Android app devs have been expecting this announcement from Google for a while now and it looks like the Android Studio development environment is finally coming at them in beta. The release of the beta version of Google’s Android Studio was announced on Thursday, during the proceedings of the Google I/O conference on development. The same event saw the release of a preview version for Android L, as well as of the associated software development kit.
Android Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (or IDE) based on the IntelliJ platform. It was announced to enthusiastic responses during the Google I/O event in 2013, but last year’s announcement was not accompanied by any definite deadlines for release. However, the release of the beta version definitely comes as encouraging news in this sense. Google’s goals with this IDE is to make app development far easier for devs. At the moment, application developers are working with the often cumbersome and clunky Eclipse IDE. A recent Android Developers blog post hinted that the company is “making great progress toward a full release,” yet also made no mention of the date.
Developers are also optimistic about the release date. Earlier this week, the head of Android app development at prestigious consultancy company Shortcut Marius Mårnes Mathiesen came out to say that he was surprised the beta version contained so “few obvious bugs and shortcomings”. In Mathiesen’s view, it shouldn’t take too long for Google to publish the final full version of the IDE in question.
In terms of advantages that Android Studio promises to developers, the environment notably allows for multiple application package files (APKs) to be created for several types of devices. Also included in the beta version – an application wizard, as well as a layout editor geared at Android Wear and Android TV. These two platforms, which have been recently launched, are hurting for new applications and Android Studio will be there to help them generate such apps.
Android Wear is an extension of the popular operating system, tailored to the specifications of smaller screens. For the time being, only two products are available for this platform: Samsung’s Gear Live and the G Watch from LG. Their shipment has been scheduled for early July. Meanwhile, Android TV aims to allow developers to create native apps and games for TV-top boxes, TVs, and consoles. Android TV also comes with a cast feature, which allows apps developed specifically for tablets and smartphones to send content to the platform. The Chromecast USB stick, for instance, makes use of this feature.