Besides a bevy of new features, Android's update to 4.4 brought forth a ton of tweaks to the interface through GEL launcher and a fresh round of updated stock apps. There's little doubt Android's user experience and overall design paradigms are continuing to evolve, becoming more refined, usable, and useful. We covered most of the changes to the interface in Getting to Know Android but, as with any major update, new changes come with new opportunities for error.
Now that the Android 4.4 KitKat fanfare is (finally) settling down, it's time to revisit our Getting To Know Android series, where we bring to light the new and awesome changes in Google's newest mobile OS - exposing the big stuff right along with some interface changes you may not have noticed yet.
There are plenty of new pixels in Android 4.4, changed UI elements, new design patterns, and a slightly more sophisticated language to decode, along with plenty of new features.
Android is now the undisputed champion of mobile marketshare, but certain companies are still releasing exclusive iOS apps, like the JARVIS-themed Iron Man 3 companion. It's a bummer, but iOS users can't make sweet custom boot animations like the one that Redditor hypd09 posted to /r/Android yesterday. It won't turn your phone into a suit of weaponized armor, but it will look pretty sweet with your elaborate Halloween costume.
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.
As Android users and enthusiasts, we sometimes find ourselves curious about the continuously evolving interfaces in Google's ecosystem. Over the years, there have been a number of changes to the Play Store, once known as the Android Market, but we've never had the pleasure of learning how some of the big design elements came to be. This week, Nick Butcher and Roman Nurik of Android Design in Action invited a couple members of the Android design team, Marco Paglia and Owen Otto, to share details about their process.
A lot of people are excited for Google Glass right now. The first Explorer units began rolling into the happy embrace of those selected for the exclusive pilot program just last week, and we've already seen a ton of feedback. Combined with decent pre-release coverage, it's clear that Glass has the potential to shake things up once more people have it in their hands. Of course press coverage and user excitement only form part of the story.
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.
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.