Google wants each version of Android to be “better than the last”.

Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering, was interviewed during today’s Android Show and shared a lot of interesting tidbits, especially about quality and performance.

In terms of Android versions, Burke considers quality the “number one feature” given how much we use our phones:

If you think about how dependent we are on our devices and how much we use them [in] One day, it’s very important that the device works really, really well. Really, really reliable. Highest performance, highest fidelity.

Internally, the Android team is committed to “ensuring that each release is better than the last with an ever-expanding set of metrics we measure in the lab and in the field.”

We have kept ourselves to it. It’s hard, I can tell you, because you’re only as good as your weakest measure. So you have to chase everything, but it really makes us raise the bar higher and higher.

Burke explained one way the team does it:

Even internally, we’re looking to change some of our developer practices in 2024.[ing] A year off and work[ing] In a release for a long time, we divide it into internal parts to keep the branch green while moving.

From the description we have today, this seems to be just an internal change rather than anything affecting the annual cycle.

In Android 14, Burke highlighted expression (next generation AI wallpapers, lock screen clocks and shortcuts) and performance as big poles. Burke said the team “may not have talked enough” about performance:

We’ve done a lot to reduce the CPU activity of background apps, and the result is now 30% fewer cold starts in Android 14. A cold start is when you literally have to flash pages of code and read them. Commit them before you run them. 30% reduction is very impressive and you as a user feel it.

This involves increasing the number of cached processes, but doing so increases CPU usage and thus drains the battery. Android 14 has a better performance in fixing processes.

Burke also mentioned how things related to the big screen, like the floating taskbar, were originally part of Android 14, but moved to Android 13 (QPR2) as Google tries to be more competitive in the space and support foldables. did

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