Mobile app developers targeting the Android platform need to keep their finger on the pulse of Alphabet’s Google Play store. After all, the online virtual store essentially serves as the gatekeeper between Android developers and the growing market of smartphone owners. Notably, Google Play Services powers many of the critical features users want from the Android operating system. Keeping abreast of these latest updates remains essential in ensuring your project team’s app attracts as high of a userbase as possible.
One of the most critical aspects of mobile app development involves keeping track of the changes in everything from the OS version to the vagaries of the mobile app market. This situation makes it critical to leverage a modern software development methodology, like Lean Startup, to ensure your team is able to react quickly to any updates in Google Play or the Android OS itself. Of course, a similar rule also applies when crafting mobile apps for the iOS platform.
So let’s look more closely at the latest Google Play System Updates for Android app developers. Take heed of this information to see if your team needs to make updates to apps currently in development or already available on the preeminent Android app store. Reacting to these updates ahead of time ultimately helps your company earn trust from the Android community.
The June update to Google Play Services adds additional support for Thread and Matter devices. Let’s take a look at both. Thread provides hope to finally make smart homes and the Internet of Things a meaningful consumer technology. Developed by a consortium of technology companies, including Google/Nest, Cisco, and ARM, Thread offers a low-powered and secure network protocol for network devices, including those used for the IoT.
Matter is a smart home and building connectivity standard also supported by most of the top technology giants, like Amazon, Apple, and Google. The ultimate goal of this standard makes it easier for IoT device makers to manufacture products supporting different mobile ecosystems and voice-activated assistants, like Siri and Alexa. Both advancements hope to result in a more vibrant and successful consumer IoT market.
Google adding support for Thread/Matter improves networking functionality for consumers using Android smartphones and tablets. Notably, the company’s support for Thread provides a higher level of security. This specific Google Play Services update supports the storing of extra details, including network credentials and other metadata, about Thread devices detected on the user’s network.
Alphabet expects both Thread and Matter to be critical pieces of their Google Home IoT product. As such, Android mobile app developers need to learn about both if they hope to build apps for the smart home in the near future. Additionally, iOS developers also need to learn more about these emerging smart home concepts. Notably, Apple HomeKit supports both Thread and Matter.
As supposed to their updates being embedded in the Android OS, Google Play Services updates within an operating system version are explicitly updated by the user. Access this feature within the Settings app, and then selecting About phone, followed by Android version, and then Google Play System update.
Google also uses Play Services to add support for newer functionality to older smartphones. These new updates typically include features the Android user community wants. That fact makes it critical for Android developers to pay close attention to what’s included in each monthly update.
The other items included as part of June’s Google Play System update focused on bug fixes for account management functionality across Android versions for Phone, TV, Auto, and Wear OS. Just that latter fact alone reveals the span of Android across a multitude of different device types. So keep the importance of vetting the content of Play Services updates in mind if your digital agency targets Android hardware beyond the smartphone.
The system update also included a host of new features for the Play Store. Again, understanding this new functionality provides valuable insights into the types of features Android users want. A majority of features target enhanced usability of Google Play, include Play-as-you-download for new apps, enhanced app search and discovery, and more reliable downloads and installation. Other items in the update focus on improving billing and security, in addition to the typical bug fixes and performance enhancements.
In the end, the biggest takeaway for this Google Play System update relates to Thread and Matter, a network protocol and standard of interest to any mobile app developer building software for the IoT. Once again, keep an eye on future updates to stay informed on the constantly evolving Android platform – on smartphones and more!
If your mobile app development also focuses on iOS, check out our takeaways from Apple WWDC 2022.