Android Adding Animated App Ads

Share if the site was helpful

Android Adding Animated App Ads

Whether you like them or not, ads are here to stay.  They’re the reason so many apps are free to us as consumers, and without them we’d have to pay a few more valuable dollars out of pocket.  That being said, the less of a nuisance an ad is the better.  Google is exploring how to make ads more interesting, and the results are pretty meta.

Google’s New Strategy:

Google is testing out two new forms of advertisements, and while they’re in beta testing right now, it’s just a matter of time before they’re rolled out to everyone.  The first of these are video ads in the Play Store’s search results.  These videos won’t autoplay, but upon searching for a game users will have to option to watch trailers for related games.  Not too complicated of an idea, but certainly more interesting than just seeing 4 screenshots of what gameplay entails.

Now the really interesting change that Google is exploring is how to interrupt user’s experiences with ads without them realizing they’ve been interrupted.  The solution?  Games within games.  Usually when you complete a level or die in an app game you’re confronted with a short video of the newest game on the Play Store.  If you’re anything like me you count down the seconds until you can click to skip and get back to what you were doing before.  Google plans to make this experience less of a hassle by creating playable ads.  So when your game/app is interrupted by an ad, that ad will actually be a mini game that can be played.

The hope behind this is to get users more involved and increase the click rate on advertisements, all the while exposing players to games of similar styles and genres.  According to Google, video ads are used in almost half of the 1,000 top-earning apps.  A big change like this is certain to get some exposure.

Impending Impact:

It’s possible that these ads have an adverse effect and cause games to become more burdened with advertisements, but I for one have a bright outlook on this new implementation.  If this change is done in a tactful way that replaces current ads rather than adding on to them, things should be fine.

And from a developer’s standpoint, this change should be welcome.  I think It’s important to emphasize that an app only has to have as many ads as its creators choose it to.  Developers can learn how to easily integrate AdMob into their apps, and then decide how apparent they want ads to be in their app.  There’s a fine line to walk between scaring away users with too many ads and bringing in revenues, so regardless of any changes that come a free market should balance this trade off out.

How do you feel about Google mixing things up in its advertising department?  Let us know in the comments below.

Android Go For Gold

Share if the site was helpful

Android Go For Gold

Smart phones are naturally the next step in evolution from the flip phones everyone used not too long ago.  That being said, smart phones are expensive.  At least they are right now.

Android Go’s release

If you’re trying to buy one of the newer models you need a decent amount of cash in your wallet.   This trend likely won’t change in the near future as long as consumers are willing to pay top dollar for the high end models, but Google is taking steps to enter lower cost markets.  In a shift of focus from quality to quantity, Android Go is Google’s new initiative to expand its reach into other parts of the world and sell budget smart phones.  Some of these aim to be less than $100.

For a few years Google has been saying that its next billion users will come from countries like India.  And after Google’s Android One initiative failed to corner the budget market, Android Go is Google’s chance to learn from their mistakes and try again.  Android Go aims to provide a variety of smartphone options to users that have limited RAM but updated software.

Android Go specs:

It seems that despite the move towards quantity, quality won’t suffer too much.  Low tier smartphones already exist in the double-digit price range, but Android Go’s goal is to create a fast and smooth performance for users while utilizing the most recent Android software.  The key difference between Android Go devices and other cheap Android smartphones is that Go’s software is guaranteed to be up to date and optimized.  A huge selling point when you consider how most cheap smartphones are running on outdated API levels.

The first batch of Android Go phones such as the ZTE Tempo run on Android Oreo and focuses heavily on security and software updates.  With these in the forefront, less attention is given to low powered processors and roughly 1GB of RAM.

What does this mean for developers?

As with anything new in the tech industry, more than just consumers are impacted.  If you’re an Android developer and you have faith in Android Go’s initiative, then you had better start targeting Oreo or above.  Right now roughly 1% of the world is using Oreo so it’s not the end of the world if your apps are focused on lower level API’s, but in the next year or two this is going to change dramatically.

Of course if you’ve been paying attention to Play Store trends then this is not news.  Starting in August of 2018 all new apps for the store will have to be built with Android 8.0 Oreo or higher as the target API.  In other words, Android Go isn’t the determining factor for Oreo’s importance.

Times are changing and in order to keep up you need to make sure you know all the latest features.  PhonLab offers lessons on how to target different API levels and account for Oreo devices in your apps without leaving older users behind. You can learn all about this in Phonlabs Android app developer course.

Only time will tell how successful Google’s new movement will be, but it’s only a matter of time before everyone owns a smartphone.  There’s still a lot of market to capture in the world.  If you have any thoughts on Android Go’s potential or what it’s missing let us know in the comments below.

Android P In Action

Share if the site was helpful

Android P In Action

Last month we wrote about Android P and how it’s become the talk of the town despite Oreo’s youth.  We’re still some ways off from P (currently known as Pistachio) making its way into the hands of everyday consumers, but earlier this week Google released their first preview of P to developers.  Here’s a quick highlight of some of the cool features it has to offer. Spoiler: some of them are pretty cool.

Android P Highlights:

Wifi RTT – The new API for Wi-Fi Round Trip Time lets you take advantage of indoor positioning in your apps.  RTT measures the distance to nearby Wifi access points that support RTT.  By doing this with 3 access points RTT calculates a triangulated position accurate within about a meter.  There are ton’s of creative opportunities here, and don’t worry about privacy.  Only the user’s phone is able to determine the distance, so no one else will know who you are in a crowded room.

Notifications – In Android 7.0 users gained the capability to reply to messages directly from notifications. Then in 8.0 notification channels were introduced to give users more control over what types of notifications they want to receive from an app.  P takes these features one step further.  Now in the notification bar you can see image messages, and utilize the auto-replies available in your messaging app.  So forget ever using your messaging app, everything can be done from your home screen now.

Animations – The new class AnimatedImageDrawable allows for simple drawing and displaying of GIFs and WebP animated images.  This class lets apps show animated images without having to manage updates or burden the UI thread.

Display Cutout Support – While this feature isn’t going to be in the hands of users, developers are able to modify their phone’s looks in settings under Device theme.  This allows developers to emulate different kinds of screen displays such as including the notch that’s been growing in popularity. Thanks a lot Apple BOOOOOOO.

How to get Android P:

Right now we may as well say P is for Pixel.  The current release is only available on pixel and pixel2 devices (or an Android emulator running one of these).  And once again, this initial release is for developers only not commercial use.  As such Google has made it only available by manual download in Flash.  Click here to download the Android P beta and see what changes it has in store. If you want to install it on your pixel device then check out this video of installing a developer preview on a Nexus 6p as the process will be the same.

You can read more about each of these features and more at  There are also some brilliant Easter eggs such as allowing users to rotate their phone to landscape mode even when they have auto-rotate turned off, and improving features for one-handed use.  After you download the Preview let us know what you think the biggest changes are and what still needs to be done.

Comment below on what you think the official name of Android P will be.


AI In The Bedroom: Smart Home Forecasts

Share if the site was helpful

AI In The Bedroom

Some of you may remember the old Disney movie “Smart House” about a futuristic house designed to take care of a family and all of its needs.  Yes, the house went rogue and locked the family in, but before that turn of events it took care of all the cooking, cleaning, and household management.  We’re not too far off from this becoming the reality for every home.

It’s no secret that strides have been made in home technology over the past few years.  Companies like Google and Amazon have built their own “personalities” to be placed on the counter and listen for commands.  Rather than take the time to list the achievements that have been made already, this post will look towards the future of the smart home.

The Heated Battle:

A few days ago the Senior Manager of Amazon’s Alexa AI jumped ship to work for Google.  This is hardly indicative that there’s been a shift in the power dynamic.  All the same the move generated a lot of discussion about what the future holds for both companies in their smart home ventures.  Couple this with the fact that Amazon recently decided to stop selling Nest (owned by Google) products on its website, and the tension only builds. Nest products can connect to Google Home, and both companies are fighting for a winner take all outcome.

With the race on for who dominates the American household, we’re sure to see some out of the box ideas come into play.  But in terms of innovation this competition is only going to benefit consumers.  As long as each of these companies has the other posing a market share threat, actions will be taken to partner with as many 3rd party businesses (products) as possible.  This means two things: 1. Businesses that can come up with unique home appliances are going to thrive, and 2. The smart home is only going to get smarter.

Smart Apartments as the norm? 

The end goal is a seamless flow of assistance.  Whether it’s making your breakfast when your alarm goes off or turning your lights off and playing white noise until you fall asleep, smart homes will find their way into every possible part of daily life.  Plans are currently underway in major cities like Chicago to build “Smart Apartments” that already have wiring and lights installed to be compatible with Alexa and Google Home.

And there’s really no foreseeable limit to what can and can’t be improved by tapping into a smart home.  I think in the next few years “smart home compatible” is going to become a buzzword of sorts for all kinds of 3rd party appliances.   The bottom line is that innovation is happening right now, and there’s plenty more to come.  I look forward to seeing how Google and Amazon both find ways to improve our everyday lives with the upcoming tech.

What do you think lies on the horizon for the smart home?  Let us know in the comments below!

Augemented Reality is at the ARCore of Android’s future

Share if the site was helpful

ARCore is out!

In the summer of 2016 PokemonGo opened up pandora’s box for augmented reality (AR).  The app was an instant hit around the world.  While it’s user base has certainly declined since then, nearly two years later it still has a constant demand.  Unfortunately, Pokemon are not the topic of this article (I could write some pretty good ones!). Instead we’ll focus on another stride in AR that took place earlier this week; Google’s release of ARCore.

On February 23rd Google officially released v1.0 of ARCore available on over 100 million Android devices.  Individual developers can now design and publish their AR-based apps on the Play Store, and this only means that AR is going to become even more prevalent in our everyday lives. Speaking of Developer, if you are interested in becoming a developer you should check out my new Android developer course on

Compatible Phones:

While the list of phones is limited at the moment, you can experience this new wave of AR if you have one of the following phones:

  • Pixel/XL
  • Pixel 2/XL
  • Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus
  • Note 8
  • Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
  • LG V30/30+
  • Asus Zenfone AR
  • OnePlus 5 /5T

ARCore is certainly not the first AR software to get into the hands of developers (Apple’s ARKit and Unity’s Vuforia), but it still marks a significant step towards AR becoming the norm on every device.  Google has said they are partnering with many manufacturers this year to enable AR in upcoming devices.  The bottom line: AR is here to stay.

AR’s Implications

As a developer myself AR is a beautiful thing because it empowers us to create more immersive experiences that can connect with other people.  You’ll often hear gamer’s say that gaming is an art form that encompasses many others.  Video games are an interactive visual and audio experience that can invoke feelings just like any other art if the story is told correctly.  AR only creates more opportunities for this to happen, so it’s not surprising that most of the successful AR apps right now are video games.

But of course AR has much more use than just as a gaming feature.  Industry giants like Amazon have already began releasing their personal touches.  Amazon has utilized ARKit for a few months on iOS, and ARCore is now available on Android phones so that users can visualize what products will look like in their homes before ever purchasing.  Google also partnered with Snap to create a virtual tour of Barcelona’s famous Camp Nou soccer stadium.  I think it’s safe to say every tech giant in the world is thinking about either how they can incorporate AR, or what impact it’s going to have on their future.  Even outside of tech a lot of other industries are gearing up for change as well.

With so many new reality technologies emerging, its an exciting time to be either a developer or a user.  And with all this buzz about AR, let’s not forget that the end of the spectrum exists with products like the Vive containing fully immersive VR worlds.  These differ from AR in that 100% of your surroundings are computer generated, not just a portion.  There’s certainly a spectrum of how immersive AR can be.  If we put reality on one end and VR on the other, AR is everything that falls in between.

What do you think the future holds for the immersive computing spectrum?  Let us know in the comments below.

Android P Privacy, Personality, and Pistachios

Share if the site was helpful

Android P

It seems like just yesterday Android Oreo began rolling out to devices, and even now only 1% of android phones are running it.  Yet despite Oreo’s youth, the newest release rumors have already begun spreading about what’s up next.   Internally known as “Android Pistachio Ice Cream”, Android P is close on the horizon.

A little leaked info by Bloomberg has provided some insight to Android’s next release, and the changes are both expected, and somewhat out of left field.  Software features such as Google Assistant are being ramped up to become a more integral part of the interface. On the less predictable end it seems Android P will be revolving heavily around a new “notch” similar to that in the iPhone X.  This seems to be a marketing strategy aimed at converting iPhone users to team Android, but without knowing more about notch details it’s hard to say how impactful this design change will be.

Google Assistant

On a much more interesting note for developers and practical users, Google Assistant appears to be one of the primary focuses of growth.  This emphasis will likely open all sorts of new possibilities as Android finds ways to not only build out Assistant as a standalone, but to incorporate it into other apps!

Assistant already has high quality performance for asking questions and managing smart-home devices, but incorporating it into 3rd party apps opens a whole new door for creativity.  By opening Assistant up to third-party developers (like Amazon has with Alexa), we could see some groundbreaking apps come into being with voice commands.  Obviously fun from a development standpoint, and users would be empowered to do a whole lot more than just google something or ask to hear a joke.


Another welcome feature being added on is privacy.  As it currently stands, when an app is granted camera/microphone recording permission by the user it can turn these on as it pleases.  Not ideal.  Recent code submissions show that Android P plans to be work through this issue by blocking background apps from accessing a device’s microphone or camera.  Whether or not you’re the type to sticky note your camera, this is most definitely a win for privacy.

Android P (any love for popsicle?) will make its debut in 3 months at Google’s annual I/O developer conference, and even then it will be a long way off from gaining a large market share of devices, but stay tuned and we’ll be sure to dive deeper into what it has to offer for both developers and users.

What are your thoughts about the new features coming to Android P?  Please comment below.