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The world was watching earlier this month as Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated a world first: a very realistic phone call made by a Google Assistant, booking a hair salon appointment on behalf of its “client”. While this moment quickly made headlines, it was only the beginning of three days of debuts, announcements and presentations across the world of Google.

I asked the team to weigh in on the highlights from this year while the excitement is still fresh in our minds. From new features to on-site sessions, we’ve covered quite a bit of ground. Here’s what you need to know, from our team to yours, about the future of Android as shown at Google I/O 2018.

The new Material Sketch plugin, demonstrated.

“I enjoyed the inspirational sessions this year, especially ‘Designing for Inclusion: Insights from John Maeda and Hannah Beachler.‘ Seeing two leaders in the design field talk about their experiences and take on the industry was motivational. I am also excited about the new material theming as part of Material Design 2.0 as it enables us to push Android design and brands to better align with their brand guidelines.”

—Ivy Knight, Senior UX/UI Designer

Slices, demonstrated.

“I am really excited about the Navigation library and Slices. Navigation will eliminate a ton of brittle code that we commonly write for Android apps, and I am looking forward to updating Phunware’s App Framework to integrate with it. Slices is really interesting, as it will help our users re-engage with apps that they may have forgotten about. It also enables some really cool use cases such as searching for a doctor’s name and being able to offer the user routing straight to that doctor in a hospital app.”

—Nicholas Pike, Software Architect Android , Product VS

Alex Stolzberg & Nicholas Pike

“I was really excited about the new WorkManager that allows for easy background processes to be performed. You can also easily chain and sequence jobs to make the code very clean for a large amount of processes rather than having a cumbersome nested callback structure, reducing the possibility for bugs when writing features or making changes later on.”

—Alex Stolzberg, Software Engineer Android, Product

L to R, Nicholas Pike, Jon Hancock and Ian Lake. Ian is a former Phunware employee turned Googler who stays involved both with his former coworkers and the larger developer community.

“I’m very excited that Google is taking an opinionated stance on development architectural patterns. Writing apps for Android has been a wild west for years, and having some direction and guidance directly from Google will result in new Android developers entering the field with a greater understanding of how to build complete, stable apps. When those new developers find their first jobs, they’ll be more likely to be comfortable and ready to contribute quickly.”

—Jon Hancock, Software Architect Android

Ram Indani and Romain Guy, an Android Graphics Team Manager, at the in-person app review session.

“I really liked the app review sessions. It shows that Google cares about the applications being developed and is willing to work with the community to improve them. Feedback received from the reviewers is valuable and they ensured that the Googler reviewing the app had expertise in the apps they were reviewing.

—Ram Indani, Software Engineer Android

L to R, Alex Stolzberg, Ram Indani, Nicholas Pike and Duong Tran.

“I am excited about what the new Cast Application Framework has to offer. Some of the benefits of the new framework include simpler code implementation and ad integration as well as enhance performance and reliability. Also, new features such as Google Assistant with voice command are automatically included. I was amazed by the Cast Application Framework team’s willingness to work with developers to create unique solutions for our client’s business requirements, such as providing a custom framework and unique branding options.”

—Duong Tran, Software Engineer Android

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