Google gives Android a facelift, enter 'material design'

Google gives Android a facelift, enter 'material design'

Summary: Google's bet is that a clean unified design---coupled with contextually aware notifications and other goodies---can connect multiple screens.


Google highlighted the latest Android's facelift in a preview dubbed L that adds elevation values, real-time shadows, clean typographical layouts and an overall feel that gets inspiration from paper and ink.

Executives at Google I/O in San Francisco tag teamed to outline Android's new look, which aims to unify the Web, desktop, your phone and wearable devices. Google's bet is that a clean unified design---coupled with contextually aware notifications and other goodies---can connect multiple screens.

android connected screens

The linchpin of Android overhaul is "material design," which Google describes as a "unifying theory of rationalized space and a system of motion." Google goes on to say that "our material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by our study of paper and ink, yet open to imagination and magic."

Google is trying to use material design to allow colors, iconography, hierarchy and spatial relationships be the glue between multiple screens. Objects and icons will be given depth and drop shadows. Developers will be able to give objects a depth value and they can slide above other icons.

According to Google, the material design will start rolling out across its applications and now developers will get in on the act ahead as the next generation of Android rolls out.

When finished Android will have a blend of what Apple has done and its familiar design. Here's a look:



Topics: Innovation, Android, Google, Mobility

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  • Reminds me

    of the Aviate launcher I am currently using on my GS5. I like the cleaner look.
  • Google gives Android a facelift, enter 'material design'

    Lipstick on a pig. No matter how much you try to dress it up its still android underneath and you get the same app freezes and random reboots. UI is still ugly.
    • Great joke, LD!

      We need your jokes to balance out the serious posts in here! I'm happy that you're here to entertain us!
    • we'll have to see

      I am now permanently using CM (cyanogenmod) and no plans to go stock unless there are significant useful features. Android is already a great rock solid OS and I worry that they will start mucking with it.
      The settings screens are really the only thing that needs a refresh.
      • How is Android rock solid?

        Google is replacing the run time engine, because the current one has issues. Samsung needed to create KNOX in order for there to be some appearance of security. SD cards were cut off at the knees, because they leave flaws open. Almost every piece of mobile malware is aimed exclusively at Android. Nearly a billion android devices are left with the master key vulnerability, because there just is no reliable method for Google to deliver updates to anything above single digit percentage of Android devices.

        Android is fun, but it is without question the least stable, least secure mobile operating system on the market.
        • Improvements

          Just like all the enhancements Apple put into iOS7 and soon 8. Do you think any of these OSs are "perfect"?
          Rann Xeroxx
          • It's has 10x more vulnerabilities than Android


            Cvsdetails ios vulnerabilities


            Cvsdetails Android vulnerabilities

            You also have to consider that every two to three months a major IOs acidity issue makes the news.
    • You need to keep up, LD

      Now that Microsoft is selling Android based Nokia X phones, you need to heap praise onto Android, like you do for WP.

      Here, I'll help you:
      Android is leaps and bounds ahead of the competion. The fastest, most secure, most useful devices the world has ever seen.
      • Don't mistake LD for a fanboy

        He's just a comedian who's here to entertain us. Mike Cox used to be funny, but I find LD to be much funnier now.
    • Lovey's nonsense is sounding kind of desperate

      C'mon Lovey. If you pick up an old Android phone from 5 years ago, it might, if you work it hard enough, reboot on you, particularly if an update slips through that wouldn't work on an older version of the OS. My Samsung Galaxy smokes anything running Windows. Mom's calling again, "time for supper, sweetie". Better wash up for dinner.
    • Seriously?

      Can't say I ever have issues with random reboots and app freezes. Purchase some decent hardware and maybe you wouldn't have these problems.
    • Nothing is uglier than Metro

      Considering how playschoolish Metro is, I'll take you calling Android ugly as a compliment.

      And not sure what type of phone you've tried Android on, but my Note 2 has never once randomly rebooted, frozen, lagged or any of the above. Rock solid performance, big screen and excellent battery life. Wouldn't trade that for anything the Softies can come up with.
    • Right...

      Yeah, all the stuff that NEVER HAPPENS TO ME! Android 4.4, Galaxy S III, solid as a rock, day in and day out...
    • lipstick

      What, are you telling us you're wearing lipstick now?
    • App freezes and random reboots?

      I've got a Nexus 5 and a Nexus 7 and both have been rock solid since the day I got them. I had a Nexus 4 previously. None of these devices have ever randomly rebooted - not once. App "freezes" are few and far between.

      The Samsung Galaxy devices I had previously (S3,S2, S) were a different story... but "pure Android" as on the Nexus devices, works as well, or better, than any other mobile operating system out there.
    • What Android have you been using

      My Nexus 4 running Android 4.4.4 runs smooth, no "random reboots" etc. Fact is I also use WP8 and iOS for my job and have about as many issues with those platforms as I do with the latest and greatest of Android.

      All these platforms are great and all of them suck. Learn to hate less.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • Modern UI

    Looks like everyone is following Microsoft's design principle.

    The ugly screen buttons though, triangle, circle and square. Too much dumbing down.
    • No, I don't see that

      Microsoft brought "flat" back into fashion, but Microsoft's design principles for the home screen and other things - which emphasizes typography and duotone blocks - is not anywhere in evidence here.

      What Microsoft can be credited for is (a) flat design, and (b) killing off skeuomorphic design (that one deserves a huge pat on the back... no more faux wooden objects on phones!)

      What Google is doing here is evolutionary - basically applying the existing design themes from Chrome and Gmail to Android. Design consistency is the most important thing you can do in a project.
      • Not sure your point

        What you said that Google is doing (that is somehow different) is what Microsoft did first. They flatten the OS, made it lighter on resources, and applied that OS design across phone, desktop, and tablet. They merged the desktop with mobile with Metro to allow the use of both systems.

        Google is now doing the same EXACT thing. Both in UI design but also in putting Android apps on ChromeOS.

        Not a big deal, I like it when all these companies copy each other so we get the best from all of them. But give MS their credit just like Android gets for notifications.
        Rann Xeroxx
  • THis changes everything!

    "Objects and icons will be given depth and drop shadows."

    Dropshadows?! OMG, alert the media! This changes everything.