A number of our readers have witnessed a change after opening up the Facebook app. The social network is apparently testing out an updated version of the user interface that sports a flatter look and more colorful, circular icons. We wouldn't call it a big Material redesign, but it does show signs of trying to better fit in.
Root Checker is a simple little tool that does what it says on the box: it checks whether your phone or tablet (or game console, or set-top-box, or e-reader, or robotic toaster) has root permissions. Those that use it probably only do so for a few seconds once or twice a month. That being the case, it's not a big deal if the app doesn't look good. But that doesn't mean that it can't, right?
Chrome users love to try out new features in the beta version of the Android browser, and fans of Opera's long-running software have been able to do the same since March. Now you can try out the new goodies in the pipeline early for the Opera Mini browser as well: the company just published a beta app on the Play Store. And what's more, the very first release of the beta version is making it count with a fresh new user interface.
Update 2: Wow, that was fast. One of the Android Police staff already has at least some of the Material Design changes enabled for searching from Chrome for Android, and others are reporting that they can see them as well. This isn't active for everyone - even my Nexus 5 with the latest KitKat firmware is showing the old interface.
Though Google officially announced Android Auto back at Google I/O, we didn't get to see much of the car initiative at the show itself. A recent update to the Developer.Android.com page shows off a lot more of the system, primarily in how the usual Android apps on a phone interact with a dash unit in a car or truck. The updated page includes screenshots of the app launcher (such as it is), Google Play Music, and some basic menus.
Alarm.com is one of those ubiquitous home security companies that sells home safety packages, and like a lot of their competitors, they had an Android app simply as a check mark for comparison shoppers. Before today, the previous version of the security system's mobile component looked like it hadn't been touched since 2010. Yesterday's update fixed that primary problem with an extensive user interface refresh, granting easy access to all the security and automation features installed in a home.
Releasing the L preview was an important leap forward for Android as an ecosystem, but, outside of a single almost meaningless update, we're probably not going to see any new builds up until the final L release. I can sort of see why the Android team doesn't want to put out builds with incremental fixes, saving all the improvements for a grand finale unveiling, so in the meantime, any glimpse at their progress is very interesting to us as well as developers working on porting their apps to adhere to the new Material Design guidelines.
Quick, if you're on a desktop browser, open a new tab and head for Google Drive. You might just see a new interface for Google's document and storage service, first announced back at Google I/O. Drive is getting a makeover to make it more like navigating files in a desktop file manager, complete with thumbnail views for all items and keyboard modifiers that let you manage multiple files at once.