Google adds support for foldable screens; finally starts testing in-app Updates API

Google Foldable

At the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, Google has announced support for a foldable smartphone as Android manufacturers are gearing up to launch this new flexible display technology as early as 2019. There are two variants; two-screen devices and one-screen devices.

When folded, foldable smartphones resemble a phone that fits in your pockets and when unfolded, it becomes a tablet which it calls screen continuity. As you unfold, the app seamlessly transfers to the bigger screen without missing a beat. Google is optimizing Android for this new form factor.

On another note, JetBrains released the latest version of Kotlin, 1.3, which brings new language features, APIs, bug fixes, and performance improvements including Inline classes which allow you to create a type which doesn’t allocate unless boxed. Unsigned numbers, Multiplatform code is previously written for Android or the JVM can now also target Javascript or native. This unlocks the possibility of reusing parts of your codebase on even more platforms. Coroutines support is now stable.

All of these new features of Kotlin 1.3 will be integrated into the Kotlin-specific APIs a majority of which is through KTX extensions as part of Jetpack. At I/O this year Google introduced Slices, a new way to bring users to your app. Slices are like a mini snippet of your app, where you can surface content and actions. You can book a flight, play a video, or call a ride. Google announced that it is moving into public EAP this month with Doist, Kayak, and others. The company will experiment with surfacing Slices in Google search results.

Finally, Google is launching an In-app Updates API. Google is testing the API with early access partners and will be launching it to all developers soon. You’ll have two options with this API; the first is a full-screen experience for critical updates when you expect the user to wait for the update to be applied immediately. The second option is a flexible update, which means the user can keep using the app while the update is downloaded. You can completely customize the update flow so it feels like part of the app.