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I readily admit that I'm not exactly on board with the notion that every Android app should conform to 'holo' aesthetics, or Android's 'design guidelines.' I think that such a view is inherently limiting to the creativity of developers, and ignores the fact that while there are many objectively bad ways to do software UI/UX, there are nearly as many good ways, too. And lest we forget: even Google doesn't always get these things right.

So, Uber (a taxi service that is revolutionizing the business, if you've not heard of it) updated its app to version 2.0 today, and the result? It looks and feels amazing.

SCR_2013-03-07-14-49-26 SCR_2013-03-07-14-49-31 SCR_2013-03-07-14-49-35

SCR_2013-03-07-14-51-11 SCR_2013-03-07-14-52-32 SCR_2013-03-07-14-53-00

Now, you may be quite ready to point out that this looks exactly like Uber's iOS app. And it does. And I am 100% OK with that (alright, maybe a different map pin would be acceptable), because it looks absolutely fantastic regardless of what platform it's on. It's beautifully designed, and the various animations - even the splash screen that fades into view when the app launches - are all gorgeous. I want more apps like this in my life right now.

Head to the Play Store to check it out, because even if you don't need a taxi, this app is a master class in UI and UX design worth gawking at. Developers - take notice.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://twitter.com/nagi603 Nagy Balázs András

    Here is the thing: not all apps should conform, but most developers just can't make any sensible, nice looking GUI by themselves. Hence, they should look for the Holo guides.

  • APCJ

    420 Root it faggot

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.adam.12 Marc Adam

    Promo Code UBERTENBONUS will get you $10 credit towards your first ride with Uber. Enter it when you sign up.

  • denbo68

    This looks like a good app but I fail to see from the pictures why you declare it is so beautiful. It looks "ok" from what I see.

    Perhaps the images posted here do not do it justice.

    • Aleksey_US

      Try the previous Android version and compare... I've used their Back Car service (apparently almost no taxis work with them on Friday nights in Chicago). The car and service were great although it took the car a while to arrive. The app however was awful it couldn't lock onto my location correctly and the arrival time kept flipping between 6 and 10 min the entire time. I might give them another chance with the new app.

  • Laurence

    I'm a big fan of the Holo style. But "Holo" is flexible enough to be used in creative ways (see for example: Pinterest). I can't install this app because it's not supported in my country, but honestly, looking at the screenshots, it looks to me like it does a perfectly fine job of integrating with Android design conventions. It has an action bar, and it sticks to the "flat" aesthetic that was introduced with ICS. Also, when I look at the screenshots, it's really obvious what each button does without even using the app, and a big part of what design guidelines are meant to achieve.

    What does irritate me is are apps that are still use the hardware menu button, are stuck with the old Gingerbread aesthetic (Twitter, Last.fm) or even worse, apps that try to clone the iOS style (Viber). It looks like Uber doesn't do that; when it departs from the design guidelines, it does so deliberately rather than due to laziness or ignorance, and it does so in a way that doesn't break the user's mental model of an how an app on Android should work.

    tl;dr There's nothing wrong with the design guidelines; they don't have to be applied stringently.

  • Bob Reinler

    The promo code UBERFREERIDE10 also works for $10 on your account.

  • Josh Brown

    The guidelines have always had a "Deviate with purpose" philosophy behind them. The guidelines are a starting point, but if you have well grounded reasons for diverging from them, do it. That said I'd like to see a traditional ActionBar here. It's close, but the up affordance they present is too close to a back button, and a lack of icon makes it feel out of place. It would also be a much better way to present that horrible menu shade thing.

    • Laurence

      Yes, well said. There's a big and important distinction between "deviate with purpose" and "deviate because our multi-billion dollar valued company couldn't be bothered to redesign our Gingerbread app".

  • Magneira

    As many people seem to agree, you are just ranting in vain, holo should be always used because holo is just no appear hence it is also style and flow

  • ken

    it doesn't matter how pretty it looks, they're a TERRIBLE service- so much so that they're being sued in multiple cities for stealing from drivers. their cheapest fare is more than twice as much as the regular cabs around here, and that's if you can get one (it took me 6 days of trying in both the morning and evening to even show one car as available on manhattan).

  • K

    I always hate disruptive technologies as they are so optimized now that during peak demand they just jack prices 1.5-2x but other than that Uber is great tool in many cities. and UBERTESTDRIVE is the one i used to sign up with.

    I wonder.. have they changed the layout of the awesome receipt you get in your email right after your trip? With Speed, map and fare breakdown. Great for businesses come tax season or to bill that client of yours you went to visit that doesn't want to pay. (you can prove it with dates times and even the gps map)

    Summary: Great app, great service.... Sucks to pay more during peak demand and drivers even cancel your booking if its right near a peak time so they can make more.

    Thanks for sharing as i don't usually go to google play store to update but this is a manual update due to all the changes they've made.

    • laughtiger

      "drivers even cancel your booking if its right near a peak time so they can make more."

      How does that work? Wouldn't canceling your booking mean they make less?

      • didibus

        I assume if you are too far from them, they cancel and take someone closer instead.

        • laughtiger

          I don't know how Uber works, but with Hailo and other apps the driver can see where you are before they accept the call. So why accept if they're not willing to drive there.

          • didibus

            I'm speculating too. But if I were a driver wanting to make as much money, I would never refuse a call. I'd take them all, but if as I'm going to my destination, a guy waves his hand, I'd just be like, fuck that call -> hit cancel. With a normal taxi service, they can not cancel a call, or they get into trouble with the company. I don't know if Uber has a way to penalize drivers for doing that, but if they don't, I'm sure it must happen all the time.

  • Davy Jones

    "I readily admit that I'm not exactly on board with the notion that every Android app should conform to 'holo' aesthetics, or Android's 'design guidelines.'"

    Oh David Ruddock, forever the shit disturber on the AP staff.

  • selonmoi

    It doesn't look like a standard iOS app, and it doesn't look out of place on Android, either. It looks like they've taken a bit of inspiration from here and there, and it works everywhere. Except, as you mention, for the pin. That is way too iOS looking.

    All that said, Uber is awful. They gouge you and break the taxi licensing bylaws in many of the cities they operate in. If Hailo is available in your city, I recommend that, instead.

    • Laurence

      Yeah, because who cares about a "free market" and stuff.

  • nsnsmj

    The app looks good, but I don't find it all that "beautiful". I think it's way too bright as well. That's a little too much white for me.

  • Vibin

    Wait a min, you guys. I can see some nice orange-ish Gingerbread UI buttons inside the app.

  • http://omgdroid.com/ Tony Simons

    Gotta agree here with you, David. Holo looks nice, but if everything went that route, it would definitely become overkill.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShitizGarg Shitiz Garg

    It looks more inspired by the new clock app than anything else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.adam.12 Marc Adam

    Promo Code UBERTENBONUS will get you $10 credit towards your first ride with Uber. Enter it when you sign up.

  • Edward Ricketts

    I just looked at the pricing for London and (damn!) it's very expensive! £4 per mile after a £5 Base rate? Perhaps I haven't taken any cabs lately but, that seems high. Local cab companies will charge approximately £30/40 to Heathrow from my home, this service would be £60.

  • http://twitter.com/Android_Gyan Android Gyan

    Looks Awesome

  • Chris Lucier

    Use my invite here: uber.com/invite/uberxopherjames

    and get $10 off of your first Uber ride! The link shouldn't ever expire!

  • vitriolix

    Ugh, this UI is really not good. It feels very slick but foreign, common navigation metaphors are just randomly different. Either they didn't know the android equivalents or didn't care. The fonts render wayyy too small on my galaxy note ii. This feels like an Adobe air app.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zaphod.beeblebroks.9 Zaphod Beeblebroks

    new design is great, it's cleaner and I like that now the app remembers your preferred transportation so it doesn't switch you back to black car after each ride if all you want is a taxi.

    also their referral system is awesome! enter uber4u promo code when you sign up and we both get $10 credit :)

  • rootlesscosmo

    I've been running the Uber app on my Android (Kyocera Rise, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) for a couple of weeks and I have yet to see a "Fare Estimate" ever.

    When I order a car it sends me a confirmation text and that's it.

    It's only after my ride is complete that I can look at the app again and see what I was charged (I then receive an email receipt).

    Why can't I see a fare estimate; what am I doing wrong? Thanks.