Google unveils Android application design portal
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is continuing its efforts to forge a more consistent and user-friendly experience across devices running its Android mobile operating system, launching a new web-based Android Design portal offering developers insight into creating more stylish and appealing applications.
Android Design encourages developers to create apps with an emphasis on aesthetics (e.g., fast transitions, crisp layout and stylish icons), intuitive interfaces and empowering, multi-faceted user experiences. The site spans multiple style and pattern components developed to foster more visually compelling and consistent apps that look and run the same across different Android devices. Android Design also features basic software building blocks, promising an inventory of ready-to-use elements essential for superior app experiences.
The Android Design portal follows the introduction of the Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") update, which features design approaches first introduced in the tablet-only Android 3.0 including Roboto, a new font designed for high-resolution displays, as well as framework-level action bars on phones and support for devices without physical buttons. Google has promised that moving forward, the same version of Android will run across all devices, regardless of screen size.
The Android platform has long been the target of critics and consumers who contend that Android apps are significantly clunkier and less visually appealing than their counterparts on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. Google's recent efforts to alter that perception include its recent announcement that inclusion of its unmodified Holo theme family is a compatibility requirement for all devices running Android 4.0 and forward, a move designed to ensure a more consistent user interface and application development environment. Writing on the Android Developers Blog, Google Android Framework engineer Adam Powell explained that Holo's inclusion guarantees that developers building new and forthcoming Android applications can rest assured that the app's look and feel will remain consistent on devices with a custom skin.
"For developers new system themes mean more design targets for their apps," Powell explains. "Using system themes means developers can take advantage of a user's existing expectations and it can save a lot of production time, but only if an app designer can reliably predict the results. Before Android 4.0 the variance in system themes from device to device could make it difficult to design an app with a single predictable look and feel."
Android devices make up 46.9 percent of all smartphones across the United States, up 3.1 percentage points since August 2011, according to a recent comScore report. Late last year, Google senior vice president of mobile Andy Rubin announced the company now activates more than 700,000 new Android-powered devices each day.
- visit the Android Design site
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