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Google Makes Building Android Apps on Chrome OS Easier
Google today launched, a new site that aims to help developers get started with building Android apps for the company's Linux-based operating system. With today's update, Google is also making it easier to build and test Android applications on Chromebooks. From a report: The new site, which is available in English and Spanish for now, is meant to "help developers maximize their capabilities on the platform through technical resources/tutorials, product announcements, code samples and more," a Google spokesperson told us. As Google notes in today's announcement, in the last quarter, Chromebook unit sales were up 127% year-over-year in the last quarter, compared to 40% for notebook sales in general. To help Android developers do all of their work on a Chromebook if they so desire, Google now offers the full Android Emulator on Chrome OS to test apps right on their Chromebooks. The team also made deploying apps on Chrome OS (M81 and newer) much easier. Developers can now deploy and test apps directly without having to use developer mode or connect devices via USB.

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Google Gives Android TV Developers Instant Apps, Speech-to-Text, and Predictive Typing
An anonymous reader shares a report: Even before the pandemic, the battle to own your living room was reaching a boiling point. Now the big screen is bigger than ever as 2020 accelerates the streaming wars and raises the smart TV platform stakes. Naturally, Google is making every effort to avoid being left behind. Today the company gave Android TV developers new tools, including Google Play Instant, the Play Store in the emulator, PIN code purchases, Gboard TV, auto low latency mode, and leanback library improvements. [...] Google says Android TV now works with seven of the top 10 smart TV OEMs and over 160 TV operators. The company also added that there are now "over 80% more Android TV monthly active devices than a year ago," but didn't divulge raw numbers. Developers have built about 7,000 apps for Google Play on Android TV, to date, up from 5,000 in April 2019.

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Will We Someday Write Code Just By Describing It?
Using millions of programs in online repositories, Intel, Georgia Tech, and MIT researchers created a tool called MISIM (Machine Inferred code Similarity) with a database of code scored by the similarity of its outcomes to suggest alternatives (and corrections) to programmers. The hope is "to aid developers with nitty-gritty choices like 'what is the most efficient way to use this API' or 'how can I correctly validate this input',"Ryan Marcus, scientist at Intel Labs, told ZDNet. "This should give engineers a lot more time to focus on the elements of their job that actually create a real-world impact..." Justin Gottschlich, the lead for Intel's "machine programming" research team, told ZDNet that as software development becomes ever-more complex, MISIM could have a great impact on productivity. "The rate at which we're introducing senior developers is not on track to match the pace at which we're introducing new chip architectures and software complexity," he said. "With today's heterogeneous hardware — CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, ASICs, neuromorphic and, soon, quantum chips — it will become difficult, perhaps impossible, to find developers who can correctly, efficiently, and securely program across all of that hardware." But the long-term goal of machine programming goes even further than assisting software development as it stands today. After all, if a technology can assess intent and come up with relevant snippets of code in response, it doesn't seem far-fetched to imagine that the algorithm could one day be used by any member of the general public with a good software idea. Combined with natural language processing, for example, MISIM could in theory react to verbal clues to one day let people write programs simply by describing them. In other words, an Alexa of sorts, but for software development. Gottschlich explained that software creation is currently limited to the 27 million people around the world who can code. It is machine programming's ultimate goal to expand that number and one day, let people express their ideas in some other fashion than code — be it natural language, visual diagrams or even gestures. Intel currently plans to use the new tool internally.

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