should take a look diff report to see where their code might be different from the previous version.
What's new in Android O? An in-depth assessment of the new functionalities is available from ProgrammableWeb here. Some of the highlights include picture-in-picture on smartphones, notification channels and notification dots, autofill improvements, adaptive icons, improved Bluetooth support, the AAudio API, autosizing text, and much more. The PiP and notification dots are perhaps the two most significant user-facing changes. Google believes PiP will let developers keep users engaged with apps even when multitasking.
Developers can use the API 26 SDK to compile and publish apps in alpha, beta, and production channels in Google Play. Google says apps pushed to Google Play will be compatible with and available to others testing and using the Android O developer preview.
It's important to download the new Android beta. Android O Developer Preview 3 is available to devices already running earlier betas via an over-the-air update. Developers who've not already installed the beta can easily enroll their devices at android.com/beta. The O Developer Preview is available for Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus Player.
Google expects to release Android 8 O to the general public later this summer.