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Xamarin.Android 9.0 (P) Preview Now Available

Microsoft's Xamarin team announced the availability of Xamarin.Android 9.0 (P) Preview, letting Visual Studio developers target the next big update to Google's Android mobile OS.

Google's Android P Developer Preview includes many changes, such as:

  • MessagingStyle and other notification updates
  • ImageDecoder for bitmaps and drawables
  • Data cost sensitivity in JobScheduler
  • Display cutout APIs
  • Multi-camera APIs

In a July 27 blog post, the Xamarin team announced Xamarin.Android support for Android 9.0 (P) in its latest preview release of Xamarin.Android for both Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio for Mac to help Xamarin developers try out those new features. The post details how to set up a system to get started with the preview.

A separate documentation post said some of the new features were intended to leverage new hardware capabilities enabled in newer Android devices, while others aimed to enhance the Android user experience.

Specifically, the team highlighted the following:

  • Display Cutout Support -- Provides APIs to find the location and shape of the cutout at the top of the screen on newer Android devices.
  • Notification Enhancements -- Notification messages can now display images, and a new Person class is used to simplify conversation participants.
  • Indoor Positioning -- Platform support for the WiFi Round-Trip-Time protocol, which makes it possible for apps to use WiFi devices for navigation in indoor settings.
  • Multi-Camera Support -- Offers the capability to access streams simultaneously from multiple physical cameras (such as dual-front and dual-back cameras).

The post also detailed some behavior changes when targeting the new OS, API Level 28, even if developers aren't implementing the new functionality. These behavior changes include:

  • Apps must now request foreground permission before using foreground services.
  • If your app has more than one process, it cannot share a single WebView data directory across processes.
  • Directly accessing another app's data directory by path is no longer allowed.

To provide a head-start for developers wanting to put the new features through their paces, the Xamarin team provided an AndroidPMiniDemo sample app that provides the code needed to set display cutout modes, use the new Person class, and send a notification that includes an image.

The new Android 9.0 (P) support in Xamarin.Android 9.0 and above is available in the Visual Studio Preview channel and Visual Studio for Mac Beta channel.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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