Movies by Flixster has a very interesting design history. The developers behind this app are usually among the first to adopt new Android design guidelines—they had a Honeycomb-style action bar back when the Xoom was the only Android tablet around—and today it got another new refresh. The good news is that now it looks better on the Nexus 7, as opposed to the broken mess it was before. Now, for the bad news.
GTKA is back! For those that don't know, this is the series where we compare the new version of Android to the previous one, in excruciating detail. I'm going to dub this the "Miscellaneous edition," because there is a bunch of new things I want to talk about, but they don't really fit into a nice, organized category. (This doesn't mean I'm running out of things to talk about, not by a long shot.) The usual GTKA style applies, Ice Cream Sandwich is on the left, Jelly Bean is on the right.
Following last month's major update to the Android Asset Studio, the studio's Device Frame Generator has been given a new home under the "Distribute" tab at developer.android.com. For those not familiar, the Device Frame Generator is a tool that allows developers (or anyone, really) to wrap their screenshots in high-quality images of real devices, creating a stunning context for your app (or mockup).
Along with its new location, the generator has a new name: Device Art Generator.
One of the great things about Android's ecosystem is the number of indie developers who are able to enter the market successfully, providing a great product and inspiring would-be developers to join in. For many though, Android development in general is a mysterious topic. How an app or game goes from an idea to an entry in the Play Store is unknown, but (thankfully) not unknowable.
Of course, considering how major development studios bring apps to life doesn't require too much thought – major companies like EA, Disney, or Rockstar have no problem hiring designers and developers to crank out and maintain polished apps.
Thumb Keyboard, one of the most intuitive, well-designed, and practical keyboards available (especially for tablet users) got a big update recently, bringing the app up to version 4.5.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to the new update is that Thumb Keyboard now supports ICS' continuous voice recognition, which in case you've forgotten, is the feature introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich that actively listens and dictates your speech. This is a feature I haven't seen in other alternative keyboards, and it's definitely nice to have.
The Galaxy Tab 7.7 has been banned in Germany for a while. Now, though, the 7.7" tablet is officially banned throughout the whole of the EU. Previously Apple was able to enforce a ban on the smaller of the Tabs because it has proven in German courts that it owns the design IP for black rectangles in reference to the Galaxy Tab 10.1. In Germany, Apple can enforce this injunction against the Tab 7.7 due to a principle known as "kerngleicher Verstoß", or "violation sharing the same core".
Aiming to "unlock the world's creativity," the team at Fluid Software recently completed a project that began in January 2011 with the release of Fluid UI 1.0. The tool, which is powered by HTML 5 and based online, allows users to quickly and easily create mobile UI mockups for Android (both tablets and phones), as well as iOS using a simple interface that includes all of the basic building blocks (clip art icons, navigation elements, system bars, etc.) for beautiful, style-guide friendly interfaces.
Endomondo, an extremely popular sports and exercise tracker got an update to version 8 today, bringing a handful of minor enhancements. Among these are improvements to routes, the option to like/dislike routes, and the addition and removal of favorite roots. More importantly though, version 8 brings a brand new UI, designed with Ice Cream Sandwich's legendary style guide in mind. Check out some screenshots:
What's great about Endomondo's new UI is not only that it enhances the UX greatly and makes the app as a whole "prettier," but that it brings the app's design more into line with the Ice Cream Sandwich style guide, without making the mistake of following the idea that holo is everything.