21
Nov
unnamed (1)

Google Play Services version 6.5 began rolling out to users a few days ago, and as we work on an APK teardown to see what's under the hood, it looks like there's at least one more user-facing change in the update. Specifically, Android's system update screen is prettier.

The screen which, until now, consisted of the same drab title, horizontal break, "last checked" text, and "check now" button, has been granted a better design treatment.

17
Nov
authy-thumb

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of defense to your online accounts. Typically there are two ways to go about it: having a text sent to your phone containing a numerical key, or typing in one that appears inside of a dedicated app. Google Authenticator serves this function just fine, but you have to settle for something that hasn't been spruced up since the Ice Cream Sandwich days. Authy is an alternative offering that looks a bit easier on the eyes.

13
Nov
finance

Google's Finance app is in desperate need of attention. If you haven't checked in on it lately, it's still stuck with Gingerbread design. No seriously, go look. Tiny header bars, legacy menus, odd layouts, and assets that look tiny or pixelated (or both) on today's high resolution devices.

Just for fun, I decided to take a look at the app and see if I could give it a fresh coat of paint, inspired by material design.

03
Nov
style_logos_product_intro_material_physical

In a rather exciting post to its Google Design Google+ page today, Google announced a big set of improvements to the material design guidelines. The design spec, which - since this summer - has been a "preview," has been updated with links to relevant Android developer documentation, a new section called "What is Material?" a "What's new" section (to stay up to date on any changes), and a couple of other exciting changes.

31
Oct
ic_launcher_play_store

Update 10/17/14: Play Store 5.0.32, a small bump over 5.0.31, is now available for download.

Update 10/31/14: Play Store 5.0.37, a bump over 5.0.32, is now available for download. It comes with at least one new change - a new permission bucket called Wearable sensors/activity data to help explain permissions for apps that can grab data from wearables, such as heart rate monitors.

Of course, as I have to pick up my son from daycare, breaking news had to hit, and Google had to start pushing out the Play Store 5.0 update (5.0.31, to be exact).

30
Oct
hamburger

It goes without saying for most Android enthusiasts that the side-navigation drawer is a hot point of contention right now. With the introduction of material design, Google emphasized information hierarchy heavily, giving advice in its design specifications on how to arrange just about everything, including side navigation. According to the specifications (and Googler Roman Nurik), the "correct" behavior for the side drawer is to slide in as a sheet of paper over the entire canvas, including the app bar or toolbar.

21
Oct
launcher_drive_icon

We've already seen about a half-dozen Google apps leaked in a Nexus 6 system dump, but we haven't taken a look at Google Drive yet. The app does have some material design in store though - as with the others - it's still in testing, so anything could change. That said, it's worth taking a look. Google Drive has implemented many of the new material design paradigms that make the app cleaner, leaner, and easier to use.

20
Oct
image

Continuing our journey through the new Google apps from Android 5.0 Lollipop, let's make a quick stop at Google Play Music. The update to this app has been anxiously awaited since it was demonstrated at Google I/O. And indeed, even Google's own product page for the Nexus 6 shows off some of the animations we've been salivating over for months.

The Google Play Music app found in a leaked dump of the Nexus 6 doesn't contain those animations, sadly, but it does continue the app's march toward compliance with Google's new design spec with bolder colors, new iconography, and a few touches that will set the stage for future awesomeness.

08
Oct
ico

If you've been paying attention the last several months, you're probably aware that since we posted our early look at Google's revamped launcher icons, users have been yearning for the "materialized" versions of their favorite apps' icons. This new design direction even spurred custom icon packs to replicate the look and feel of the rumored Google goodies. For developers and designers on Android, it's easy to see the attention the new icons are getting and start thinking about redesigning your own app's launcher icon.

06
Oct
unnamed

Adobe's latest Android creation is Creative Cloud (preview), a file management tool connected - as the name suggests - to Adobe's Creative Cloud.

For those unaware, Creative Cloud wraps up Adobe's effort to transition to a subscription-based service model, providing updates to the Creative Cloud suite of software (which replaced Creative Suite), and online services to aid in collaboration and file/asset management. A free CC membership includes trial access to Adobe's creative tools and 2GB of cloud storage.

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