Test Firefox Android extensions and help developers prepare for an open mobile ecosystem in December

In August we encouraged developers to start preparing their desktop extensions for Firefox Android open availability on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). The project is progressing well and we’re on track to launch the open mobile ecosystem on AMO in December. We have more infrastructure development and testing to complete in the coming weeks, but as we move toward release we’ll keep you informed of the project’s status right here on this blog, add-ons forums, and social channels.

To help our developer community prepare for Firefox Android open extension availability on AMO — and to ensure Firefox Android users have an exciting selection of extensions to choose from — we’ve compiled a list of popular desktop extensions (with mobile API compatibility) we’re inviting the add-ons community to help test on Firefox Android. If you’re intrigued to try some new extensions on your Firefox Android phone and offer feedback, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

How to test Firefox Android extensions (Beta, Nightly)

Test extensions are only currently discoverable on AMO via 119 Beta and 120 Nightly versions of Firefox Android. If you’re not already on Beta or Nightly, please follow these links for installing Firefox Android Beta and Nightly.

Once you’re ready to roll with Firefox Android (Beta/Nightly) on your phone, just follow these simple test steps:

  1. Check out this spreadsheet of test extensions. They were compiled because they possess a combination of Android API compatibility and relative popularity on Firefox desktop.
  2. Find a test extension that interests you and navigate to addons.mozilla.org on your Firefox Android (Beta/Nightly) phone and search for the extension you want to test, then install it.
  3. Follow the testing guide on this feedback form and play around with the extension.
  4. Report your impressions of the experience on the feedback form.

Then feel free

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Google is letting Android app developers integrate Gemini Pro

What you need to know

  • Google is making its newest artificial intelligence model, Gemini Pro, available for integration with Android apps via the Gemini API. 
  • Gemini Pro is also available starting today in the Google AI Studio and Google Vertex AI.  
  • Gemini Pro in Android apps will run off-device in Google’s data centers, and can be integrated in apps easily in the preview of Android Studio. 

Google made the first version of Gemini Pro, its newest artificial intelligence model, available on Wednesday. The company announced the move in a blog post, which explains that the current Gemini Pro version is intended for enterprises and developers and will get better over the next few months. But now, Google is making it possible for Android app developers to integrate Gemini Pro into their own apps. 

Google previously allowed developers to use Gemini Nano, a small AI model, in their apps with on-device processing. The Gemini API now allows app developers to use the Gemini Pro model, which uses off-device processing on cloud servers. The company says that with the Google AI SDK, app developers can add Gemini Pro integration to their existing Android apps without needing to create their own backend infrastructure. 

Gemini Pro can also be used to help create code in the Google AI Studio and Google Vertex AI programs. The former is the simpler option, while the latter is a more advanced program with “customization of Gemini with full data control.” Both are free for now, with up to 60 requests per minute as the initial quota. 

Later, when general availability starts early next year, higher requests per minute will become a paid service. Inputs will be charged at a pay-as-you-go rate of $0.00025 per 1,000 characters or $0.0025 per image, and outputs will cost $0.0005 per 1,000

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Google Play tightens up rules for Android app developers to require testing, increased app review

Google today is announcing strengthened protections for Android developers publishing apps to its Google Play store. The changes are a part of Google’s broader efforts at keeping low-quality and unsafe apps out of its app store and off consumers’ devices, which also recently included the launch of a new real-time app scanning feature to combat malicious apps. Today, the company says it will now require new Android developers with personal accounts to test their app with a minimum of 20 people for at least 2 weeks prior to publication. It additionally plans to increase its investment in the app review processes, warning of potential slowdowns in approvals for a small number of apps as these changes roll out.

According to Google, developers that use its testing tools have, on average, 3 times the amount of app installs and user engagement. That, of course, may not be a factor fully attributable to Google’s tools, but to the developers who would utilize such app testing tools before hitting publish. That is, they’re likely developing higher-quality applications. But now, app testing will no longer be optional for developers with newly created Play Console accounts, says Google.

Without providing an exact timeframe, Google says that new developers with individual accounts (as opposed to new Organization accounts) will be required to test apps with 20 people or more for 2 weeks or longer before publishing to production. The company believes this will help developers identify issues and bugs, and gain user feedback before their app’s launch. It says the requirement will arrive in the Play Console in the “coming days.”

Related to this, Google also plans to invest more heavily in its app review process, which, anecdotally, has long been considered to be less stringent than Apple’s with more reliance on automation over human review.

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Android apps could get better as Google tightens noose around developers

Last updated: November 10th, 2023 at 19:25 UTC+01:00

Android apps have improved a lot over the years, and Google deserves most of the credit for it. The company has maintained the Play Store for well over a decade and constantly brought new rules and regulations to improve the quality and safety of apps. Now, Google wants to improve the quality of Android apps even further through some additional mandated testing.

Google wants app developers to test their apps better to improve their quality

Developers with new Google Play Store accounts will be required to test their apps with at least 20 people for a minimum of two weeks before releasing it to general consumers via the Play Store. This requirement will start rolling out in the next few days. This two-week time will allow developers to gather most of the bigger bugs, gather feedback, and solve them. Google says developers who use its testing tools get three times more installs compared to those who don’t. Those developers also get more engagement on their apps and games.

Android App Testing Google Play Store

Android app developers with existing apps on the Play Store have to meet verification requirements, and developers can choose their own verification deadline. However, if they don’t choose their deadlines by February 29, 2024, a deadline will be chosen for them automatically. Google said some developers might take more time than others for verification, especially those who develop apps for kids or those apps that have specific requirements.

The story will continue after our video that shows One UI 6.0 features and design changes.

Google is also spending more resources on testing new apps so that they provide a good user experience and do not deceive users, especially children. The company will offer badges to apps that are published by governments or for government

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Google plans RISC-V Android tools in 2024, wants developers to “be ready”

Google plans RISC-V Android tools in 2024, wants developers to “be ready”

Google

Android is slowly entering the RISC-V era. So far we’ve seen Google say it wants to give the up-and-coming CPU architecture “tier-1” support in Android, putting RISC-V on equal footing with Arm. Qualcomm has announced the first mass-market RISC-V Android chip, a still-untitled Snapdragon Wear chip for smartwatches. Now Google has announced a timeline for developer tools via the Google Open Source Blog. The last post is titled “Android and RISC-V: What you need to know to be ready.”

Getting the Android OS and app ecosystem to support a new architecture is going to take an incredible amount of work from Google and developers, and these tools are laying the foundation for that work. First up, Google already has the “Cuttlefish” virtual device emulator running, including a gif of it booting up. This isn’t the official “Android Emulator”—which is targeted at app developers doing app development—Cuttlefish is a hardware emulator for Android OS development. It’s the same idea as the Android Emulator but for the bottom half of the tech stack—the kernel, framework, and hardware bits. Cuttlefish lets Google and other Android OS contributors work on a RISC-V Android build without messing with an individual RISC-V device. Google says it’s working well enough now that you can download and emulate a RISC-V device today, though the company warns that nothing is optimized yet.

The next step is getting the Android Emulator (for app developers) up and running, and Google says: “By 2024, the plan is to have emulators available publicly, with a full feature set to test applications for various device form factors!” The nice thing about Android is that most app code is written with no architecture in mind—it’s all just Java/Kotlin. So once the Android RunTime starts spitting out RISC-V code, a lot of

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40 leading Android developers to follow on Twitter

Android continues to lead the world in mobile market share. The open source operating system has a community of developers as vast and diverse as the ecosystem itself, so it wasn’t hard to find dedicated, engaged Android developers sharing helpful news, tutorials, and ideas on Twitter.

This list has a lot of Google developer experts and mobile Java experts who are sure to keep you up to date on skills and tools once you start following them. Here are the 40 Android experts you should follow.

Chiu-Ki Chan

@chiuki

After 6-plus years as a software engineer at Google and more than a year developing at two startups, Chiu-Ki Chan now runs her own mobile development company, Square Island. Chan is a public speaker, a Pluralsight course author, and teaches in Caster.io videos. She is also the co-creator of Android Dialogs and runs the 360|AnDev conference.

Jake Wharton

@JakeWharton

Jake Wharton was there at the beginning of Android, coding for the platform before he even knew that it would dominate the mobile landscape and end Blackberry’s dominance. He’s been an Android engineer at Square for more than four years, and he’s a major contributor to RxJava (reactive extensions for the JVM) and RxAndroid (RxJava bindings for Android). 

Donn Felker

@donnfelker

Donn Felker is a co-host of the Fragmented Podcast and the founder of Caster IO—a bite-sized video lessons site for Android development (like RailsCasts for Android). He’s also  the author of Android Application Development for DummiesAndroid Tablet Application Development for Dummies, and he contributed a chapter to Android Developer Tools.

Kaushik Gopal

@kaushikgopal

Kaushik Gopal is the other co-host of Fragmented Podcast. He currently works as a senior Android engineer at Instacart, and maintains an Android NTP time library, open

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