Google today announced that it is making Kotlin, a statically typed programming language for the Java Virtual Machine, a first-class language for writing Android apps. Kotlin’s primary sponsor is JetBrains, the company behind tools like IntelliJ. It’s 100 percent interoperable with Java, which until now was Google’s primary language for writing Android apps (besides C++).
The company also today said that it will launch a foundation for Kotlin (together with JetBrains). JetBrains open-sourced Kotlin back in 2012 and version 1.0 launched just over a year ago. Google’s own Android Studio, it’s worth noting, is based on the JetBrains IntelliJ Java IDE, and the next version of Android Studio (3.0) will support it out of the box.
Because Kotlin is interoperable with Java, you could already write Android apps in the language before, but now Google will put its weight behind the language. Kotlin includes support for a number of features that Java itself doesn’t currently support.
Google noted in a later keynote that this is only an additional language, not a replacement for its existing Java and C++ support.
It’s worth noting that the Kotlin announcement garnered what was likely the loudest applause from Google’s I/O keynote announcement today.