A Time Travelers at I/O

by Zi Wang

Fellow Time Travelers,

Last week marked the conclusion of Google I/O 2019 developer conference in Mountain View, CA, and it also marks my first time attending I/O as an ex-Googler. It has been 11 years since the inaugural I/O in 2008, true to the engineering ethos of input/output, our team learned a lot of new and helpful things from Googlers and other attendees. Select event photos are on page 2.

Through past work experience on Chrome and Android, I acknowledge many of the Google technologies announced will take 12 - 18 months before mainstream adoption. Further, we recognize that not all features will make into final production. Consequently, the goal of this document is a top-down product planning — centered on core Google technology, and I will reach out to many ex-colleagues to drive for new partnership opportunities and development support.

As 1 of the 7,000 global developers invited, I want to learn and apply many of the new technologies across Google’s product portfolio. Among the highlights that are strategically important to Timeless: Android Q, Flutter, ML-Kit, Privacy and Security.


2.5 BILLION DEVICES

The 10th version of Android is coming, and the Android OS accounts for ~87% of the global market share. Page 4 content prioritization follows the order of Design, Development, Distribution.


Dark Theme

Android Q features a system-wide dark theme, and user can trigger it manually or it’ll turn on automatically in battery saver mode. The benefits of the dark theme are making the user interface friendlier in low-light environments and take advantage of the OLED displays to save battery. Timeless V1 will have a user triggered and time-based dark theme, our goal is to apply the Material Design Dark Theme. Google Contact — Javier Lopez and Rich Fulcher, Material Design Leads

Gestures

Android Q has a new gesture-based navigation system that gets rid of the back button, so users can now swipe from the left or right edge to go back. Timeless V1 side-swipe navigation on Home Screens (-1, 0, +1 ) needs to avoid conflicts with Android Q system navigation UX.

Digital Wellbeing

As an extension of the existing Digital Wellbeing, Android Focus Mode lets users select a list of apps they find distracting. Once the user selects any number of apps, Focus Mode then grays them out and hides their notifications. We need to ensure the AndroidManifest.xml is configured to support calendar notification. As a Timeless V2 feature, the HUD on the Home Screens will enable intuitive access to Digital Wellbeing features, follow reference applications.

System-wide Smart Reply

Google debuted an on-device NLP model that suggests text responses based on the last 10 exchanged messages. In Android Q, this feature is coming to non-Google messaging apps, such as Signal. Timeless V2 notifications will explore features to integrate fast and contextually relevant smart reply - such as “My ETA is 8 mins” and smart suggestions such as opening up contextually relevant apps. For the Timeless design team, we should follow the Human-centered AI Design guide by Google.

Google Play

App ratings are a vital metric that Android users rely on day in and day out to inform their downloading decisions. Starting in August 2019, app ratings will be weighted to reflect the most current version of the app. Developers can see the new rating via the Google Play Console. Timeless V1 launch OKR is to get a 4.7-star rating, as a team we need to work define a realistic strategy to achieve this goal.

Google Play Award is in its fourth year, and the award recognizes some of the best experiences available on Android, with an emphasis on overall quality, strong design, technical performance, and innovation. The nominees were selected by various teams across Google, and meet criteria thresholds covering high star rating, Android vitals, and have had a launch or major update in the last year. Timeless V1 launch, our goal is to win the next Google Play Award. Google Contact — Purnima Kochikar, Director, Apps and Games

ONE CODE BASE

From React Native to Flutter

Flutter framework is important to unify development across mobile, web, desktop, and IoT. Page 6 is our plan to adopt Flutter to improve development Speed, native Performance and UI Flexibility.

Flutter Announcement

During this year’s I/O, Google released the first technical preview of Flutter.io/ 1.5. Key updates include new App Store iOS SDK, updates to the iOS and Material widgets, engine support for new device types, and Dart 2.3 featuring new UI-as-code language features. In addition to improving the framework itself, Google is also investing in the supporting ecosystem and package community. In the past few months, Google has contributed production-quality packages for web views, Google Maps, and Firebase ML Vision.

Flutter are being used by Square, eBay, Sonos, Capital One, Alibaba and Tencent and examples are featured at flutter.dev/showcase.

Beyond Timeless V1

Timeless MVP and V1 application development is fully React Native for iOS and Android. In 2018, Google invited our team to join the Flutter Create competition, we ultimately decided to use the more established React Native framework to speed up development. As we proceed beyond V1 launch, we will work on development migration plan in Q3, so we can seamlessly swap-in Flutter components in Q4 and beyond.

The following are the top winners among the 750 entries with links to Github:

1st place: Compass — a fully functioning compass that enables users to rotate a globe and get real-time weather data.

2nd place: Piano — a music app with great code quality and a detailed tutorial on their website.

3rd place: Relax — a beautiful audio meditation app that displays imagery of rain, forest, sunset, and ocean with corresponding sounds.

4th place: Timeflow — a timer that displays a sphere that shatters into pieces and reassembles, the UI is a gentle approach to a timer that reduce stress caused by a numeric timer.

5th place Event QR — an event calendars with the use of JSON to encode event QR codes so that attendees can quickly see what is happening at their event.

As we prepare for Timeless V2 development, our team should take advantage of the discounted App Brewery‘s training course for Flutter $199 to $10. The course features over 30 hours of content for Flutter, including videos, demos, and labs. 在国内使用 Flutter 开发 — https://flutter-io.cn/