As one of only 25 global Android Certified Agencies, Bottle Rocket will be at this year’s Google I/O to learn about the new Android OS direct from Google developers. This is awesome for our clients as much as it is for us—we’ll bring them insights into the mobile platform that few others can.
Our engineers are excited to experience the latest Google has to offer. Here are some of the topics they’re anticipating most.
The topic I’m most excited about to learn more details on from this year’s I/O is the Android Instant Apps feature. In my mind, anything that reduces the initial friction of inviting a user into your app experience is something that I should be exploring as a developer. The idea of Instant Apps that Google presented last year is incredibly appealing. However, from a technical perspective, it’s a meaty engineering problem to tackle. Information about the underlying mechanics of the feature has been slow coming, (currently the SDK access has been invite-only). I’m looking forward to learning more specifics about how Google managed to pull this off and if the reality lives up to the hype.
Android Development Tools
Every year I look forward to the part of Google I/O that will affect how I work every day—the development tools! Android Studio 2.4 will likely be released from the preview and include built-in Java 8 support, giving us access to lambda expressions, method references, and more. The new Device File Explorer is another welcome addition, freeing us more from the outdated Android Device Monitor. All the apps we write support older versions of Android, so any support library updates that bring some of that Android O goodness into our apps will be appreciated as well. Finally, I’m most excited about the unexpected goodies the development tools team surprises us with year after year.
Google Home is the thing I’m most excited about from I/O this year, both as a user and a developer. As a user, there are several exciting rumors about new features and capabilities, and possibly even some new hardware. Some possible announcements include phone call support, a mini version of the Google Home or even a hybrid device that combines a mesh Wi-Fi router with the Google Home hardware. Some of these may be long shots, but they are exciting possibilities! I also expect some announcements regarding support for additional 3rd party hardware or services and possibly tighter integration with Google’s ecosystem. Allowing users to set calendar events and reminders would be a nice addition. As a developer, I’m excited to learn more about the Actions API and how we can incorporate Conversation Actions into projects for our clients here at Bottle Rocket.
I would love to hear Google endorse Kotlin as an officially supported language to develop Android apps in. When Apple moved away from Objective-C and brought in Swift as the official replacement, I would have to say that I was a little jealous. Kotlin offers a lot of nice things such as null safety, extension functions, data classes, properties, and more. Any official mention of Kotlin that is more than, "You can use whatever language you choose," would be music to my ears. This is probably a long shot but is an exciting possibility!
This little streaming device has made a huge impact in the past few years, and I’m excited to see where they take it. Last year they announced Google Home and some minor integration with Play Music and YouTube, but the possibilities are huge! I would love to see more integration with Home Automation technologies like Nest, Ring, or any of the other IoT devices that are becoming more common. They added multi-room casting for audio, but I’d love to see them allow you to add video Chromecasts to the group as well, so I could have my whole house filled with synced audio!
I’d be excited to hear anything at all about Android Wear 2.0, even just fulfilling the promises of Google I/O 2016. Unfortunately, the big problems with Wear 2.0 right now are stability and adoption, problems which Google has a difficult time addressing. It would be nice if Google would highlight a lower-end device as one that works well with Wear 2.0 to help drive more adoption, in turn justifying more development for these devices. I’d also love to see them do more exciting things that involve coordinating Wear devices with Google Home.