Android Studio 3.6 is out: Time-saving Google Maps UI and dual-screen support

Google has released Android Studio 3.6 with better support for location and dual-screen requirements.

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Google has released Android Studio 3.6, the newest major release of its integrated development environment (IDE) for developers to build Android apps. 

Android Studio supports both Java and the popular programming language Kotlin, which the IDE helps developers convert Java code into. Kotlin these days is Google's preferred language for Android app development. 

This release of Android Studio focuses on improving the quality of code editing and debugging, which includes a small set of new features, polished existing features, and performance improvements, according to Google. 

One highlight is that Google Maps is now embedded into the Android Emulator extended control panel, which can be viewed in either a 'Single points' tab or a 'Routes' tab. 

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The integration improves support for emulating GPS coordinates and route information and allows routes to be replayed on the fly as locations along a route are sent to the guest OS.   

The Single points tab allows developers to use Google Maps webview to search for points of interest, just like using Maps on a phone. For example, developers can search for and save locations. Similarly, developers can use the feature to create a route between two or more locations. 

The feature should save developers the effort and time previously spent on manually typing in GPS coordinates when testing location features in an app.   

Android Studio 3.6 also allows developers to attach pure-Kotlin external APK (application package) sources.      

There's new Emulator support for dual-screen devices like Samsung's Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Flip Z, the new Moto Razr, and soon Microsoft's Surface Duo.

"Emulator 29.1.10 includes preliminary support for multiple virtual displays. As more devices are available that have multiple displays, it is important to test your app on a variety of multi-display configurations," Scott Swarthout, a Google product manager notes on the Android developer blog.

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Google has also cooked up some design changes with a new split view so Android devs can see the Designs and Code view simultaneously while coding. Split view replaces the previous preview windows. 

Split view can also be configured on a per-file basis. There's a new icon in the top right of the editor window to enable split view. The split-view feature has been designed to allow developers to preview a design while editing text.   

There's also a new color picker and a view-binding feature to help developers write code that interacts with views, which should help iron out layout and code incompatibilities at compile time rather than at run time. 

Android Studio, which is built on JetBrains' IntelliJ IDE, also includes version 2019.2 platform updates.  

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Google Maps is now embedded into the Android Emulator extended control panel. 

Image: Google
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Google's Android Studio 3.6 introduces a new split view so devs can see the Designs and Code view simultaneously while coding.  

Image: Google