The latest version of Android Studio in the Canary channel has added a new feature reflecting the direction of device design: an emulator for rollable phones. The emulator, which is currently available in the Arctic Fox Canary 1 Build of Android Studio, creates a 7.4-inch virtual handset running Android 11 and sporting a 1600 x 2428 display when furled, allowing developers to test how their software will behave as its rolled or unrolled, a much more challenging screen to optimize for than a standard display.
As spotted on Twitter by Engadget China‘s Richard Lai, the new AVD target allows you to see how the page layout reacts in unrolled mode, during the transition, and finally in rolled mode, to ensure that no code quirks cause it to look, for want of a better word, ‘wrong’. Because an app will need to adapt to a series of incremental screen sizes as the display unrolls, there will be some challenges for developers to adapt their apps’ layouts to accommodate this new form factor.
Rollables look like they’ll be one of the new gadgets to look out for in 2021. OPPO has already demonstrated its own proof of concept device, and other OEMs including Samsung, LG, and TCL are rumoured to have their own handsets in development for commercial launch. That said, it could be a while before we see the rollable emulator in a stable release on Android Studio. The current version 4.1 was released in October, and while it’s possible it will leapfrog from Canary to Beta to Stable and make the Spring release, it may not be ready until what would have become Android Studio 4.3, next Fall. Do note, though, that Google has just changed the version numbering of Android Studio and its Gradle plugin to bring it in line with the IntelliJ version, hence yesterday’s Canary release carrying the “Android Studio Arctic Fox (2020.3.1)” name.