Android Studio on Laptop Dell
Adam Sinicki / Android Authority

2020 was a bit of a dud year for many of us, to say the least. Yet, for Android Development it was as busy as ever. If anything, we had more time to stay indoors and code than ever before.

But before we step boldly into a new year, did 2020 go out with a whimper or a bang? As it would happen, Google had one more surprise up its sleeve with the release of Android Studio Arctic Fox on the canary channel. Additionally, there is a whole new versioning scheme and a commitment to yearly updates! Read on to get the full scoop along with the usual news, tutorials, and more.

Happy New Year Android devs!

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News and features from Google

Announcing Android Studio Arctic Fox (2020.3.1) & Android Gradle Plugin – Yes, the big news for December is the release of Android Studio Arctic Fox! This latest version of Android Studio is only available on the canary channel, meaning it is in early beta. However, it provides an interesting glimpse into the near-future of Android development. It’s a fitting start to the new year. What’s more, Android announced it would be moving to a year-based system in-tune with IntelliJ IDEA (the IDE that Android Studio is built on). This will also involve a change to the numbering scheme.

It’s recommended that you read the full post yourself, but the most exciting new features here focus on Jetpack Compose, and wireless ADB.

AGP 7.0: Next major release for the Android Gradle plugin – AGP is also adopting a new versioning scheme. It will see major releases each year shortly following the main Gradle release. Only major version changes will break API compatibility (in theory). AGP 7 changes the minimum Java requirement to Java 11. See the full post for news on the API changes.

Opening the Google Play Store for more car apps – On December 16, Google announced closed testing tracks in the Google Play Store for Android Auto developers. If you have a car application in development, this is a great way to find out if it meets the app quality guidelines.

What’s your MAD score? – Google has been publishing a series of posts discussing “Modern Android Development” (MAD). This MAD scorecard will let you know how well you’re doing and whether your app qualifies as “modern” in Google’s eyes.

Improving urban GPS accuracy for your app – If your app uses GPS and you’ve experienced errors in dense urban environments (such as reporting the wrong side of the street) then this post can help you solve those issues.