At the Android Developer Summit, Google announced a lot of interesting things like pushing Generic System Image (GSI) to the general public, hinting at the availability of Android Q for all developers earlier than usual, without the need for emulators or specific hardware. This means that developers may be able to test out Android Q even before the source code is made available on AOSP. Few features dedicated to the arrival of foldable phones were also announced. This includes multi-resume, screen continuity, and multi-display features. The multi-resume feature in particular is expected to arrive with Android Q next year itself.
Google unveiled Project Treble last year in a bid to reduce the delay of updates by OEM partners to Android smartphones. Apart from combating the fragmentation problem, Treble also brings Generic System Image (GSI), which essentially is pure, unmodified build of Android from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), devoid of any device maker or carrier customisations. At the dev summit, Google pushed GSI further and detailed its impact. Hung-ying Tyan from Google’s Project Treble said, that the team has plans to make GSIs more useful for the general public-developers and consumers alike, reports XDA Developers.
“GSI is the central piece in Treble compliance. We feel that it has a lot more potential than that. We set out a goal to make GSI be more accessible and useful, not just for device makers but also the general public including app developers like you and even consumers. An important first step toward that goal is to make GSI available in AOSP. So for this, we have published pie-gsi in AOSP. So now you can download and build pie-gsi today. We are also exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI. And at the same time we can also get early feedback from you, so the benefit is mutual. So please stay tuned for our further announcement on this,” Tyan said in a statement. This means early testing of Android Q may be possible next year, benefiting modders and app developers alike, without using an emulator or getting new hardware, as is the case currently.
Furthermore, at the dev summit, Google also announced a new feature called multi-resume that will allow multiple apps to run simultaneously on one screen. Earlier, multiple apps were allowed to open, but while using one app, the other got paused automatically. This feature is becoming mandatory with Android Q, and it essentially will allow developers to keep all apps resumed/active when in multi-window. On its blog, Google notes that it looks to make multi-resume support the mandatory behaviour in the next version of Android. To test this feature on Android Pie running devices, OEMs will have to first roll out support, and then app developers will have to opt-in using a manifest tag. At the summit, Google also introduced other features targeted to foldable screens, and this includes screen continuity which allows smoother transition from one screen to another.