Android O To Introduce Smoother, ‘Physics-Based’ Animations

May 18, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Android O will introduce a new animation class that will allow developers to create smoother, more natural object movements, as revealed by a set of development documents published by Google earlier this week. The changes were announced following the rollout of the second developer preview of Android O that debuted at Google I/O 2017 Keynote on Wednesday, with the Mountain View-based tech giant confirming that its latest major Android upgrade will hit the stable channel later this year. The new system animation mechanics will be powered by a “physics-based” application programming interface (API) that will allow developers to chart movement changes of objects with a simulated kinetic force instead of manually mapping their movement path. The presently available animation API only allows the latter approach to development and usually results in stuttering animations seeing how developers are expected to define individual animations each time they want a moving object to change direction.

The only way for developers to create smooth animations using the current animation API is to spend a massive amount of time on refining their animations, which many independent studios don’t find to be a worthy endeavor. Their issues should be resolved with Android O as Google will provide them with a physics-based API that contains a number of new classes including FlinkAnimation and SpringForce that will allow them to create significantly smoother animations without spending any extra time on developing them, making the entire process more time-efficient, the Alphabet-owned company says. Instead of dealing with exact animation paths, devs will now be able to configure forces like velocity and attributes like stiffness in order to perform efficient animation course correction while simultaneously reducing the number of visual disruptions that can make animations feel less responsive than they actually are.

Refer to the gallery below to see the difference that the new API can make for animations – the first GIF depicts an animation developed using the current, mechanical method, while the second one shows a physics-based animation created with the new Android O API. The Mountain View-based Internet giant is expected to reveal more details on its upcoming operating system in the coming months.