From KitKat to Lollipop and Marshmallow to Nougat each version of Android changes the behaviour of how your applications work. Documentation of these changes is readily available for consumers but for app developers, detailed information on the implications of each version is less prevalent.
Regardless of the changes or updates introduced by Android, developers need to design their apps to continue to work in the same way with unaffected functionality for users. Here’s a brief taster for developers around Android Oreo – now in our device portfolio – and new upcoming features to Android Pie.
Android 8.0 or Android Oreo (API level 26 and 27) includes a variety of system and API behaviour changes. Most of these changes affect all apps, regardless of what version of Android they target. For example:
- To improve battery life, several background restrictions have been introduced in Oreo that curtail what an application can do in the background, for example, its ability to hold wake locks or start services.
- Within Android 8.0 (API level 26 and 27), the location APIs have received several changes meaning applications monitoring a device’s location will need to be updated.
- Notifications have received a change to how they operate and administrators will need to ensure they prevent users from continually ‘snoozing’ the notifications.
Android 9 or Android Pie also has a key focus on improving device power management, helping to ensure that system resources are made available to the apps that need them the most. Additional changes include:
- Android 9 limiting background apps' access to device sensors, restricting information retrieved from Wi-Fi scans, and featuring new permission rules and permission groups related to phone calls, phone state, and Wi-Fi scans.
- The introduction of Application Standby Buckets which can further influence and restrict how your application behaves when it is in the background.
- Android Enterprise introducing enhancements to how the lock screen can be configured meaning that many customers can do away with customized launchers. Also, the new Ephemeral users feature may provide a solution for many deployments where end users share devices.
With any changes in Android, you’ll need to ensure that your app runs as expected. To do this, we suggest you complete the following steps:
- Review your app's logic and ensure you are following the recommended steps to accommodate new Android restrictions.
- Test that your app exhibits the behaviour you expect on both Oreo and Pie.
- Consider using the Fused Location Provider (FLP)or geofencing to handle the use cases that depend on the user's current location.
If you are a developer interested in the latest Android updates, you can find out all about the behaviour changes on Android Oreo and Pie in detail at Europe APPFORUM in Warsaw from 4-6thJune 2019. Our in-house expert Darryn Campbell, Enterprise Software Architect at Zebra Technologies, will be presenting ‘The Latest Android Oreo & Pie Features for your Enterprise App’.
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