Google is beginning a project that would elevate Android Studio from app development to a full suite for Android OS development by OEMs and ROM developers.

To make an Android app today, Android Studio is all but essential as it offers access to the Android SDK itself, emulators of various versions and form factors, tools to optimize your app’s performance, and of course everything you need to actually write the Java and/or Kotlin code.

However, the Android operating system itself is a far more complicated mixture of code and projects than just applications built with Java. There’s code for hardware access and for core features of Android, and there’s even the Linux kernel underlying it all. Many of these components are written in C++ and Rust, languages that Android Studio doesn’t necessarily excel at out of the box, in addition to the usual Java and Kotlin.

In a new job listing shared by Romain Guy, Engineering Director on the Android Toolkit team, we learn that Google wants all of the many projects involved with Android OS development to be easily possible through Android Studio.

Android OS development spans a large range of areas: all the way from components that are similar to an Android application to the Android framework, components that expose various hardware functionality (camera, bluetooth, audio/video) down to the kernel. These components are written in a variety of languages: Kotlin, Java, C++ and Rust. With this new project, our goal is to extend Android Studio so that it can help in all these areas.

This project, if successful, will make Android Studio more useful to anyone wanting to develop something based on Android – be that a phone, tablet, TV, or anything else – or modify an existing device’s Android build by creating a new ROM. That said, given the sheer amount of code involved in a typical Android OS build, it should be interesting to see how Google intends to keep Android Studio running smoothly both for the few OS & ROM developers and for everyone else who just wants to make an Android app.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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