Android users now face forced app updates, thanks to Google's new dev tools

Google is giving developers tools to push users into updating their apps.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google is giving Android developers a new application programming interface (API) that lets them force users into updating to the latest version of their app.

Google revealed at its Android Dev Summit this week that developers will be able to use the new In-app Updates API to create an immediate or flexible in-app update process, which either forces or nudges a user to update an app.

Developers can choose which approach is more suitable, depending on how urgent it is that users should update.

For example, developers could use the immediate process for critical security updates. After the user opens an app, a full-screen prompt to update is launched that prevents users from using the app until it has been updated.

The flexible update allows the user to continue using the app while the update is downloaded.

The API should help developers address serious issues if they've rolled out an app with a major bug. However, it also offers developers a way to bump users up to the latest version of an app if they've built a bunch of new features and want all users to have access to them.

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Google also provided some updates to Kotlin, which according to GitHub, is the fastest-growing language in terms of contributors.

This month over 118,000 new projects using Kotlin started in Android Studio, marking a 10-fold increase on last year, according to Google.

Google yesterday also revealed how Android would support different types of 'foldables'. It will support two broad classes: foldable devices like Samsung's Infinity Flex device, which has one screen when folded, and devices like the new FlexPai, which has two-screens when folded.

Android will offer developers "screen continuity" so that when users start a video on the small screen, it seamlessly transfers to the larger screen as it's unfolded.

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