Google Updates Android Studio to Version 1.4

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Google has finally pushed version 1.4 of its Android Studio integrated developer environment (IDE) to its stable release channels. This release features several new tools and changes to accelerate the development of Android apps. The new update adds enhancements like design tools, performance monitors, and native developer service support. This release comes exactly two months after the launch of its predecessor version 1.3.

As explained in a blog post by Android product manager, version 1.4 integrates a new Vector Asset Studio for allowing the developer to select existing material design icons or upload new custom icons into the project. A new Theme Editor has also been introduced which makes the process of tweaking colors easier for app interfaces.  One of the significant updates has been the inclusion of emulators for the two new Nexus phones, Huawei’s Nexus 6P and LG’s Nexus 5X. This change explains the release of the software after the announcement of the new Nexus devices. The update also adds project templates, which allows the developer to use the New Project Wizard app template to start a new app, or add a new activity to the app. The Android Design Support Library and the Appcompat Support library have also been updated in accordance with the new Project Template system.

Performance Monitors have been added to the upgrade, which was a much-requested feature for a long time. This add-on lets the developer optimize the app by monitoring different statistics on Android Studio. The GPU Rendering Monitor allows the developer to inspect the GPU rendering performance quickly, provided monitoring is turned on in the emulator under settings. A network monitor has also been provided to track transmit and receive rates of the app over time. New developer services have also been tightly integrated. Firebase, now Google-owned, acts in the backend as a service, instead of a dependency with Gradle. Now developers can just hit file, select Project Structure, and navigate to the new Cloud section to utilize the services. Google acquired Firebase, a hot real-time backend startup database. The update can be installed by checking for updates from the drop down menu or by using the pop-up box in IDE. Google is ending official support for Android Developer Tools, as it plans to focus on Android Studio. It specifically applies to the ADT plugin and the Android Ant build system.