Google didn't spend enough time on Material Design during the keynote. We saw a beautiful video and learned a little bit about the intent and thought behind Google's new cross-platform look (which we actually saw a bit earlier than anticipated), but there's so much more to be said. Having attended as many design sessions as possible during I/O, I think it's worth taking a somewhat closer look at Material Design. In this post we'll attempt to scratch a little bit deeper into what Material means, why it's awesome, and why it's a forward-looking move for Google.
We've recently seen plenty of rumors related to Google's future plans for its Search app, from automatically remembering where you parked to reminding you of things when you're with another person, to reminding you to pay bills, down to something as simple as setting a proper timer. Clearly, Google's got plenty of plans for what will happen inside Search. But today, we've got something a little different - this time, it relates to how Google's voice assistant will break out of Search, entering other Google apps to help you do more with your voice and perform more actions with Search in general.
A few days ago, it was confirmed that Google had started asking manufacturers to brand boot animations with a specific "Powered by Android" lockup as part of Google's Mobile Services license. Samsung's Galaxy S5 and HTC's new One M8 both carry the branding, and today Motorola's Moto X and Moto G have joined the party, but Motorola has something else in store as well - a new boot animation just in time for April Fools Day.
Next in the line of KitKat feature spotlights is the addition of new motion-oriented UX elements meant to give users a dynamic, fluid experience while making it easier for developers to implement high quality animations.
Android 4.4's new transitions framework allows developers to define scenes and transitions. A scene is usually a view hierarchy, while a transition defines how the scene should transform when a user enters or exits it. Developers can use predefined transition types, an auto-transition type, or create custom transitions "that animate the properties that matter most to your app."
That said, developers don't actually have to define scenes to animate UI changes - they can also animate pieces on the fly.
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!! DEVELOPERS!!! Yeah, ok, I know, the chant has been done to death. But, we at Android Police really do <3 developers. Building great apps is a challenging job and it requires an obscene amount of time. As a developer myself, I know how hard it is to invest an extra hour when I'm already busy writing software, supporting customers, and of course, having a life. Unless you are eager to dive into every last session from Google I/O, all 25 hours of Android-specific content, then you might be wondering which sessions are really worth it for you.
Sony Digital Network Applications (Sony DNA) today announced Motiongraph – an app that aims to make the creation of cinemagraphs fast and easy for Android users. A cinemagraph, for those who don't know, is a still image with one or two minor elements animated (you can see some great examples here). They're a fascinating medium that can only be achieved digitally, and which have an eerie yet fascinating aesthetic.
Sony's app looks to give users more consistent and controlled results with a simple "rubbing" interface in which areas to be animated are identified by simply highlighting them with your finger.
Last night, 73v1n, the author of the last few CyanogenMod boot animations, posted an updated and completely revamped version designed for CyanogenMod 10. It's very likely going to become the official animation of the ROM in the future, but if you want some of this goodness on your device stat (especially if you're running CM 7 or 9, as the version number doesn't appear in the newest animation), you don't have to wait for CM10 at all - 73v1n has now uploaded it for everyone to enjoy.
73v1n (a.k.a. @Xevin, a.k.a. Cameron Behzadpour), the creator of official CyanogenMod boot animations, dropped the version for CM10 a couple of minutes ago. Jelly Bean-colored, clean, and simple, yet, in my opinion, highly attractive, the animation hits the nail on the head. There no Cid, no controversy surrounding him, no outdated skater dude - just pure awesomeness. I won't spoil the fun - just watch.
Another major enhancement we've just learned about with the announcement of Jelly Bean is called Project Butter. Butter (so named likely due to the colloquialism "smooth as butter") represents a new, more efficient processing framework for Android's latest and greatest iteration, making the OS much faster (allowing animation up to 60fps). Android 4.1 also makes apps more responsive, reducing touch latency and "anticipating where your finger will be at the time of screen refresh."
"How is such an enhancement possible?" I can almost hear you wondering.
The boot animation from CyanogenMod 7 still ranks somewhere towards the top of my personal list, but this new one, created by the same designer Cameron Behzadpour (73v1n) using Adobe After Effects, is definitely a step-up.
It builds on top of his previous effort and is quite possibly the best-looking boot animation I've seen on Android so far. And it's officially coming to CM9. Excellent work, Cameron!
Update: Check out this unofficial take on the same animation, but without as much background noise that some of you may prefer: