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Google Makes The Roboto Typeface Open Source


With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced Roboto to the world. Since then, the family (designed by Googler Christian Robertson) has expanded to include a set of slab serif fonts, and has even seen a major revision introduced with Android 5.0 last year.

Today, Google has announced the next step in Roboto's history - making the entire family open source, and reorganizing its production toolchain around open source tools like ufo2fdk and FontTools.

According to Google, the effort to open source Roboto succeeded thanks to collaboration between material design, internationalization engineering, Google fonts, and Android teams.

For reference, the family now includes more than 40,000 total glyphs which span all Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek characters, making Roboto an immensely informative family to study.

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[Typeface Teardown, Part 2] Web Play Store Packs Roboto Slab And Yet Another Roboto Package

A couple of weeks ago, we were very excited to find a new, revised version of the Roboto family hiding in a leaked Android 4.3 build. Since then, I've been keeping an eye out for any more Roboto goings on.

With the new Play Store web portal having launched today, I thought I'd check in and see if it was using the new version of Roboto we reported on before. As it turns out, it isn't. It's using another version of Roboto, pared down to just over 200 glyphs (compared to over 1000).

That's not it though.

(Another) New Roboto

What first tipped me off to the difference was Roboto Thin's lowercase "m".

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[Typeface Teardown] Roboto Gets A Facelift In Android 4.3

Yesterday, we reported on an alleged Android 4.3 Jelly Bean ROM originally posted by SamMobile. Since then, we have – in usual style – been digging away, looking for goodies. In the midst of that search, Ron noticed something – the Roboto files in the ROM were up to 30% bigger than the versions found in 4.2.2.

My first guess as to what would cause a file size difference was the presence of additional glyphs. When looking at the new files closely, there appeared to be 15 extra glyphs. But something even better became apparent.


Roboto got a facelift! What follows is my attempt to catalogue (in a coherent fashion) some of the changes in the new Roboto.

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Closer Look: Google Keep Actually Shipped With A New (Serif) Font – Introducing Roboto Slab [Download]

Google Keep, the app that Goog sprung as (almost) a surprise recently, is interesting. Its functionality is undoubtedly handy, and – if Google chooses to pursue the service in earnest – it could actually be a decent competitor to other note taking apps like Evernote.

Something else has had us interested though, and that's Keep's UI and UX. There are a few weird things going on, but one stuck out: what is that serif font? The font, for those who don't know, appears only in some parts of the app. Notably, it comprises the text of every note. This is only the case for the mobile app, however.

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Don't Adjust Your Monitors: Google Just Updated The Web Play Store With Its Roboto Font Everywhere

If you fired up the web version of the Play Store today and everything felt a little off, don't panic. Google just decided to apply its Roboto font to all text on the site. Stock Android users will already be familiar with the typeface as the default setting for all written words on their Nexus devices. Outside of that family, though, it may be relatively unknown. Which is a shame, because it's beautiful.


The new...


...and the old.


That being said, in times past Roboto has not shown itself to be terribly versatile in scaling down to relatively low-ppi displays such as computer monitors and in this case it seems to work alright for headings, though to my eyes, some of the smaller text gets a little messy.

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Get The New ICS Font Roboto On Your Android Device Right Now

Today's Ice Cream Sandwich announcement yielded a number of exciting enhancements, but not quite as distinctive as the new font Roboto. Indeed during the keynote, the presenter spent an inordinate amount of time expounding the virtues of this font. Roboto is a sans-serif font with characters that have a pleasing roundness, and are spaced evenly, making e-mails, clocks, and menus easy on the eyes, and, in the words of one presenter, "a pleasure to read".

Unfortunately, as the font comes with the new OS, the majority of Android users will not be able to experience Roboto until their devices are upgraded to Android 4.0.

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Ice Cream Sandwich Feature Closer Look - Roboto Type Face Is "A Pleasure" To Read

One of Android's new features that was stressed pretty heavily on stage tonight was Roboto, a system font created specifically for Ice Cream Sandwich, which, in all honesty, looks a lot better than the system fonts we've seen before.

At first I questioned why it was necessary to spend so much time discussing a simple type face (one without even a hint of a serif), but when I thought about it, it made sense - most of the things we do on Android devices involve letters and numbers in some way, and why not make those characters aesthetically pleasing? It's a relatively small touch that goes a long way in terms of user experience.

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[New Game Review] Roboto Brings High-Quality Cel-Shading To Android In A Fun Platformer: Who's Ready To Hoverboard?

Platform games seem to be in short supply on Android. Aside from a few standouts (like Replica Island), they don't seem to be the type of game one equates with success on a mobile platform. They usually have trouble combining tight controls, fun concepts and longevity into one package.


However, this game, Roboto, looks to change that. Coming at us from developer Fenix Fire, Roboto tells us a story about a teen robot (above, in blue) in love, who is trying to find his way to his sweetie to... do whatever robots do.

The robot traverses levels through his hoverboard, defeating enemies and bosses along the way.

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