In the ongoing effort to make apps better on Android, Google has released another new guide for the developers who may be looking for guidance on just how to build a great tablet-oriented app. The piece has some fairly detailed information, including how much to adjust padding of UI elements and how to target different screen sizes and resolutions. There is also more broad guidance on how to make the most of larger screen real-estate.
When turntable.fm first came out on Android, we were excited. In my review, I said that it was a fantastic start, but could use a bit of polish. In no small part, because of those dang iOS-style buttons. While I still believe that iOS- buttons do not single-handedly make a lazy port, it's nice to see that the developer has taken the time to bring the UI in line with the newest guidelines.
Android, as a platform, has an advantage in that apps designed for phones scale to tablets dynamically, so many are functional without a proper tablet interface. The disadvantage? Some developers take their sweet time making said tablet interfaces. Twitter, for example, is still a giant, stretched-out version of the phone app. Enter Plume, an app that sticks much more closely to the ICS design style guide.
While adhering to the style guide may not always be enough to make an app great, Plume provides a highly-customizable UI that makes use of the best parts of Android's new design elements.
Astrid has been one of the most popular To-Do list apps for Android for years. Today it's getting a facelift and a few extra features. Most notably, Astrid now has a spiffy tablet UI. Making use of the Fragments API, Astrid lays out your Lists panel, your individual tasks, and details on each individual task for easy access. Like so:
Simple, straightforward, and easy. The new UI is being added to more than just tablets, though.
Google is finally showing developers what an Android app should look like. Android Design is Google's freshly launched style guide for Ice Cream Sandwich. It outlines everything developers should do to make a high quality app that "fits in" with the rest of ICS.
Most of the big stuff is covered: Icons, color swatches, grid layouts, writing style, touch feedback - it's beautiful. Apps are normally all over the place, it will be really nice to see some consistency.