New Android releases like the upcoming Android 14 are probably what most of us are looking forward to the most, but app developers have another piece of software they love to see updated: The official Android Studio development environment. Since 2021, Google has started giving new releases fun names from the animal kingdom, and as such, this week’s new release is called Electric Eel (or 2022.1.1). While its predecessor Dolphin was mostly focused on bug fixes, Electric Eel is a bigger upgrade.


Emulator upgrades and new IntelliJ release

First and foremost, Electric Eel brings prepares some big enhancements for emulators and for testing on connected devices. There is a new “desktop” category for emulators for testing how apps behave on Chromebooks and similar form factors. This allows developers to test their apps in windowed environments, complete with resizing support. In that same vein, Google has introduced an experimental resizable emulator, which makes it possible to test apps across different form factors without having to resort to multiple emulators.


What might be even more important for developers than testing on emulators is testing on real devices, and Google is making this simpler, too. Much like what the third-party ADB tool scrcpy allows you to do, Android Studio now offers experimental support for device mirroring. This lets developers see the screen of a connected device and interact with it right from their computer and test apps without ever switching between their desktop and phone.


You might be wondering why this update is called 2022.1.1 rather than something with 2023, and the reason is that the version number doesn’t correspond with the current year but rather the current IntelliJ platform release. As such, Android Studio Electric Eel is the first version of the IDE to support IntelliJ 2022.1. Google says it offers “many new features such as Dependency Analyzer to facilitate dependency management and conflict resolution and the Notifications tool window that offers a new, streamlined way to receive notifications from the IDE.”

Design and Logcat improvements

When you use Compose Previews, you might be used to refreshing manually to see changes you’ve made in the code. Electric Eel now incorporates those changes on the fly, helping you see what you’re doing right while you’re at it in the code. For incompatible code changes, a new “Needs Rebuild” status will show you that you will have to manually kick off the process again.


Compose Preview now also lets you specify your preferred specs for your custom reference devices. You can still choose ready-made ones, but you’re now freer in testing your app in different environments. When your app exhibits too many recompositions, the new Layout Inspector will now show you which parts of the UI were most recently changed using an overlay. This should help you track down any issues.

There is also a new Universal Problems Panel that will show you any issues reported by all kinds of tools within Android Studio.

Logcat has been revamped and completely rewritten to make it easier to use. It already shipped as part of the previous version, Dolphin, but it now becoming the default view going forward. Improvements include better formatting, search improvements, and autocomplete support for filtering.

Android Studio Electric Eel is now available

There is much more in this build, and you can read all about it in the Android Developers blog, which goes into more nitty-gritty details. If you want to dive right into the new version of Android Studio, you can download it on the Android Developers website.

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