Android Studio Arctic Fox Improves Compose Preview, Adds Support for Apple Silicon
The latest release of Android Studio focuses on three main areas, says Google: improving UI design, extending device support, and boost developer productivity. Additionally, Android Studio Arctic Fox introduces preview support for Apple Silicon processors.
Android Studio Arctic Fox greatly advances the state of the art of UI design for the Android platform by supporting advanced features made possible by Jetpack Compose, which has recently reached version 1.0.
@Preview annotation enables generating previews of composables in different configurations, including different themes, devices, and so on. Furthermore, the new Layout Inspector for Compose makes it possible to dynamically visualize how composables stack up against each other to create the UI and to inspect and modify the parameters passed to each composable. Also supported is the possibility of deploying snippet of Compose code to a device or emulator to see a how it looks like, either on the emulator or a device, without requiring to rebuild your app. This also include modifying literals such as strings, numbers, and booleans inline and immediately see the change on screen.
With the new release, Android Studio bumps up its integrated IntelliJ environment to version 2020.3.1. Albeit not the latest from JetBrains, IntelliJ 2020.3 still qualifies as a significant update by offering many goodies within the code editor, new debugging hints, collaborative development, and more. Developers preferring to run the Android emulator within the IDE, instead of as a separate app, will cheer the possibility to use navigation control, virtual sensors, and snapshots.
As mentioned, Arctic Fox brings preview support for the new Apple Silicon hardware (arm64). While still in development, the latest arm64 release appears to be very stable and fast in our own tests, although not without quirks.
On the front of device support, Arctic Fox introduces a new assistant to pair Wear OS emulators with physical or virtual phones running Wear OS 2. The assistant simplifies the traditional pairing process, which requires manually forwarding a communication port from the emulator to the device using
adb. Support for Wear OS 3 pairing will be added in a future release, though Arctic Fox includes a developer preview of the Wear OS 3 system image. The Wear OS emulator includes now support for the Heart Rate Sensor API.
Arctic Fox can be downloaded from Google’s developers site for a number of platforms.