Back in September, Hangouts switched from gray to green in its 2.3 update, ostensibly making the first baby steps on its journey toward joining Google's material design parade. Then in December we first spied a slightly more material version of the app. Now, users are running version 3.3 and many aren't satisfied with the app's layouts or structure. Things like the seemingly unnecessary contacts tab, the somewhat messy drawer, and the non-standard toolbar are common complaints.
It looks like Google is working on fixing a lot of issues with an upcoming update to Hangouts 4.0 though. We've heard rumblings from Reddit of the new update, and now we've got an early look at the app. Read More
There are a lot of new things in Android M, but this is an example of something old made new again. The app drawer and widget picker in the Android M dev preview scroll vertically instead of side-to-side in a series of pages. The last time we had this behavior it was back in the pre-ICS days.
Just in case you were getting comfortable with the YouTube app's latest design, it looks like there may be more changes in store. It seems a number of users are encountering a new YouTube interface, apparently triggered server-side without an app update.
The change sees YouTube's hamburger menu flipping right out of the interface, going the way of Google+ in discarding the left-side navigation drawer. Instead, users are given four primary tabs - Home, Trending, Subscriptions, and your profile. Interestingly, a couple of these tabs seem to have bars underneath to switch from, say, all videos to music on the home tab, or from uploads to channels on the subscription tab. Read More
The latest Netflix update brings in some changes to make your viewing experience feel a bit less cluttered. The interface now sports a more modern look, replacing the bubbly toolbars that appear during shows with something carrying a little less weight. Here's a direct look at what has changed. Read More
From time to time, Google engages in A/B testing with its live products. Flipping switches from somewhere deep in its Mountain View HQ, Google will turn on new design tweaks or feature changes for small groups of users, and measure their impact on engagement. This is generally a helpful process for validating design decisions, and occasionally we catch them in the act and get a peek at what might be around the corner.
Today, reports started popping up that Google might be testing some UI tweaks with its Google+ app for Android. Before you get excited, these tweaks don't include a hamburger menu. Read More
Apex might be the last of the major launcher replacements to get a redesign for Android 5.0's visual style, but it certainly doesn't want to be the least. Apex's 3.0 update adds new Lollipop animations and a completely revamped visual style, making it more or less homogenous with Google's own launcher, but with the range of settings and tweaking options that customization fans crave. You can download the standard Apex Launcher for free, with the $4 upgrade app available for more options.
Here's a quick rundown of the changes made for the Material Design update. It's all pretty standard stuff, but put it together and it makes a dramatic difference. Read More
It appears Google really doesn't want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to easing its own apps into material design (no matter how long it may take). The latest to get an incremental refresh is Google Opinion Rewards - the app has been updated with a revised launcher icon (seen in the thumbnail for this post), and a new toolbar inside the app. The icon is a bit closer to material, but doesn't carry the exact same use of shadows as Google's other recent updates.
The card structure and every other component of the interface appears to be the same, but the new toolbar/status bar theming is nice to see. Read More
Trello for Android, a popular task management app that describes itself as "a whiteboard with super powers," got a big update today, introducing the app's "first foray into material design." The update comes with revamped layouts, new navigation paradigms, and tons of aesthetic improvements.
In a post to the Trello blog, Dan Lew explains that the revamp was "a ton of work," noting that not a single corner of the interface went unnoticed - the entire interface was given close inspection with Google's new design philosophies in mind, but Lew stresses that the core experience remains the same.
Those not running Android Lollipop needn't worry - the app is compatible with 4.0.3 and above, with most of the app's material-inspired goodness available to anyone running the app (some things, as Lew rightfully notes, simply aren't possible on older platforms yet). Read More