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  1. Google launches App Quality to aid developers in building engaging Android apps Empowering developers to build high-quality Android apps is an important part of Google's business. It recently released a new Android development curriculum which gives instructors a plan to follow when teaching students how to write apps for Android devices in Kotlin. Now, it has unveiled the new App Quality section on its dedicated website, which essentially offers a checklist that developers can utilize to build engaging apps. You can view the App Quality website here where the company's plans for 2021 Q1 are outlined. It focuses on privacy, security, functionality, and visual experience offered by apps. More specifically, Google has updated the Core App Quality checklist in its first release. It describes the minimum quality that all apps are required to meet. With regards to visual experience, Google encourages using Material Design components which offer a more modern look. To improve functionality, the company has provided information about video playback experience and support for HEVC compression for encoding. Android Sparesheet has been described as the go-to utility for sharing between apps. Lastly, recommendations have also been offered for background services so battery power can be utilized more efficiently by apps. Other tidbits of information revolve around performance, security, and presentation on Google Play, as can be seen below: Performance & Stability - We have added tooling now available such as Android vitals in the Google Play Console. One important point to highlight here is Application Not Responding (ANR). ANRs are caused by threading issues and are something developers can fixed. The ANR troubleshooting guide can help you diagnose and resolve any ANRs that exist in the app. Privacy & Security - We have summarized our latest recommendations to take into account the latest safeguards from runtime permission to securely using WebView. We have also expanded to include privacy norms that users come to expect from protecting private data to not using any non-resettable hardware Ids. Google Play - In this section, we highlight some of the most important policies for developers and link you to more information on the guidelines. Google has stated that it plans to update the App Quality checklist on a quarterly basis and will be adding information about other device form factors as well. Source: Google launches App Quality to aid developers in building engaging Android apps
  2. Amazon's new CEO plans to 'hang in there' on game development In a leaked email he said success sometimes takes time. Mike Blake / reuters Incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is reportedly committed to the idea of the company continuing to make games, even as it has yet to release one that is either commercially or critically successful. “Some businesses take off in the first year, and others take many years,” he wrote in an email obtained by Bloomberg. “Though we haven’t consistently succeeded yet in Amazon Game Studios, I believe we will if we hang in there.” Jassy is said to have sent the email one day before Amazon announced he would take over as CEO of the company once Jeff Bezos leaves the post later this year. The timing of the message is significant for a couple of other reasons. At the end of January, Bloomberg published a report that detailed some of the failings of Amazon Game Studios, narrowing in on the inexperience of its head, Mike Frazzini, who had never worked on a game before he took the position. News of the email also comes in the same week that Google announced it was shutting down its internal Stadia game studios. Given the billions Amazon has spent on creating its own games with little to nothing to show for it, it would be hard to blame Jassy for wanting to throw in the towel. How he feels about Amazon’s gaming prospects once he takes over as CEO will likely depend a lot on how its upcoming MMO performs. After multiple delays, New World is currently scheduled to come out sometime this spring. Source: Amazon's new CEO plans to 'hang in there' on game development
  3. What Apps Do You Wish Linux Had, Or Can’t Find a Replacement For? If you could magically, instantly, create any sort of app for the Linux desktop right now, what would it be? This question has been tumbling around my brain all weekend thanks to some new (totally spammy) comments being left on an article of mine from 2013 — an article in which I decried the lack of “simple, purposeful” Linux desktop apps. Now, don’t misunderstand my intention in asking you what you’d create if you could. I am not saying Linux has an app gap. I am not implying that open-source suffers from any sort of major software malaise. Those of us who use Linux full time know that we’re not short of drop-in replacements for a broad range of well-known software types. GIMP is, for most of us, every bit as capable as Adobe Photoshop; Kdenlive, Blender and Lightworks all cater to different types of Linux-based video editors; and between Geary, Nylas N1, Evolution, Thunderbird, Sylpheed, K9, there’s barely any e-mail need left uncatered for. No, I’m asking more about tools that fill a specific need in a specific way. “App” apps if you will. What sort of app do you find yourself searching for only to come up empty? LINUX Y U NO MEME APP? There are apps on my phone I can’t wait to use on the desktop I used to really, really long for a desktop meme-maker. Why? App envy. I subscribe to many awesome sites, like Lifehacker, that spotlight awesome apps. I used to see really nifty meme generators that were Windows and Mac OS X only. I really wanted someone to create a simple GTK+ app that could let me hammer out impact bold witticisms over a well established meme template, and let me quickly upload my creations to sites like imgur, in-app. I’ve since outgrown that desire. A desktop meme maker would be overkill now that many competent online tools exist for the job. But I feel the point I was making still (somewhat) stands: there are apps that I love using on mobile platforms for which a decent, comparable alternative on the Linux desktop is (currently) missing. Hope for the future There’s reason to be hopeful. Though I’d wager that native app development for Ubuntu on Phones and Tablets is far scarcer than it should be, the lure of Convergence is poised to bring apps like Dekko, Music and Calendar to the Ubuntu desktop. One of my favorite Ubuntu Touch apps is Pockit, an offline-equipped Pocket reader, one I’d dearly love to see make the transition (Pocket offer a native desktop app for OS X). Snaps will also offer app makers a really clean, sane way to distribute software free of the usual packaging hurdles and distribution headaches. Back to the question, and over to you But back to the question: If you could make any sort of native app for your Linux desktop what would it be? Share your app ideas, inspirations, rants, wants, mockups, etc. in the comments section of source article and please do mention in the comments section below. To keep this a realistic discussion — app developers be lurking — let’s avoid the usual clamour for Adobe products and focus on more general themes, such as “a photo manager comparable to iPhoto”, “a native GTK+ Pocket app” , “an e-mail client that handles Exchange”, etc. Source
  4. Reorg brings important parts of Windows OS development back under Panos Panay’s control Two years ago Microsoft moved Windows core development under the Azure team, signalling a further de-emphasis on Windows Client development in favour of their fast-growing server business. The resurgence of Windows (largely due to COVID-19 of course), must have caused Microsoft to rethink, as they have just moved part of the Core OS and Intelligent Edge (COSINE) team to the control of Panos Panay, who is already in charge of Windows + Devices (ie Windows desktop and Surface). The changes are expected to create more of an end-to-end servicing and shipping experience, according to Mary Jo Foley’s internal sources. Microsoft is also forming a new Windows, Developers and Experiences (WDX) Engineering team, which combines the Windows Experiences and Developer Ecosystem Platform teams, all also under the control of Panos Panay, who said: “The mission of Windows + Devices is to build platforms and products that create and complete magical experiences with all of Microsoft, to empower every person and organization to achieve more.” This business stands on three core pillars: Deliver iconic experiences across Microsoft, lighting up both modern work and life. Grow the business of Windows and Surface, delivering the best of Microsoft and creating end-user pull. Lead the industry through innovation and technology, enabling our ecosystem of partners to thrive. “Today, we are building upon our momentum and the company is leaning on us to lead the next phase of the Windows vision for our ecosystem with over [one billion customers and counting]. In taking the next step, our focus is on product-making, aligning experiences across the company, and inspiring our broad and vibrant ecosystem. Our desire is to create end-user pull across all segments of the business. As we move forward, I’m energized and passionate about the incredible opportunity in front of us.” The new Windows, Developers, and Experiences (WDX) Engineering team, which is a combination of the Windows Experiences and Developer Ecosystem Platform teams will focus on commercial customers, developers, and consumers, and will “enable ongoing Windows growth and innovation, with a focus on our people-centered and product-making culture.” A new Windows, Developers, and Experiences PM team that is a combination of the Windows Experiences PM team and Developer Ecosystem Platform PM team will focus on the input stack and “the UI construct,” and will engage with Microsoft’s developer audience. “The team will focus on customer delight and innovation which lead to Windows growth,” Panay claims. A new Windows product planning, ecosystem (including the Windows Ecosystem Enablement team), Store, and 1st– and 3rd-party apps team will “lead the Windows product vision forward by connecting planning, execution, and rhythms to our broad ecosystem,” Panay writes. “This alignment is critical at this stage as we create a center of gravity for both Windows client and the overall Windows business.” The Devices team will develop product and roadmap across Program Management and Hardware Development. “This will establish a single point of ownership for the Surface business and combine the product leadership together across all products including Foldables,” Panay explains. The Devices Portfolio and Operations (DPO) team will cover end-to-end business strategy for Windows and Devices, framing and funding for long-term business goals, and will have responsibility for Supply Chain, Packaging, and Release Management. On the Azure side, Microsoft is creating a new Azure Core team, which will unite Compute, Networking and Storage Services. The Azure team will also retain a stake in Windows development, especially the Windows core, with that staying under the control of Executive Vice President of Azure Jason Zander, with the focus on Azure Edge. There’s also a new “Azure for Operators” team that is about 5G/virtual networking and will include officials from Microsoft’s Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks acquisitions, and Microsoft Corporate Vice President Yousef Khalidi. This team will work closely with the Azure Edge unit. We hope the changes will result in an improved Windows development story, which seems to have largely stalled in recent years. Reorg brings important parts of Windows OS development back under Panos Panay’s control
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