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21 August 2020

Getting ready for 5G on Android

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Posted by Stella Loh, Product Manager, Android 5G


Getting ready for 5G on Android

Connectivity is the lifeblood that makes all of the experiences on our phones come alive, helping us connect, communicate, and express ourselves to the people that we care about. As app developers, this mission is as important now as it’s ever been. You’ve probably heard the buzz around 5G and wondered: what does this mean for my app? As we dive into Media & Games as part of this weeks' #11WeeksofAndroid, two areas where 5G offers a lot of potential, we wanted to spotlight ways for you to think about taking advantage of 5G for your app or game.

Transforming your app or game with 5G: unlocking new experiences

5G isn’t just about faster connectivity: it’s about unlocking transformative new experiences, and we want to see how you continue to push the bar.

  • Turn indoor use cases into outdoor use cases: Suddenly, everything you could only do indoors comes alive outside, like high-quality video chat and playing multiplayer games wherever you happen to be.
  • Turn photo-centric UX into video-centric or AR-centric UX: Upgrade your users’ experience by replacing photos with videos and by incorporating augmented reality into your UX.
  • Prefetch helpfully, delight rather than buffer: Use the increased bandwidth to prefetch content, further enhancing the responsiveness of your app or game.
  • Turn niche use cases into mainstream use cases: Streaming content on older networks was the exception. Make streaming content the new mainstream with 5G.

We’ve been hard at work building in support for 5G on Android, and have been working with 5G carriers starting with Verizon and AT&T in the U.S., as well as others in Europe and Asia to provide necessary Android features for app developers looking to build 5G experiences.

In addition to working with the carriers, we have been updating and adding new APIs to ensure you have all the tools you need to leverage the capabilities of 5G. First, we enhanced the functionality of our bandwidth estimation API. Then we added 5G detection capabilities, so you know when to take it up a notch. Lastly, we added a new meteredness flag from cellular carriers so you know when your user isn’t being charged for bandwidth, and can really bring it!

We’ve also added features to the Android SDK emulator to enable you to develop and test these APIs without needing a 5G device or network connection.

All of this means that 5G starts here and now. Check out our new page dedicated to 5G so you can start imagining how 5G can transform your app.