20
Mar
google_play_thumb

The Google Play redesign is very real.

We've managed to secure a copy and we're going to extract every possible ounce of info out of it.

Sadly, we aren't allowed to distribute it - we have to honor the request of the person who scored us a copy. Sorry! We will tell you everything we can about it, though.

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The main screen is, well, broken. That makes navigating the app a little difficult. However with liberal use of the search button and a few tricks it's possible to find your way around. (And yes, the search still blows.)

Browsing For Apps

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Ugh. Pray to god the new action bar isn't final.

App categories mostly looks the same. The tab bar has gotten a big revamp, and there are now "Editors' Choice" and "Staff Pick" buttons just above the category list. The featured tab is missing in this build.

Most tabs look like the center picture, a row of horizontal cards. There are Google Now-style menu buttons on the right of each card that allow you to buy (or install) and add an app to your wishlist.

The trending tab has a special layout, the cards are much taller and in rows of 3.

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Here's what it looks like in horizontal mode. The cards jump to a 2-wide formation.

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Every tab in tablet mode looks like this. Except for Categories which looks like this:

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"Staff Picks" has a pretty normal layout, "Editor's Choice," however, gets this special, centered, single card look.

Content Stores

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The Play Store's color coding is still intact. The sections all have similar layouts to the App section.

My Apps

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My Apps now sports an "Update" button even if there's only one app to update. There's still no way to see your purchased apps. Booo.

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Here's tablet mode. There's still no way to see the change log from this screen. BOOOO!

Auto update has been changed from opt-in to opt-out (just clear your data). That's way easier.

App Screens & Install

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It's interesting that everything has been turned into a card layout, but this screen, which used to use cards for each section, has been flattened into a single, grey strip. The apps at the bottom are presented the same way as they are in some of the browse tabs.

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This is what the install flow looks like. It's just these screens. The horrible post-install screen is gone.

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And here are the purchase screens.

Settings

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The settings are pretty much the same. Update over Wi-Fi has been collapsed into the "Auto-update apps" option. Nothing groundbreaking. This build is 4.0.16.

Conclusion

That's all for now. The blocky action bar doesn't look any better in person, it's absolutely horrible. I think it has no chance of making it into the final app. Right now it just ruins everything.

Right now, the Play Store does not share silky smooth, highly-animated slickness of something like Google Search or the newly released Google Keep (it's been a busy day!). It works pretty much like the regular Play Store. I wouldn't say it's any faster or slower, hopefully, that's what they're working on next. If they removed the dirt from the action bar and add some of those swoopy Google Now animations, I'd be in love. Even now, it's way better-looking than the current Play Store.

I'm going to get working on a teardown, and I'll report back if I find anything neat.

Update: Terrible news! I did a teardown and found nothing, functionally, it's the same Play Store as what's on your phone right now.

We aren't allowed to distribute this APK (sorry!), but we can take any screenshots we want. So if you've got any questions, just ask in the comments.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • sciwizam

    Finally, the linen Android was missing. Praise Matias!

  • Kevin Phan

    Looks nice. I want!

  • jdrobinson

    That looks awfully ugly...

  • http://about.me/bkbooth Benjamin Booth

    I like the new cards-based layout generally but some parts definitely need some work. Who at Google thought those dirty action bars looked OK? Hopefully this isn't something they're actually playing around with for future versions of Android and Google's apps.

  • heat361

    The card based layout is nice. Can't wait to see what you find I the apk teardown.

  • Chris Webster

    I just wish they had a graph model like on the website that shows how many recent/total installs the app has :/

  • Lloyd o’brien

    Looks better then the current design

    • GreenyO

      *Than.

  • duramas

    Maybe the pixel pattern is a unique pattern to identify who/where this version of the play store came from?

    • fodawim

      That's what I was thinking, almost looks like a braile pattern...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Yep, looks like a watermark.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      If it is a pattern, I don't think it's as much to ID the person/source, but rather an exact version or something.

      Or it's just some weird fluke.

  • Matthew Merrick

    I think the current version of the play store looks significantly better....

    • Ivan Myring

      Thought that at first but this has grown on me

  • ltredbeard

    I want to know why the "Search Giant" can't get their act together and make a search function that actually finds the app you are looking for!

    • Freak4Dell

      Yeah, I don't understand how they can be the best at search, but still have a terrible search function for their store.

      • EMullins

        Because they only care about your deep personal habits, not whether you'd put Angry Birds on your phone. The Play Store is just a draw to get you to use Android services. Therefore, its not worth porting their technology into the store.

        • Freak4Dell

          They would know more about my deep personal habits if I were able to find apps that complemented my deep personal habits.

          • EMullins

            Only from what you type into their Play store search, which they get anyway.. I don't think they'd want you to find an app that knows about your deep personal habits unless they ran it, which again, is why the Play store search sucks.

          • Freak4Dell

            Well, they don't get much from my typing in the search bar, because I've just pretty much stopped using the search feature on the Play Store. If Google isn't going to fix the search to help me find apps, I'm just not going to ask them about apps at all. I discover new apps from time to time on the internet, which is probably more than I've gotten from searching on the Play Store anyway, so I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

          • EMullins

            Yeah, that's how most people reading AP feel as well I imagine. We're never going to get a good Play store search because Google wants us to use their services only so there's no point in waiting.

            Hi from the Podcast IRC, btw.

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      Works fine for me.

  • Josh Michielsen

    The app updates on the Tablet UI not taking you to the change log is realllllllly irritating and I still can't believe they haven't changed it.

    • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja Zargh

      It's not finished so maybe they will.

  • sri_tech

    I like the current design than this.
    This article is an example, why Android police is the best android blog.

  • nsnsmj

    Before people start to judge and complain and bitch about an unfinished, non-final leaked version of an app (who am I kidding), perhaps you should remember that it is, after all, an unfinished, non-final leaked version of an app. :)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Yep. Good advice. The core looks nice, they just need to animate the crap out of it and fix the action bar.

      • nsnsmj

        Yeah, I agree. I wish I was talented enough to create a mock-up version of this new design that used the card animations. Would be awesome.

      • MrJigolo

        Action bar looks nice to me.

        • Nathaniel Webb

          Textured action bars fix nowhere in android's design language, so even if it were to look nice, it would be out of place.

      • http://twitter.com/navjotbatra Navjot

        That action bar is probably there so that they know which screenshots are non-final software.

      • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

        Animations - ok, I know other people are going to disagree with me on this, but there has to be quite a few others out there who do everything possible to get rid of any animations? (thank you developer options that aren't present in my build of cm10 /sarcasm.. no seriously, these options are great, can't wait to have them again) Honestly I prefer to quickly snap to a new window as soon as my finger touches it. Anyway, I know many won't agree, but there's my two cents.

        • Tom

          Dev options are still there, just go into "About Phone" and tap build number 7 times. Developer Options will then appear in its usual place.

          • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

            I have to thank you so much for this. I had no idea they were accessible in this manner.

    • bitch_please

      Google loves to put out unfinished stuff. Just look at Play Music, I wouldn't be surprised if they out this.

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      Whoa, 81 upvotes and counting.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    You know, as much as I think this looks a ton better than the current layout, and is much more in keeping with the rest of Google's app design...I can't help but feel like this is my least favorite Holo app from Google. The cards look nice (though with them starting to be friggin' everywhere, it's easy to get a little tired of the design), and this at least makes the color coding easier to handle (purple on black was an atrocity).

    But now, things that *aren't* cards have a semi-serious readability problem. The text is now dark gray on slightly-lighter gray. This isn't all that great. What kills me is there are clearly places where a *much* darker gray is used and that's plenty readable. But someone at Google (who is clearly not named Matias) chose to make the two shades very close. The text on the Gmail description is a perfect example.

    The colors also don't work on this gray. They're better on white, where they all stand out (though only to varying degrees), but at a certain point, the solid colors on gray face a similar problem as the black design: they start to disappear. The green categories list is a prime example. It looks bland, uninteresting, and most importantly, like it was designed by a flow chart. "Is it a card?" "No" "Gray background. Is it a category name?" "Yes" "What storefront?" "Apps" "Green text. GOOD TO GO."

    Text is the absolute worst place for you to start color coding. Text needs to be readable above all else. Accents are where you color code. Which, by the way, is something that is perfectly serviceable on the actual friggin' apps list. When you see a list of cards, you can clearly tell what section you're in by the background color on the action bar and the tab notifier. We don't need to be bombarded with red all over ever price of every movie, or green for every app category name.

    Take a look at your Google+ profile. Under the About section, you can see a bunch of cards. They're accented by different colors. But are the headings color coded? No. Is any text outside the cards *anything* but a dark enough shade of gray to stand out? Nope. It's perfectly readable and it's designed such that the color coding shows us where we are and gets out of the way.

    This is a nicer design, sure. I like cards better than I like the disjointed look of the old Play Store. And while we haven't seen the main page yet, I can only assume it's going to look better. But I can still feel the spirit of the old crappy design in this new one. Someone running the Play Store UI still just hasn't quite got it yet.

    • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja Zargh

      "Someone running the Play Store UI still just hasn't quite got it yet."

      That or an unfinished app is unfinished and they were in the middle of transitioning the current one over starting with it as a base. There's still 10 weeks before I/O which in terms of engineering time is an extremely significant amount. Getting into pixel-perfect critiques is understandable since we're end users, but a little unfair since we don't know how close to completion this is.

      If this were the week before I/O and this was the state of it fair enough, but right now it seems a little premature to call the designers/engineers incompetent solely based on its current state.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

        Well, to be fair, I never said they were out of time to get it. And I hope they do. But as it is right now (which, by the way, is a fully-functioning, nearly complete app that could be used as a daily driver in its current state, implying it's not just some early alpha), things need to change. And I hope they do.

    • Davy Jones

      To your criticism about the overuse of the "card" design, I want to add that all cards should be swipe-able. Otherwise they don't make a consistent design metaphor. Since Honeycomb every card used in Android (e.g. recent apps) have all been clear-able with a swipe.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    What would I have to do to get my hands on it? I would love to start tearing it down.

  • Michael Ruocco

    I don't know why everyone bitches about searching in the Play Store. I've never had a problem typing in what I want and it showing up for me. 9 out of 10 times you already know the name of the app you want, you type it, and it shows up.

  • Vandré Brunazo

    Wait wait wait... is that "buy google play credit" thing new? Afaik, today we can only buy google play credit via gift cards (not available in most countries), but not directly from the play store, right?

    Does this means they're doing something similar the amazon credits on kindle? If that's true, maybe it would allow us to sell apps and iap for less than $0.99 (that's the minimum price we can set on the developer console today, because of credit card fees). Hope that will happen.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      It's ALLLLLL the way at the bottom.

      http://i.imgur.com/1kYtm82.png

      • Zomby2D

        Looks like it's US only. This doesn't show up here in Canada. Looks like it's working kinda like Steam wallet.

        • Vandré Brunazo

          Yea, I don't have it either.

  • elias iseid

    Second picture where you search for google keep, what's that drop down menu on each result do, what options does it give?

    Edit: nvm, I see it in the fifth picture

  • dzzu

    Are you using a honeycomb device? If yes, why? If yes, any plans to change that? I hope you feel bad about this. Not much, just like 1% bad, fora brief moment :-)

    • Ziontek

      You do realize that he's using a custom rom., right? Custom roms let you move the buttons to the side.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      A Xoom running 4.0.4. lol.

      I don't really use Android tablets, that was all I had.

      • Matthew Merrick

        Any and all OG Xooms should be running 4.1. And there are plenty of stable 4.2 ROMs as a well.

  • http://ausdroid.net/ James Finnigan

    So much better than the current version, but what is up with the action bar textures? I hope they get shown the door.

    Also, does anyone remember when the Play Store had that cool tablet mode that actually looked decent, before it was replaced with those horrible black and grey tiles? Why don't they bring that back?

  • Sebastian Porta

    Does the app use the new YouTube Android API for the videos, or still opens the YouTube app?
    BTW, Currents added this feature in today's update, but it's unlisted.

  • dakuten

    Nice path, still, there's some way to walk through.

  • metalmayne

    the play store just becomes worse with every release. add to the fact that we still dont have a filter for paid apps in the my apps section... and searching is still awful... and the ranking algorythms they are using are horrible... why can't they get this right. hoping this gets resolved before release.

  • BlueAce127

    Is the action bar really *that* bad? It looks great to me. If Google actually does decide to tweak it, I hope they keep the colour coding.

  • nawa

    Hmm, I really like that new Action Bar

  • akshay7394

    I get that this isn't too important a feature, but I'm curious: Does it use the YouTube API or does it still open up the YouTube app to play videos?

  • Victor Andrade

    I'm sure glad they got rid of that window that prompted you for related apps after installation One question, dose anyone know if it is it possible to navigate to "editors choice" or "staff pics" section on the current version of the play store. by the way I hate the name play store they should have have stayed with market better, I understand the marketing reasoning behind it but I hope they go back to the Android Market name (highly unlikely).

  • armshouse

    Here's to hoping they bring a purchased section back! They're my apps and I want to know which ones i've bought... doubt they'll make it that simple though!

  • lol

    lol Google woke up this day and said..
    I know how much my bitch AP loves the holo...
    But today.. i troll that hoe and leak some fucked up shit and laugh and how they make stupid justifications for the crappy facelift I gave the playstore.

  • urmil

    Upload the link mahn!

  • Ivan Myring

    I hated this at first but since looking back through it it is growing on me

  • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

    "My Apps now sports an "Update" button even if there's only one app to update."

    Thank god. This is something just annoying enough to bug me every time I had to click on a single app to update it, but wasn't annoying enough for me to go whine on the internet about it. And I love whining on the internet.

  • Curious guy

    Just leak the damn apk :p

  • Joseph Cascio

    These need to be bolded so who ever at Google can see them as clear as day:
    There's still no way to see your purchased apps. Booo.
    There's still no way to see the change log from this screen.
    BOOOO!

  • tabletdude

    could you post a screenshot of how the app detail page looks on tablets? I'd like to see the layout on a tablet

  • spunker88

    Have they upped the API version required, I'd bet interested to see if it still installs on Froyo and GB. Despite its age I can't see Google dropping GB since many are still on it.

  • Nickan Fayyazi

    Looks beautiful. I can't wait for the official update!

  • Jamesy

    is that "auto-add widgets new"?

  • Hasibur Seikh

    Hasibur Seikh
    Open
    Play store

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