13
Oct
nexusae0_wm_1

If you take a look at the mockup below (featured in this article), created by our very own Liam Spradlin, you'll see what we strongly believe the Android 4.4 homescreen is going to look like. New icons, transparent notification bar and nav buttons, and a stronger emphasis on white. Personally, I'm a big fan - Android 4.4 is cleaning up a lot of the messy, heavy-handed Tron-esque styling that hung on in the transition from Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich.

nexusae0_wm_1 p043fbQ

Left: Android 4.4 [AP mockup], right: Android 4.3

A recent leak from TuttoAndroid basically lines up with what we're seeing here, and if Google is messing around with the look of the launcher, we can be reasonably certain the rest of the OS (and as time goes on, more of Google's own apps) will adopt a similar aesthetic. The blacks and gray gradients of Holo seem to be out, and softer edges and white / light gray seem to be in, a la Google Now.

So, do you like the new look? Hate it? Absolutely and utterly could not care less? Vote, and fight it out in the comments below.

Based on what we've seen, is Android 4.4 a visual improvement over 4.3?

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David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • fsdgasdg

    the 4.4 design is much cleaner and flatter
    #HOLOYOLO

    • infogulch

      The lines and shapes look... softer.

      • Crispin Swickard

        Think its mostly due to less drop shadow on things.

    • Wam31

      Flatter, yes, but is it better? I, for one, dont think so.
      I like the transparency in the notification bar but the phone and app drawer icons are not an upgrade IMO (dare I say they even look ugly).
      As a general rule I very much prefer dark themes than light ones...

      Edit: background should have been the same on both screens for a better comparison

      • Carsten Dietzel

        I'm with you about the phone icon. That think won't fit to any head..

      • bL4Ck

        I personally don't care about icons, when 4.4 will be released most mainstream launchers will be updated reflecting the stock experience (i.e. Nova, Apex, etc.), so i'll just install one of these and use an icon pack.

        • Joris Griffioen

          I'm not sure that'll work with the Google Now integration though .. that's a pretty strong win for GEL.

    • Shawn T

      What happened to the camera icon? It looks so out of place. It has too much depth compared to the other icons on the dock.

  • Toblerone

    I'm difficult and need a third option. :-)
    YES - the transparent things and background in app drawer is awesome/perfect.
    NO - the dots showing which home screen and Google Now screen is bad.

    • Alexander Terry

      thouse dots are a bit messy, but they line up nicely qwith the app draw button.
      what ever you like and dislike.

    • Casin

      Why are the dots and Google Now screen bad?
      Also, what if instead of long press to add a widget, you could tap anywhere on the screen to add a widget?

      • blahmoomoo

        Sounds like something that would be way too easy to accidentally trigger. Long press for an action that you don't need to use that often makes more sense. Works perfectly fine in Nova Launcher.

      • martin carlosena

        I love the dots :D

      • JonJJon

        When I first saw the dots I saw touchwiz pop up in my mind which I don't like, but I haven't seen the dots actually on my Nexus 4 so will decide properly once I've used it. I also think the swipe all the way to the left for Google Now screen is pointless due to the swipe up easy gesture and it reminds me of the old iOS search screen you swiped to (so maybe fanboys will scream copy cat but I don't care about that, also it's probably done this way so that if the launcher is installed on a non nexus device with Google Now capability thenthen people have a less hacked-hardware-button method of getting to it)

        • RitishOemraw

          I like that swipe left for Google now (assuming it works faster than swiping up) Because on my phone the screen left of the middle homescreen is 1 gigantic Google Now Widget (the screen to the left of the google widget screen is empty and I never use it)

          So yeah, it will work perfectly for me if it allows the same quickness the widget provides me currently and maybe some added little features that the widget doesn't provide now)

          • JonJJon

            Hopefully does for your needs indeed, what I want most from the launcher is just performance improvements and more customisable options like Nova provides me with as I'd like to give stock Google launcher a go again but if not I'm sure Nova will update to provide the same aesthetics :)

          • mgamerz

            I wonder if it will be like Motos settings thing where its a single swipe.

    • RitishOemraw

      What would you propose instead of the dots?
      One of the reasons Google likely switched to dots is because the number of homescreens you can have is now dynamic. So in order to know if you are on the third and last homescreen or the 5th from a line of 8 homescreens...the dots work much better to transfer that information faster. The line in 4.3 only works with a fixed number of homescreens

      • Toblerone

        The line works with dynamic amount of home screens too, I use it with Apex... Just make the indication position smaller when you add more screens.

        • Fadakar

          Yeah, Nova. This isn't Nova. Google doesn't give nearly the amount of freedom that Nova gives with their respective launchers.

          • Toblerone

            What does that have to do with line vs dots? :-)

          • Fadakar

            The 4.3 Google launcher does not offer the ability to add more homescreens. Therefore, dots. Just because Nova offers it and makes better use of the line doesn't mean Google had no reason to switch to dots.

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

            You're mad, you can add more homescreens to the default launcher...

          • loveuIndia

            The default line indicator only show up in blue when i am changing my home. Its does not show when you are on a home screen. Dots seems much better

        • Adam Truelove

          The line is so hard to see, it's basically useless. I'd bet most people don't even realize it changes color based on the screen you're on.

        • RitishOemraw

          Yeh it could work with a line too, but it will never be as obvious as dots when you glance at it.

    • senor_heisenberg

      Yeah, this. My thoughts exactly.

    • Allen Byrd

      The Google Now screen is bad, but I like the dots.
      Also, the nav bar and the notification bar should still be black, but I can get used to it.

    • Keegan Choffat

      Dots are okay. I do have a problem with the white clock. I really like the cyan accents in the corner of the screen.

    • RamitSuri

      Google Now screen is the part of the "4.4 experience for all campaign" I guess. With so many different implementations of the navigation buttons, there is no common way to access Google Now. But if you're using GEL( provided its coming to the Play Store near you) on an S4, One, G2, Z1, you access it in a single way.
      There's one more thing I see Google can do in the near future. Navigation back button is redundant in most cases. Only buttons that are needed then are Home and Multitasking which can be implemented using the Google Now gesture. I feel we might move to a button-less UI in the future. That'd be really cool.

      • mgamerz

        As a developer I disagree with you. This isn't iOS.

      • Ryan Stewart

        No, no it wouldn't. While people complain about real-estate I like the OS controlled interface. Its standard, so you dont get stuck in some poorly built app that decides they want you to stand on your head and shake the phone to go back.

      • mikeym0p

        Very good observation I can dig it.
        One of the main reasons I only buy phones with on screen buttons is because I want access to Now from everywhere. I still dont see why OEMs dont emulate the swipe up with capacitive buttons considering their logical implementation is VERY close to how On-screen buttons work.
        Swiping up from the HTC logo on the HOne would be awesome. Because of this inconsistency, many of my friends with S3/4's and HTC phones dont even know Google Now exists, because it's much harder to discover.

        • Joris Griffioen

          You can swipe up from the home button on the HTC One.

      • Joris Griffioen

        Hell to the no. That back button is a huge deal for user-control over an app. The fact that the implementation is sometimes wonky is another think, but having a set button to go back is just as important as a set button to go home.

        I don't want Google to leave it to developers who will implement all kinds of retarded solutions. Try opening a photo fullscreen in iOS and then going back, I dare you. THAT is dumb design.

    • Jesse

      I agree about the dots. I only have 3 screens on my tablet, and 5 on my phone. I know what screen I'm on because of what I put on those screens. I don't really need dots telling me what screen I'm on. Looks much cleaner without them.

      • james kendall

        I like the dot's they provide a nice visual reference for when you reach the neutral home/middle screen.

  • Nick

    I think it's the step in the right direction, but the style seems incomplete still and needs more work.

    • thartist

      Visual updates in Android are always extremely half-assed and random!

      They only push forward a handful of bits selected under god-only-knows what priority, and leave behind whole apps, interfaces, dialogs, icons, colors, settings, etc, that blatantly kick your eyeballs on the first 10 second of using your phone and have been outdated since Gingerbread.

      That's one of the most puzzling aspects of Android.

      • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

        I still able to see a 2.3 styled popup poping in my face on Android 4.3. That is just awkward.

  • Reuben

    i would say yes, butttt... dat dialer icon :/

    • Phil Oakley

      Might not be final.

      • Reuben

        well let's hope not

    • Matt

      Yeah, I'm trying to think of what it reminds me of; maybe a paperclip? Either way, the JB icon isn't exactly gorgeous, but it's definitely better than whatever that's moving towards.

    • Roberto Giunta

      It's ONE SINGLE icon. People are never satisfied.

      • Reuben

        i'm just having a laugh mate... although it is pretty terrible

        • Roberto Giunta

          To be really honest, I like it because it's kinda... bad? I don't know, I like unique looking icons :) Besides, I nearly never see the stock Android icons because I use this icon pack: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.launchertheme.kxnt.ui

          • lowert

            I've never been a huge fan of these custom icon packs, they just take away the feel of the Android ecosystem by some means.

          • Roberto Giunta

            I however like the diversity the Android ecosystem gives :) Don't like the icons? Change it. Don't like the transparent bar? Change it.

          • Reuben

            yeah, i use icon packs also. it really isn't a big deal.

          • martin carlosena

            You like it cause it's kinda bad... Hahahahaha I'm going to have to agree with you. I like unique things

      • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

        At least it's just one icon... *cough*iOS 7*cough*

        • Marsg

          speak for yourself i really like the new look especially that new iTunes icon

          • Brandon Woo

            Lol, I actually have that phone in my house, and my daughter, who uses it, is probably a lot more knowledgeable about smartphones than any iphone user. :P

        • ALdk

          iOS 7 is Apple's icons at their worst and they still look way better than any icons Google has put out

          • Ryan Stewart

            You're high if you could say that the safari icon is anything but a joke.

            Being said, its not like it matters. I just need an icon to reliably tell me what app I am opening.

        • Kenny Strawn

          Agreed, iOS 7's icons became childish, and many of its apps (not to mention the now blurred-transparent Notification Center, even more so than it already was to begin with) became Android knockoffs...

    • sadfa

      If you watch the video again, it has the original icon. I think someone is trolling with that dialer icon

      • http://www.blackeco.com/ Axel Leroy

        Which video are you talking about ?
        Remember that the leaks aren't from the same build, some may be older than others.

        • Christopher Mason

          And in the video he stayed on Launcher2 without opening the Google Experience Launcher...

  • Phil Oakley

    Hoping the widgets get overhauled too. A DashClock-like Gmail widget would be awesome.

  • nawa

    Google Now screen is bad. Removal of widgets from drawer is bad (yes, I'm the minority). Mostly everything else is good. So, I'll stick with the third option. :)

  • http://www.blackeco.com/ Axel Leroy

    I need a "Too iOS-y for me" option.
    Seriously, the bubble page indicator and the "left search screen" is too iOS-y. #HOLOYOLO #NexusWarrior

    (But I'll use Action Launcher Pro anyway)

    • someone755

      The GNow screen is perfect for many. I know I'll use it a lot. And the bubble pager was there in Gingerbread (and before, I think). Just not in the center, and people loved it.
      People like Sammy's launcher (with huge-ass numbers instead of cute and playful dots)...

      • http://www.blackeco.com/ Axel Leroy

        Oh yeah, I totally forgot about the bubbles in Gingerbread.
        But IMO, the addiction of the left-side search is way too much, there are already the swipe-down movement and the the search bar widget.

        • someone755

          Maybe an option to remove one or even both will be available? Frankly, I'd prefer a fullscreen widget over an app that needs 3 seconds to load.

    • shattr

      The dots are more Android then anything. In froyo there were dots on each side of the dock, and in the touchwiz version there were dots exactly like these at the top of the screen. I like it.

      • Simon Belmont

        It'd be cooler if they brought back those FroYo style dots. It was unique and less iOS-y.

        Personally, I liked the fading blue line that indicated pagination in Android 4.3. We'll see what happens.

    • Ben Weaver

      I was thinking the same thing. Left search screen...dynamic homescreens. The launcher is giving off the familiarity of iOS. I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing IF your goal is to bring iOS users over to Android.

      Ill stick with other launchers...but I will at least try it out when 4.4 is released.

    • Shitiz Garg

      I never got this, how is being "too iOS-y" or too "Android-y" a bad thing? One should judge on whether it's better looking/functioning or not...

  • someone755

    It's alright, I guess, but I chose the third option, but I also need to comment, so I'm writing this.

  • TheSparks

    The status bar looks nice when it is transparent along with those white icons. Hope they allow it to be transparent when other apps are open too.

    • someone755

      They won't. Transparency is a launcher thing, not a system one. At least as far as custom ROMs based on 4.2/4.3 go. Might change, tho.

    • http://www.blackeco.com/ Axel Leroy

      IMO it will only be available to apps that reponds to the Launcher Intent.

  • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

    Glad they didn't pull an Apple and make everything look like a toy. The nav bar and status bar transparency is a huge improvement on its own.

    • someone755

      The new dialer and 'all apps' icons kinda make it toyish. Plus those circles...

      • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

        But not as bad and not EVERYTHING

        • someone755

          True. Though I kinda like the way iOS7 looks now. Gives something completely different than MS and Google. Though I do get dizzy when watching all those in-out animations...

          • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

            People are switching from wanting 'realistic' to wanting flat design. iOS7 delivered. I threw up when I turned on an iphone at my work.
            I don't really know many people who are happy about it. My boss was in the hall complaining about the changes with 3 other people. Each complaint was something that was an option or could be fixed with a rom on android. So i was laughing to myself.

          • arturodelac

            I love those animations I wish my nexus 4 had better animations

          • someone755

            You can mod it to that extent and even further, but I always get sick of them...

          • Nicklas

            I'd like some more info on that if you have any.

          • arturodelac

            That would be great

          • someone755

            I don't. I would give you tons of examples back with GingerBread, but for now, I have nothing. But it probably is possible, seeing as you can mod anything...

          • Nicklas

            Probably not impossible, but i bet it'd be a lot of work. I've done some heavy googling but found nothing related.

  • ‘Casper Henne Andersen

    It looks freaking awesome, cant wait to get it in my hands on my N4!

  • Roberto Giunta

    Overall a very good direction. I'd still prefer a general "Go Holo Dark" option but I like it. Can't wait to order my Nexus 5.

  • Ivan

    No, for new name... I expected more... Disappointed!

    • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

      I kind of agree but, I think we're going to see less and less visual upgrades. Android is more or less finding its place in design. The background upgrades are pretty exciting though.

      • someone755

        I just hope that Dalvik optimization is in this one :I

  • ElfirBFG

    I only ever have one homescreen, hide the navbar and use Min icons, so I wouldn't really notice the changes. I like the transparent soft keys.

  • Andrew

    It's alright with me, but if you don't like it... there's always launchers in the play store that you can download :)
    That's why android is awesome, if you don't like it, change it.

  • Kr0z

    They want to keep it the same because the same always worked before..

    • someone755

      They want to keep it the same, yet change it completely. And, TBH, they actually did it.

  • Laborin_HK

    Generally better, but the icons look horrible, luckily its easily changable

  • Nick

    Hell yes, I already themed my nexus 4 to match using carbon.
    http://i.imgur.com/E2OnsmK.png

    • Nicklas

      That's beautiful. What ROM are you rockin'?

  • Hans Gruber

    I'm...confused.
    How are you going to be able to tell if it's connected to google services if the icons dont change to pretty blue!

    • Jooyoung Hong

      maybe from grey to white?

      • Andrea

        That's what they said some time ago.

        • Hans Gruber

          i've only ever seen them white in all the pictures/leaks

  • DarkJohn

    I have to say I expected more. I for one, like changes, I get bored quickly and changes make things fun and exciting and kinda 'new' even though you're using the same thing, like an app, say whatsapp, or when facebook changes.

    • Crispin Swickard

      This is easily the most visual changes since 4.0, but its not enough? Sure its not ground up, but seems to be plenty enough update to make things feel fresh. At least for a little while at least.

  • spydie

    get transparent notification/status bar with Next Launcher NOW on your Note 3

  • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

    finally a proper transparent status bar

  • Guest

    I don't like the persistent page indicator ala Samsung etc, or the round app icons including the tray one. The dialer one as well of course, but I can understand why they did it to fit in with the round icons. Being that it is a quarter of a circle itself.

    I love that i won't have to keep with nothing but blue as my primary wallpaper color since it would clash with the system colors, and as well I really like the non solid bars as this will also showcase wallpapers as well.

    Since I have been using Nova Launcher since its pre store beta days I will be able to fix my icon woes, and most likely the page indicators depending on what they do. Most likely they will undoubtedly provide me with an option for a happy medium. :)

  • Guest

    I don't like the persistent page indicator ala Samsung etc, or the round app icons including the
    tray one. The dialer one as well of course, but I can understand why they did it to fit in with the round icons. Being that it is a quarter of a circle itself.

    I love that I won't have to keep blue as my primary wallpaper color since it would clash with the system colors, and as well I really like the non solid bars as this will also showcase wallpapers as well.

    Since I have been using Nova Launcher since its pre store beta days I will be able to fix my icon woes, and most likely the page indicators depending on what they do. Most likely they will undoubtedly provide me with an option for a happy medium. :) Even know I have changed my icons to more squared including the folder image which I like, and will probably keep with.

  • Illiuminatum

    So there will be no SMS support in stock rom? :|

    • Crispin Swickard

      Via hangouts now, yes.

    • TheSparks

      Probably SMS will be supported by Hangouts. Its partly confirmed with some leaks we have seen earlier. Its good to have messaging unified :)

    • lordops

      I think that is the hangouts app now so it serves as both the SMS app and the hangouts app

    • Hans Gruber

      i've been dicking around today to make myself a flashable messaging apk :/
      i refuse to use hangouts, it's horrible...ugly...a mess...ugh

  • http://www.smsnetwork.org/ Mikael Jakobsson

    is to low diffrens for say yes is a relly low diffrens is mest icones for the phone i should say.
    Galaxy S4 Samsung own 4.3 is look very close like that.

  • Ivaylo Stoyanov

    440 LEAK IT

  • Crispin Swickard

    I don't like the persistent page indicator ala Samsung etc, or the round app icons including the
    tray one. The dialer one as well of course, but I can understand why they did it to fit in with the round icons. Being that it is a quarter of a circle itself.

    I love that I won't have to keep blue as my primary wallpaper color since it would clash with the system colors, and as well I really like the non solid bars as this will also showcase wallpapers as well.

    Since I have been using Nova Launcher since its pre store beta days I will be able to fix my icon woes, and most likely the page indicators depending on what they do. Most likely they will undoubtedly provide me with an option for a happy medium. :) Even know I have changed my icons to more squared including the folder image which I like, and will probably keep with.

    I am all for a visual refresh. After looking mostly the same for nearly 2 years, Android would feel refreshed again. I am all for change as long as they aren't negative, and most seems pretty positive to me.

  • Michael Fontenot

    Alright enough leaks. For better or worse, it's time for this update to happen.

  • Dakkan

    Yes: less busy.

  • BMG91001

    It's only a matter of time before the Holo Dark people complain of the "white-ness"

    • Hans Gruber

      it's too bright on my eyes, i want everything black like my N900 was :(

      • soy

        I'd love everything to be as customisable as the n900. i havent loved a phone as much as i loved the n900

        • Hans Gruber

          RIP nokia.

    • Jadephyre

      They already do, and i'm all too happy to join them.
      I hate white websites when i'm sitting in front of my PC as they make my eyes hurt and I don't like how Google is appearently aping Apple in terms of UI colors.

  • http://www.ellianth.com Ellianth

    I feel like people will just vote yes, no matter how bad they think something is because it's official.

    • Nabeel Farooqui

      nope

  • Nabeel Farooqui

    Why can't Google give us different 'themes' to choose from, that way, it wont matter if its positive or negative since we'd be able to switch! And personally I like it.

  • BrianLipp

    Hey, whats wrong with Tron?

    Anyway, i like the black/blue stylings because my last 2 phones (Gnex and now Moto X) use Amoled, which means the more black there is the less battery is being used on the screen.

    • Simon Belmont

      I actually was thinking about this, too (I use a G'Nex as well). The black parts of the navigation and notification bar that are now transparent will use a tad bit more power on an AMOLED screen as well (currently, they're black and thus use no power with AMOLED).

      Overall, though, I don't think battery life will take much of a hit. If anything, Android 4.4 will probably have better battery life in general.

      • Crispin Swickard

        We will find out if there is any back end changes for battery improvement. As I am looking at my battery usage screen, and the display is 43%, and OS is 6%, and system is 5% I don't know how much optimizations they could due to extend life, but any improvement is of course welcome.

        Now if they can do optimizations for more system operation smoothness on our aging GNexes I am all for it even though 4.3 has done wonders in the consistence of system smoothness some animations, and things tend to be a little less than I hope they could be.

        • Simon Belmont

          They definitely did improvements on battery life in Android 4.3. There was a noticeable difference from Android 4.2.2 and Android 4.3 on my G'Nex, at least. Never had an issue with Android 4.0 - 4.2's battery life, but Android 4.3 has that something extra. They definitely did something.

          Honestly, for me, I've been happy with the smoothness of my G'Nex. Android 4.3 has been smooth as glass for me. I'm sure it depends on what you're running and so forth, though. Of course, I am a power user and use my phone A LOT. Hoping for further improvements in that and the battery department in Android 4.4. I plan on getting a Nexus 5, but my trusty G'Nex will get updated along side it and be a loyal backup phone.

          • arturodelac

            I don't think the gn is getting kit kat

          • Simon Belmont

            It very well could. The hardware is more than capable of running it and Google, themselves, even said they'd keep updating their devices as long as they handled it well.

            Besides all the Nexus phones since the Nexus One have seen at least three dessert/sweets. Nexus One had Eclair, FroYo, and Gingerbread. Nexus S had Gingerbread, ICS, and Jelly Bean. So it makes sense for the Galaxy Nexus to at least see ICS, Jelly Bean, and Kit Kat.

          • arturodelac

            Its actually two years until a new device comes out nexus one didnt get ics(GN) nexus s got stuck on 4.1 when the nexus 4 came out

          • Simon Belmont

            Well, if we're splitting hairs. It hasn't been quite two years yet for the G'Nex.

            The Nexus One lacked the storage space to hold the ROM of ICS. If you remember, custom ROMs had to offload partitions of it to the SD card. The Nexus S got stuck on Android 4.1 because it lacked the RAM to run Android 4.2 well (remember, it only had 384 MB of RAM to work with, 128MB went to the GPU). Yes, people with custom ROMs will say it runs fine, but it didn't pass Google's quality test, apparently. The Galaxy Nexus still has potent hardware, even almost two years later. One gigabyte of RAM should be plenty, especially if RAM usage has been toned done in KitKat and it has plenty of storage space.

  • Simon Belmont

    I'll miss the Holo Cyan. But I have to say after seeing the design language more thoroughly in the recent leaks, it's definitely growing on me. There are a couple iOS-esque changes that I don't really care for, but they aren't terrible. The Spotlight-like Google Now/Search screen, and the dots for pagination indicators come immediately to mind (I just prefer Android 4.3's lines).

    Overall, though, it's not a huge departure from Android 4.3 at any rate. It's enough to be noticeable, but not so much that it offends. So, for now, I'll say, yes it's an improvement. I'll mark that "yes" with an "I'm actually more interested in how the actual UI has been improved in workflow scenarios, if anything" for clarity sake.

  • Karan O

    only status bar is permanent/HARD TO CHANGE and the rest is FULLY CHANGEABLE and that's not bad at all!

    i LOVE White Status bar icons BUt i would loved a IOS 7/WHITE sense 5 like battery icon , this battery icons seems a bit old!

    ACTION BAR and 4.4 = infinite Happiness! :D

    • mesmorino

      The search bar is also permanent.

      • Crispin Swickard

        Not with a launcher, and they seem to have no issue using launchers, and such to customize the experience.

      • Karan O

        nope it's a launcher THING!

  • Dehaha1

    Yeah... I'm difficult and need a third option...

    The bar becoming dots, I don't really care either way, as long as I can press the dots to go to that homescreen.

    The "App Menu" button looks horrid, to say the least. Keep it as it is, or get rid of the circle around it or whatever, but that transparent circle behind it looks so bad, that I would put on a launcher just to get rid of it.

    The always there Google Now homescreen... once again, I would get a launcher just to get rid of that,as it's just idiotic. I can slightly deal with a non-infinite scrolling homescreen, but Google Now is just a swipe up from the bottom anywhere, why does it need to assert itself on the leftmost screen of my device.

    Other than that though, I love the transparent nav-bars, would prefer the nav-text to stay blue, and don't like the new dialer, it just looks silly.

    • Dehaha1

      Also, please oh please give us the option for Holo Dark, I know it you guys like following the new Light design language, but I much prefer black than white.

  • YodaRocks

    While it is better in some regards like the vanishing of the line that divided the screen and the gradient is smoother. But I don't like the white battery and time icons. They aren't intuitive like the current ones are. And that new phone icon is hideous to say the least.

  • Simon Belmont

    You know what I'd really love? Stock Android control of the LED notification light.

    Light Flow is great, but Nexus devices have been using RGB LEDs for notifications for years now. Time to add that in (even if it's a hidden developer menu), Google.

    • Drew M

      I agree. I don't understand why they've bothered to use multi-color LEDs if they aren't going to put them to proper use.

    • Ryan Stewart

      Originally I thought they really should just hire/buy out the guy behind Lightflow but now I'm not so sure. He has been aggressively keeping up with new apps that give notifications and working on his UI. Plus bug reports go directly to him and you get a direct response instead of dealing with Google's support.

      The app gets more attention when he is behind it. Id be afraid that if Google took it over it could end up like Google voice "good enough" and they neglect it for years, letting it fall behind.

      • Simon Belmont

        Oh, I totally give credit where it's due on the developer of the Light Flow app. His app is great and I've been using it for a long time.

        I just kind of wish Google could just make a simple "choose this color for this notification picker with a RGB color selector, at this flashing/pulsing interval" and be done with it. It doesn't even have to be nearly as fancy as Light Flow, but just be basic and integrated into the OS.

    • Nolan Seibel

      I am just afraid that the Nexus 5 will only have a white LED, like the Nexus 7&10. The Nexus 4 has a RGB, which is great, but it is currently the only Nexus in the family to be graced with one. Having just a white LED is about as useless at telling you what notification you have waiting as the tiny Orange/Green LED that HTC puts in their phones.

      Tl;Dr : I really hope that the Nexus 5 has a RGB LED and doesn't follow the family trend of having only a white LED like the Nexus 7 & 10.

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        Actually the Nexus 10 does have an RGB LED, so the New Nexus 7 is the only outlier in that regard (so far). That being said, I hope the N5 has one too.

        • Simon Belmont

          Agreed. I'd be extremely surprised if LG didn't throw in the RGB LED light.

          They put one into the Nexus 4, so there's no reason not to for the Nexus 5. Plus, virtually all Nexus phones (save for the Nexus S) have had an RGB LED light.

      • Simon Belmont

        Ha. Liam beat me to it, but he's 100% correct.

        The N10 is RGB, and the N7 is white. In fact, I have no idea why they used white in the N7 because everything else is RGB and the Nexus 5's likely will be too (can't imagine they'd change that standard considering the same company made the Nexus 4 and IT had an RGB LED).

      • YOLO

        The nexus 10 has RGB i have one i know for experience!

  • Sanjeet Kumar

    4.4 in my opinion is not about just the visual appeal but, as the launch will surely (in my opinion) show, it's about bringing a unified google experience to all android phones. a'la GEL, hangouts , and publishing of more and more apps to the play store. Now no matter which phone you have. you'll be close to the nexus experience. bye bye ram hogging custom manufacturer UI full of inconsistencies.

    • Sanjeet Kumar

      also I won't be surprised if they add support for icon packs in GEL.

      • whispy_snippet

        I doubt that very much. The purpose of a GEL seems to be about pushing a consistent Android experience to users, not giving them more options to customise and fragment the experience.

    • jak_341

      I still think you will have manufacturer UIs. This is what differentiates between the different OEMs. However, I do think you will be able to get a Google 'launched from the store, should you want a stock Android experience.

    • whispy_snippet

      The questions are:

      Will the average person a ) bother installing a new Google experience launcher on their skinned phone, b ) keep the launcher installed when it completely changes the look of their phone (picture Joe Consumer going "wtf has happened to my phone? It's all changed. I can't use it anymore.") and c ) even know what a launcher is?

      On the new look of 4.4 (if the mock up is a true representation of what 4.4 will eventually be) I quite like it. On balance it's better than the existing tron styling stuff but surely that new phone dialer icon will go.

  • G

    I would say no. Although we really haven't seen the final version yet. I'm gonna reserve judgement until the final version is shown. I hope to see some great new features in this version and improved security, privacy and overall refinement of the whole os.

  • KoustabhS

    yes specially the status bar's transparent background and transparent background of navigation icon. coz in favor for super amoled display, to reduce blue line screen problems.

  • Android Developer

    i don't like what they did to the phone icon.
    in general , i don't like the flat style, and don't understand why it's the fashion nowadays.
    i mean, we live in a 3d world, why would we prefer to flatten it?
    icons should look more alive , no?
    even the background feels... empty.

    maybe i'm wrong with this and i will be able to get used to it in a short time. thankfully, we can always have icons packs.

    • Walkop

      Matias (#HOLOYOLO) has started that he is actually against flat design. Design that gives the user perceived depth whole being clean and simple, that is his goal. Which is doing pretty well, so far, IMO!

  • http://techxe.com/ iKRAM Abid

    they should not flat it out. if they do then it will be like Appleified. And you hate Apple. ;)

  • Trysta

    I like most of it. The changes are very consistent with the slightly cartoonist Google now ui and the revamp of the play store. I am a HUGE fan of the transparent navbar and notification bar. I think the dots as they're shown here in the mockup look fine but in the actual leak they are too big and too far from the dock taking up a lot of vertical space. I also still wish the persistent Google search bar could be removed. Again needlessly wasting space for the sake of branding I guess.

    I really hope 3rd party launchers will be able to use the same features as the stock launcher.

  • RitishOemraw

    I want an option to remove the Google search bar on top, that is the one thing that ruins my stock home screen. I have more than enough ways to search (swipe up for Google now, or what I usually do (open chrome and type in the url bar)

    With 4.4 swiping to the left most screen is another option....UNLESS they changed that top search bar to actually ONLY open the keyboard and not do any other loading until I press enter, it should be removed! (I hate that when I want to search I first need to load either Google Now or A Chrome tab...that is useless time and power wasted on loading something I don't need, since it will load a new webpage when I press enter)

  • LaughHard

    Transparency bar and whited icons are not really big deal when its compared to aosp or cm or some brilliant x-posed framework modules like gravitybox or tinted status bar.

  • RJM7787

    Those nav buttons are a lot closer to the dock icons in 4.4. That might lead to some accidental presses between the two, especially for people with larger hands. On the plus side, it maximizes screen real estate.

    • Simon Belmont

      The screen on the left is a mock-up. The icons are probably aren't as close in real life.

      In current form, I've actually never accidentally pressed the docked icons versus the navigation buttons (on tablet or phone). Either way, I guess we'll find out soon.

      • RJM7787

        True, you're right. It's best to avoid judgement until google unveils it.

  • Jadephyre

    No, and the thing I hate most are the dots indicating on which screen you are.

  • szabox

    The new UI looks like a touchwiz-aosp mashup :D

  • Kishan

    I don't think its just Visual. I believe there may be performance improvements as well overall.

  • geekingtastic

    Well I do say the dialer and camera icon to show some wear. Kinda like Microsoft and using the floppy icon.

  • Emily Casale

    Theres more space, it looks like they dropped everything down.

  • EveryTom

    Black-to-transparent gradients aren't needed I think.
    PLUS Swipe to left screen to search = iOS < 7

    • RitishOemraw

      I'm with ya on the gradients....they ruin white wallpapers in some cases (though I wonder how that will work with white status indicator/wifi signal/etc in the top bar...is this the end of white wallpapers on my phone?)

      I like the idea of swipe left for GNOW, but that is because my current homescreens are set up like that (with a widget on the left most homescreen that I actually use)

    • miri

      I'd think of it more as a reverse lock screen: Rather than camera on the right of the main screen and widgets extending left, it's Google Now (not just search, which is available on all screens) to the left and home screens extending right.

  • RitishOemraw

    Forgot to mention this:

    But do we have rumors or confirmation that the back button missing pixel has been fixed?

  • Chris Caldwell

    If your going to make a comparison, you should probably put the wallpaper to blue on the 4.3 side so that your really looking apples to apples. Many people, including you I think, have a hard time ignoring something like that, and I think thats where most of your "tron" feeling comes from. I wouldnt consider changing the wallpaper "customizing".

  • tony

    My HTC one is great and is super clean. Dont understand why most androids dont take after it and why they are still so unorganized

    • Walkop

      Uhm... what?

    • BozzyB

      first your HTC should place its home button in the middle...

      • someone755

        You can do that with custom kernels...

        • Nicklas

          Not reliably. The logo itself isn't clickable, you're actually clicking the display just above it. You have to tap right above the logo to actually hit correctly. It's annoying and doesn't always work. I've learned to live with the stock button setup, it's not that bad after a while.

          • someone755

            Not reliably, but you can...
            You either learn to live with the default setup or change your phone. Or use the crippled way of doing it...

    • Jim Nosrati

      Those both make me want to vomit. You and I have different definitions of "clean" and "organized".

      • Sahil Chaturvedi

        Agreed. Both are ugly, and cluttered.
        Some of my friends actually prefer Sense 4 over stock! WHAT? -_-

        • someone755

          I acltually prefer Android 2.2 and Sense 2 (I think) over anything else. That thing was SWEET.

    • someone755

      I for one only have the dock icons on my homescreen. The GNow widget is optional, but other than that, I keep it clean...
      You, however, do not.

  • Di Lu

    Transparent bars did it for me, a big improvement.

  • robert wilson

    unfortunately, 4.4 with htc sense will probably look about the same as 4.3 with htc sense.

  • Mo3tasm

    I like the idea that they kept it 4.x, that should mean 5.x would be realllllllllly different...

  • http://zmyaro.com/ Gamer_Z.

    My biggest complaint is the app icons. Making some of the icons larger makes them look even more visually unbalanced, and using 3D renderings as icons does not fit in with the flat styles in the rest of Holo. I would like to see Android follow the Chrome app icon guidelines.

  • AlecShern

    The dots seem like a copy from iOS, and people seem to like those so.

  • Ender

    I really don't like how the icons look bigger and quite different, it's just a major turn off for me. I have a Nexus 7 (2013) though, so hopefully I will get used to it over time. If not, I can just get a custom launcher, that's the beauty of Android :D

  • Shadow Pritchard

    Yes I like it. I have wanted a lighter theme. not that I don't like black just lighter colors seem to be more "playful". I just don't care for the app drawer button. So minor it doesn't matter much but it kinda looks out of place. It isn't transparent and it matches no other color on the screen. but like I said that is very minor and I can put up with that I mean it is ONE icon. I don't dislike it, just do not like it

  • xbukowskyx

    is this really a minor release??? i don't think so :)

    • Nicklas

      Probably not a lot of new features, mostly a design refresh i think. They probably just need something fresh for the next Nexus device. Along with that we'll probably/hopefully see a bunch of stability/animation/lag fixes. In a whole, not such a big update.

  • Janito Vaqueiro Ferreira Filho

    I actually like the ICS tron-like theme =/ Don't get me wrong, KitKat is still pretty, but I'm starting to think if I should start customizing the launcher =)

  • SorinDobrin

    I love the white(neutral) color and the transparency, I flashed AOKP only to get transparency and also to be able to have a white theme. I like to customize my screens, and when creating a specific colored theme and icons, the holo blue notifications icons would stick out like a sore thumb.

  • Chidozie Emelue

    Currently playing with a ROM with active notifications.. and that needs to be for ALL Android... its amazing.. Google is putting themselves in a strange spot because Moto X and Nexus will now be competing.. hopefully in 2 years when im complaining about how slow my N5 is Moto X and Nexus will be the same thing..

    • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

      As I keep pointing out - Google are only competing with the Moto X in America - there's a big world outside of America and Google sell devices in quite a bit of it......

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      But in that case, wouldn't other Android manufacturers complain that Google is giving preference to Moto?
      On the other hand, it may push them to make some better products...

    • andy_o

      Active notifications are good on the Moto X because it's specifically designed for them, and as an OLED screen. There have been apps like NoLED which did similar things in the past, but for LCDs is a pretty significant battery drain.

      • Chidozie Emelue

        i know and im not counting on them to do it, but honestly active notifications is how notifications were meant to be done.

  • Andrzej Głuszak

    A new camera icon would be great.

    • Larizard

      +1

  • Bunchies

    doesnt IOS use the dots for homescreen? i would hate to be reminded of IOS when i look at the dots, either way everything els looks good

  • Omar McFarlane

    Its more of a refinement to me which is good. Oh is it just me or does the icons look a bit larger/

  • Max Barlow

    All the icons in the dock are the same size! Ron would approve.

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      I'm not sure they are, actually :P
      The camera icon is still slightly shorter, and so is the phone icon. Unless I'm just seeing things, haha

  • Danny Kees

    I just hope tablet mode is still workable.

  • MJ Basrawi

    I wouldn't call it an improvement; i will pass it as a tweak!

  • Charles Moore

    Shit Idk im still rocking 4.1.1 on my Note 2

  • Ilikedogs

    Looks the same.

  • Jamin

    Like 4.4 so far but it doesn't look really consistent through the whole system. Anyways why didn't they change the navbar icons?

  • mrjayviper

    what happened to holo inspired icons?

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      Let's hope Google surprises us, because we REALLY need an icon refresh. Lol.

  • BozzyB

    Notification bar from the bottom or the side (wipe in) would be great. Another option would be long press multitasking or back button or so. Its always hard to grab it from the top. (see nova launcher: swipe down on home screen actions) ;)

  • Jeffrey Heesch

    Why would they put a Google Now page at the far left? A swipe up is faster & easier, and the same is true for the search bar at the top of the screen. It seems useless to put it at the left as well.

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      Agreed!

    • Larizard

      I couldn't care less for the search bar to disappear, but yes, swiping up is just waaay faster than having to scroll all the way to the left for Google Now.

      UNLESS you can just say "Ok Google" anywhere in the homescreen and issue voice commands right there and then. ;)

      • Ashish

        I believe they might have something else to assign to the swipe up gesture. May be like iOS 7.

  • alexguitar

    Looks good. What else can you say really?...

  • Will Cooper

    I have always thought that the Market logo seemed a bit off.

  • Josh Mckee

    i think it is BUTT ugly

    • BozzyB

      I understand, you must be still bad tempered from iOS 7

  • Marsg

    Cleaner more minimalistic, icons seem a bit bigger, not sure if i like it or not thoughI (icon size).

  • Sahil Chaturvedi

    "Android 4.4 is cleaning up a lot of the messy, heavy-handed Tron-esque styling that hung on in the transition from Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich."

    I couldn't have said it better myself.

    I LOVE the look, and I really hope this will be happening. :D

    Even though this is just a rendition of what it may look like, it slightly annoys me that the translucency of the app drawer icon is much less than that of the search bar... But let's see how it turns out!

  • Ray

    I really don't like the new Dialer icon.

  • chinna_rao

    i love tron.........!!
    dont tron-esque everything

  • LFB

    I only see a "real" change in the dial icon.

    Sowhat? its only this? Apple had more balls to change a lot of things than only stupid icons.

  • NinoBr0wn

    Could we see it again with the same wallpaper and clock widget in both, since it's a direct comparison?

    • Nicklas

      It's not a fair comparison anyways, it's just a mockup.

      Edit: Mockup from leaks, but still mockups. I'm sure drop-shadows and general positioning is a good bit off.

      • NinoBr0wn

        Doesn't matter that it's a mockup. I just want to see the same setup on both. It makes a big difference visually.

        • Nicklas

          Fair enough

  • sweenish

    That new phone icon is kind of horrific, but one the whole I definitely think it's a visual upgrade.

  • Anthony Walker

    I like the old icons better.

  • jeffrey beck

    I wish they would adopt the Stark icon pack as the default. Check it out on the play store, it is beautiful.

    • feddo

      its shit

  • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

    Looks cleaner... But what happens when you open a app with the back ground of both the status bar, and the on board keys being transparent?... Do they go solid?

    • Simon Belmont

      From what I've heard, it goes back to the standard solid black that we've seen since ICS. That would make sense.

      The status area also turns black in an app. It'd be cool if they let it take on a subtle color tint based on the apps general color, though.

      • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

        Yeah, I'd love to see that... Wasn't there leaked photos showing that? With the status bar being blue when in the dialer, and green in hangouts, or something like that... Or ware those photos fake?...

        • Simon Belmont

          There were photos, yes. I don't remember if that was deemed fake or not, though.

          Honestly, it would make sense and it would add some visual flare. I guess we'll find out soon.

          • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

            Can't wait... :)

  • x425m

    please do not do "WHITE" setting theme

    give an option to change color white is ok.

    white background drains more battery and hurts the eye's more in night room.

    just give it an option to turn on white setting.

    I really like it black.

  • Cory Crew

    DAT Dialer Doe!!! lol

  • http://www.flickr.com/stuffbox DuduMaroja

    I aproove the lack of black borders. but i hate the new phone icon.. its just ugly as hell!

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    i'm holding my thoughts for the finale, but the mockups are clean and spaced out. The white text is bold, I love it.

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    Sorry I don;'t see a Difference at all

    • miri

      Click on your omnibox (the big white bar at the top containing the URL), type chrome://settings, click on "show advanced settings" towards the bottom, scroll until you see "Privacy" and click on Content settings. Make sure "Show all images" is selected.

  • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

    I like it. The only atrocity is that phone icon.

  • DJRiful

    I love the new 4.4 design.

  • Oh no, Bob

    I don't really like the transparent nav bar. IMO it needs to be separated from the rest of the home screen, because it's a general feature of the OS and is not part of the homescreen,

  • Colby Edwards

    While I think 4.4 looks better, I worry that the nav and notification bars might look awkward on AMOLED screens once you start getting burn-in.

  • maziar esfandiarpoor

    I was expecting a whole renovation!!! :|

    • mattrition

      Change for the sake of change is only superficially a good thing.

  • Cryosx

    it's an almost insignificant improvement, needs an iOS7 level refresh or at least more white card holo

  • two juegos

    this is not a formal trial, huh? 4.4 design looks elegant and simple. I will try to see what new features they design

  • Nuno Guerreiro

    hmm ios inspiration there?!?

  • ninx

    The icons are ugly

  • RL010

    a big M.F YESSSSSSSSS !!!

  • yash khatri

    I don't like android 4.4's look i would have preferred it to be something more in dark tone like brown or a kitkat like color also i swear if that phone(dialer) icon is used i will shift to any other OS this icon make me puke yuck !

    • FadyMahfouz

      Change the damn icon if you want it's not iOS.

      • yash khatri

        why should i this icon is crap and should be changed and a lot of people agree with me on this

  • whatever

    Imagine how many man years google have put into google now, mapping the world picture by picture, gmail, youtube. Imagine all the features "hangouts" is gonna need to compete, just the time spent perfecting something like video chat for hangouts, multiple man years of work.

    And people are masturbating over changes any competent designer could do in a couple days?

    This is not even worthy of a blip on the radar, if your anally retentive about drop shadow, design your own damn icons.

  • Drew M

    I like the way Android looks right now. I'm sure that there are improvements that can be made, but I think the real question is: is 4.4 a functional improvement over 4.3? I want better performance and battery life, and I want to see some of the major bugs to be closed--namely the data drop (http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/mobile/kS6iIq80Qwg%5B1-25-false%5D) and wireless charging wakelock (https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=52034) issues. These shouldn't span major software builds.

    • Nicklas

      Links are broken.

  • Ancan

    It's fine, but I cannot believe they **still** haven't replaced that ugly, out-of-place looking camera icon.

  • Godspoken

    Looks too much like iOS 7 tbh.

  • Bruno Marangoni

    It's good to have a fresh new look sometimes, and Android is not an exception. BTW, flat design's "fashion" these days =)

  • JT3

    I like the new transparent bar and buttons, but I'm not a fan of white space. Give me theme options with the new UI, so I can keep my dark screens, and I'll be a big fan.

  • htowngtr

    I like it... looks cleaner.

  • mikeym0p

    The transparency I like, but it looks weird in it's current implementation. I think they should lower the opacity of the top google now search bar, and have the same background as the notification bar on the home screen. So the notification bar and Search bar have a softer white background and blend into each other.
    Right now it looks weird because the search bar just floats at the top of the screen.

  • Elliot Kotis

    hangouts becoming the sms app?!

  • Kenny Strawn

    The new UI, especially when it comes to the use of transparency, is definitely a great improvement, yes, but the under-the-hood improvements, right down to the home screen, are something that's bound to make Android even better than it was. And of course, consolidating the SMS/Messaging into Hangouts to take on iMessage is a still-better move.

  • Fifth313ment

    I kinda like the new design but the phone icon blows! It's got shading on the bottom and middle of the phone icon but not the top of the phone? It looks horribly balanced compared to everything else. I have to say it looks a lot like the recent iOS update though. :/

    5th

  • The Fray Lover

    I personally love the new design :)
    (PS: I've never had Android, but I'm gonna buy the Nexus 5, so I'm really happy)

  • Xyor

    Basically I hate those Android stock icons as previous versions.

  • Vladislav Fox

    KitKat, where minimalism? 4.4 is ugliness.

  • yeahman45

    you can already make the nav bar and status bar transparent in paranoid rom

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    Theory: The status bar and navigation bar are transparent on the homescreen to prevent (or reduce) screen burn-in. The burn-in on my galaxy nexus is awful. When I bought the phone, I was told that AMOLED displays didn't have to deal with burn-in, so I had it set to keep awake when plugged in, and now I'm paying for it dearly. not that it's the end of the world. I'm definitely ready to upgrade to the Nexus 5 though. My Gnex has slowed down to the point where I'm considering throwing my SIM card into my old Atrix instead.

    • Matthew Fry

      You'd still have burned in icons...

      • Robert Alex Kibler

        That's.. a good point. Weirdly, though, I don't have any burned in icons on my phone. Just status and notification bar.

        I guess it's the opposite of burn-in. It's only the stuff that's permanently black that's burnt in.

  • Major_Pita

    LOL...looks like Google is following the developers on much of this. Xenon HD ROM (and probably others) has offered transparency on the Notification and Navigation bars for some time now. Glad to see Google rolling these features in. I suspect the lighter look will help with out-of-doors readability.

  • Elad Avron

    #HOLOYOLO

  • Grant

    Aside from hangouts replacing messages and G+ photos replacing gallery I'm fine with the update. The larger icons in the app drawer also annoy me but chances are I'll get to used to them.

  • Dylan K

    I want it in black so cyanogen pretty much (i use darkjelly theme atm)

  • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

    I'm going to have to stick with a 3rd party launcher like Nova. I like my Custom Icons.

  • Luan Cristian da Silva

    Goodbye Roboto and Holo, now enter the Rainbow and Deer lololololol

  • rober34

    im anxious to see how it looks like in an 10.1 tablet. for me, the change from ics to jelly bean was terrible, i mean the top status bar and the bottom centered buttons. it broke a lot of beautiful applications. it made me hate the interface so much that i went back to ics and refuse to upgrade. the gradient thing ... i dont know, id like to see how it affects third party apps.