In a normal year, Google I/O would traditionally mark the release of a new version of Android Studio. While there hasn’t been a Google I/O event this year, the Android team has still seen fit to release Android Studio 4.0 today, complete with new Android app design tools.

Last year at Google I/O, Android Studio 3.5 released with very few new features, instead focusing almost entirely on stability and performance improvements, in an effort known as Project Marble. By comparison, Android Studio 4.0, as announced on the Android Developer blog, includes a vast swath of new features, deserving of a bump from 3.x to 4.x.

The most exciting features developers will find in Android Studio 4.0 are new tools to help in designing your apps. The new Motion Editor allows you to create complex MotionLayout animations using a simple click-and-drag interface, where previously this required manually editing XML files. Meanwhile, the Layout Inspector and Layout Validation tools let you preview your app’s design in 3D or across multiple screen sizes, respectively.

Android app developers will also be able to take advantage of improvements like a redesigned CPU Profiler and the ability to use code completion in your code shrinking rules files. Be sure to check out Google’s Android Studio 4.0 recap video and the full release notes for more details.

Design

  • Motion Editor: a simple interface for creating, editing, and previewing MotionLayout animations
  • Upgraded Layout Inspector: a real-time & more intuitive debugging experience
  • Layout Validation: compare your UI across multiple screen dimensions

Develop & Profile

  • CPU Profiler update: improvements to make the UI more intuitive to navigate and the data easier to understand
  • R8 rules update: smart editor features for your code shrinker rules, such as syntax highlighting, completion, and error checking
  • IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3 platform update with performance and quality improvements
  • Live Template update: Android-specific live templates for your Kotlin code
  • Clangd support: Clangd and Clang-Tidy turned on by default

Build

  • Build Analyzer: understand and address bottlenecks in your build
  • Java 8 language support update: APIs you can use regardless of your app’s minimum API level
  • Feature-on-feature dependencies: define dependencies between Dynamic Feature modules
  • buildFeatures DSL: enable or disable discrete build features, such as Data Binding
  • Kotlin DSL: essential support for Kotlin DSL script files

As always, you can download Android Studio 4.0 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS directly from the Android Developers site, or you can simply update your existing installation from within the app.

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