Last Updated: May 29th, 2013

It looks like the folks at doubleTwist are hard at work on a new version of their music playback/syncing app for Android, but we're not supposed to know that yet. Someone seems to have jumped the gun a little bit and posted the news on the doubleTwist blog. The post was locked down almost immediately, but not before we spotted it. The news? As the post says, the future is Holo(graphic).

Update: doubleTwist has been bumped to version 2.1 and the blog post is unlocked.

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This is less a complete redesign of doubleTwist than it is a realignment. The current UI was just rolled out late in 2012, and the updated version will essentially be flattening the interface, changing up the colors, tweaking fonts, and finally fixing the menu/action bar situation. This app has gone though a number of significant design changes – as Android itself has. As explained in the blog post, DT's designers were reluctant to ditch some of the custom UI elements implemented in doubleTwist over the years. There was concern that the Holo guidelines could shift in future versions of Android. Now that the Holo UI appears to have stuck, doubleTwist is finally getting more in-line with Android's design language.

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The phantom blog post has yet to go back up as of this writing, probably because it was supposed to coincide with the Play Store app update. Although, it's possible something has been delayed. Check out these screens for a peek at what the current "old" UI looks like:

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The doubleTwist post is dated May 28th, so it's a safe bet we'll see the update tomorrow. Check below for the full text of the post.

It’s no secret that at doubleTwist, we’re constantly working on improving the design and usability of our apps. You can read about our long design process for something as ‘simple’ as an Alarm Clock app – we are still very proud of doubleTwist Alarm, and its success! For our latest major release, the newly updated doubleTwist player, I’d like to take a little trip down memory lane so I can explain what made us a little slower to introduce this new, ‘Holo’ version of doubleTwist.

When our Android player first came out, Android looked very different:

In fact, it was a given that Android was still in a phase of dynamic and constant change. The user interface of Android was simply struggling to find an identity, a visual style that it could truly own and be recognized by. At doubleTwist, we’d certainly found our own look and feel, but it’s a real challenge for a designer to come up with a design for an application on a platform that hasn’t truly found its own ‘native’ appearance yet. Not only was Android rather garish looking, it was also changing its UI guidelines and styles very often. When we first launched, it had just made several complete U-turns on design guidelines: for instance, where Google at first advised icons to be designed in a slanted, 3D perspective, icons were now to be flat, without any kind of perspective, using minimal decoration. This trend of sudden drastic changes in design styles continued as Android grew older: the system font for Android changed, green and orange highlight colors were phased out, and with Android version 3.0 a new design style called ‘Holo’ was introduced. I was very interested in Holo: I felt like the design team at Google was on to something with its simple lines and flat surfaces.

However, as you may be able to understand from our history (and Android’s!), we were reluctant to adopt an entirely new design style for doubleTwist. We hadn’t simply pushed out a design and maintained its appearance: as Android shifted in its user interface conventions and appearance, we tried our best to change with it and look like we belonged and fit in, without investing too much into the visual style of a single Android release.

Fortunately for us and all developers, Google stuck to Holo – and while it is refining the style, its basic concepts and core principles remain somewhat consistent. We’ve waited long enough: it’s time for doubleTwist to adapt. We’ve heard your requests and Google’s and we’re now pushing out what is the first part of a major redesign: the Holo Release, stage 1.

We haven’t simply adopted Holo, but worked to incorporate everything great about Google’s latest and best designs to bring doubleTwist fully in line with their conventions and design patterns. Navigation throughout the app now uses the Up button, we use the system action bar with accessible actions for any screen (for instance, switching between methods of viewing albums in Album view), but we haven’t lost our smooth and good-looking dark style in the process. We took a lot of care to balance the clean and crisp look of Holo with our own aesthetic and I think it turned out fantastic.

doubleTwist Player now has a whole slew of new screens that work in both portrait and landscape, with often optimized layouts for landscape devices and usage modes.

But hopefully you’ll also see smaller changes: with the care we put into typographically redesigning every single view and changing the color and layout to be more pleasing, something as simple as a list view of songs now looks fantastic. We really minded the details: even though we had very intensely custom-designed alert dialogs and prompts in the past, but we’ve completely redesigned these to be Holo-compliant. Our new alerts are lightweight and designed with clean, well laid out typography and with occasional use of color highlights.

All in all, we left no stone untouched. From the basic look and feel of icons in the main grid view, to the actual little app icon, to the smoothness of animations, we’ve worked very hard to make this new, lighter and redesigned doubleTwist a pleasure to use and feel absolutely perfectly at home on Android – right now, and in the future.

We have more drastic changes and improvements planned for the future that will bring the doubleTwist experience to even more devices. We are also optimizing doubleTwist for larger screens and devices to create a stellar app that will blow you away. We hope you expect nothing less from us.

doubleTwist is handcrafted with ❤ in San Francisco.

[doubleTwist Blog]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • hoobdeebla


    • hoobdeebla


  • ProductFRED

    That's not Holo; that's just flattened graphics. Apollo/Now Playing are truly Holo. Don't get me wrong, it's closer to Holo than it was before, but I find a lot of developers saying their apps use Holo when they only use a menu softkey, or something like that.

    • hoobdeebla

      Now that I think about it, I agree with you 100%.

    • Jezz_X

      I completely agree this is not holo this is Actionbar

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      Yeah, it's not even the Holo font.

      • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

        You mean Roboto. But yeah, I agree.

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          Oops, quite right. Doh.

    • Laurence

      I would classify this as Holo. I think you guys have too narrow a conception of what "Holo" is. It doesn't mean that everything has to use Roboto or cards or #33b5e5.

      This app is clearly optimised for Android 4.0+; it correctly uses ICS UI conventions such as the action bar, spinners, and the up button; furthermore, it has destroyed Gingerbread elements such as the hardware menu button of shame. In my opinion, that is Holo.

      So what if it uses some textures on the Action Bar? Holo isn't supposed to be a straitjacket.

      • nsnsmj

        This. Even Google itself has said developers should use Holo as a place to start and customize their apps to fit their brands, if they so choose. There's nothing wrong with going 100% Holo, but seeing the normal Holo light or dark in some apps is a bit boring nowadays.

        The card style like Google uses in it's own apps now are still Holo, but it's Google's own take on it. It's unique. This is DoubleTwist's take on it.

        Anyway, I think Apollo and Now Playing are kinda boring, mainly because they are mostly plain Holo.

        • bwrz

          You are right, Holo is a place to start. Doubletwist is more like using it like a place to end. This is more like an iOS-Holo hybrid, a lot of apps do that... I don't like it. But they are trying, at least. So, welcome to the new version.

          PD. The actual Doubletwist blog post says it is just the stage 1 of this redesign. So they know they have a lot of work to get to the Holo experience.

        • PhoenixPath

          Starting from Holo and ending up somewhere else...is not Holo.

          Google may address this, which is just fine, but the headline...is still incorrect.

      • bwrz

        I wouldn't classify this as Holo. To me, it is more like you have a very wide and open conception of what "Holo" is. Holo style is defined from icons to colors, spaces, grids, fonts, sizes, the subtle depth, patterns gestures and, even, the writing style. The whole experience. If there is something that goes totally against the holo style, I would say glossy gradients. This is closer to holo, yeah, but it still isn't holo.

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    • reverend_house

      From the Android Design Site:

      "To promote greater cohesion between all apps on the platform, Android provides three system themes that you can choose from when building apps for Ice Cream Sandwich:

      Holo Light
      Holo Dark
      Holo Light with dark action bars

      Applying these themes will go a long way in helping you to build apps that fit right into the general visual language of Android.

      Pick the system theme that best matches the needs and design aesthetics for your app. **If your desire is to have a more distinct look for your app, using one of the system themes as a starting point for your customizations is a good idea. The system themes provide a solid foundation on top of which you can selectively implement your own visual stylings.**"

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  • CharlesVT

    TBH, I used doubletwist and loved it's wireless sync a lot until Google Music got it's update. Now I just stick to Google's own music app because it does everything I need to and is the default app, so no need to download another one or a new one. If doubletwist had an amaaazing equalizer, or any other needed feature google music didn't have, however, I'd reconsider. I just can't think of a use for it yet =/

    • Jay T

      Same. The new Play Music app is pretty good.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        Yeah, I fell in love with it pretty quickly. And I don't even have a subscription.

        • Jay T

          Me neither. I can't get a subscription in Australia. They've just nailed the basics of how a music player should work, though, so I just use it for all my music which is stored locally, and synced of a NAS at home.

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            The same goes for me, minus the NAS thing. I live in Brazil. I didn't use doubleTwist before, though, I used to use BubbleUPnP.

          • Jay T

            I used doubleTwist before I switched to Play Music. It's good, but not as clean and fast as Play Music.

  • Could be Anyone

    Still prefer player pro since I found double twist interface to be not as clean and simple since I don't use a lot of album art and neither care for it.

  • Albin Hermansson

    Now, if only PlayerPro...

    Seriously, they haven't ever redesigned their app and I'm getting real tired of the Gingerbread Custom look...

    • Could be Anyone

      We all are and I was hoping it would get a redesign in its latest update but I guess that is hoping for too much.

      • Bloodflame87

        PlayerPro has always been one of my favourite music players, and even though they have a couple ICS skins, it's still not enough. Who knows - maybe the dev is going the route of doubleTwist and just waiting to see how Holo plays out over a period of time to decide when to take the plunge, or it's also possible that the entire app is being re-written from scratch and will eventually relaunch even more awesome than ever. That said, it's also possible that no major changes are planned, and we'll just be stuck with what we have, maybe with the odd bugfix here and there. In any case, PlayerPro has had it's time to shine in the spotlight (think ADW and LauncherPro), and it's nice to see a lot of new music players joining the Play Store ranks (comparitive to Nova and Apex taking the reign for launchers). All the same could be said for Poweramp, which I would classify as PlayerPro's closest competitor. It's good to have choice, and it's sometimes good for replacements to come along. In the end, it's us end-users who win in the end. If that means I gotta pay $4-5 every couple of years for a new music player or a new launcher, that's fine by me. It's a small price to pay for apps I use every day, and I'm happy to support the developers.

  • bwrz

    Definitely, not Holo.

  • Jorge

    Bought the itunes sync feature when I sold my ipod touch a year ago or so to find out you also had to pay to use the equalizer and then pay again if you want to download the covers.

    If someone asks me, I would never recomend this app. You can just go ahead and use play music or n7 wich is great.

    • TornZero

      I use SnapPea for my iTunes syncing, and Apollo or VLC for playing the media on my phone. I moved from an iPod Touch to the HTC One, and while I found DoubleTwist and iSyncr and all that (didn't buy either), SnapPea is ultimately much better.

      While it doesn't have a built-in media player on Android (its applications are purely for management and syncing over Wi-Fi or USB) all you need is... any media player. Anything. Oh, and it's free. No hidden costs or anything.

  • Graham Healy

    I just wish Google would release an API which would allow dedicated music apps to tap into your Google Play Music and stream to that, I love DT I just wish I could stream my music using that instead of Play Music as theirs some fundamental flaws.

  • evertjr

    I don't think all apps have to be full "holo". Of course there is a guideline for navigation and menus placement but no all apps have to be gmail or google+ ripoff, it's just ridiculous, developers should be free to design how their apps should look like, not just release another white and flat app...

  • http://www.facebook.com/leonardob0880 Leonardo Baez

    i am the only one who sees zune logo?

  • OmarioAmriky

    not holo