This week Android Engineer, Kenneth Mojica discusses features in the Beta release of Android Studio 2.0.

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Hi I’m Kenneth Mojica, welcome back to Ask a Dev. Today’s question is from Ashley, she asks “What’s new on Android Studio 2.0?”

Great question Ashley, as a developer it is really important to keep up with the latest development tools and know when to upgrade or switch your development environment. Android Studio 2.0 is still in beta, but it comes with a lot of great features that android developers have been craving.

Starting with a new feature called Instant Run, which allows you to change code that is deployed on an emulator or physical devices within seconds, without having to rebuild and redeploy your entire application. The Instant Run feature is smart enough to figure out exactly what it needs to build and deploy into your existing application. This is a huge time saver, especially for applications with long build times. You can take advantage of the Instant Run feature by just updating to the latest gradle plugin. Not every change type is supported as of yet, changing the manifest or resources referenced by the manifest will still trigger a full build. But even full builds are faster now, every step of the build process has improved and a faster adb allows you push and install files up to five times faster than before.

We have also gained much needed improvements to the android emulator. Speed was a major focus of this new version of Android Studio, and the new emulator demonstrates that. The emulator uses CPU acceleration on x86 system images by default and has Symmetric Multi-Processor support on Marshmallow. Multi-Touch support for testing pinch and zoom gestures has finally come to the emulator as well as Drag-And-Drop to install apks or to just simply move files to the sd card. With a new configuration panel the emulator has become less depend on the command-line for some of the more commonly used task and configuration like receiving a phone call, sms, battery levels and mock locations.

Another great addition is the GPU profiler and debugger, which allows you to do frame by frame debugging and step into OpenGL ES code. Really useful tool for game development and complex animation.

Android Studio 2.0 is still in beta, currently on the canary channel and as with any beta release there may still be some bugs, something to keep in mind when deciding whether to upgrade or not.

That’s it for this episode. As always, tweet your questions with hashtag ask a dev or just leave them in the comments.