WordPress for Android Updated with Holo UI

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Bloggers rejoice! Today, the WordPress application for Android has finally been updated with a new interface which is finally bearable to look at. The new interface has finally joined on with the holo design guidelines set in place by Google for Android applications, and it is a massive improvement over that last version, which was practically unusable.

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Google Calendar for Android – Concept

Google Calendar Android mock

I currently really like Google’s design scheme for Android. Almost all the applications look similar to each other and I think the Holo design is probably a better default design than on any other operating system. But if you take a look at the calendar app, you’ll notice that it’s really boring. It’s still Holo, but there isn’t really much to look at.

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Instagram, According To Android Design Guidelines

Despite being released some time after the iOS application, Instagram for Android sports the same user interface as it’s Apple counterpart, with the exception of some added textures here and there.

instagram iphone android

Almost identical, right?

Instagram is one of the many applications which fail to comply with the Android design guidelines. It’s not a necessity to follow these guidelines, but it’s really nice to have a phone with applications which each follow the same design and even look like part of the user interface. It’s for this reason that most iOS applications, Instagram included, follow the same patterns.

Above is the default Android application design introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich last year. While some may add fancy edges, many companies have managed to follow the guidelines very well. Some which spring to mind are Boid, Mentions and Spotify.

So, what would the outcome be if Instagram was to redesign according to the Holo guidelines? How about this?

The above concept was created by Redditor ‘naalty‘. It follows the holo theme very well, missing out a few of the tips however overall maintaining the ICS style.

Above is another two concepts I’ve found. One by Devinnnwashere¬†and one by Guenther Beyer. In my opinion neither are as good as the original concept, however they both match Holo design guidelines.

Instagram doesn’t look bad at the moment. In fact it’s probably one of the most well designed applications available for Android, however it would be nice if it could shed the iOS feel and make it feel like it was designed to be on Android.

Android Jelly Bean Overview

Wednesday marked the first day of Google I/O 2012, and the announcement of Android Jelly Bean, version 4.1 of the Android operating system.

Being 4.1 rather than 5.0, many people (including myself) expected Android Jelly Bean to only be a slight upgrade to it’s previous version. We knew that their would be slight changes to the UI, having seen blurry pictures of a white/grey search bar, however as far as new features go we were completely left in the dark. Google really did a pretty great job of hiding their new features.

Below is a small rundown of the Android enhancements coming in Jelly Bean.

Project Butter

Android Jelly Bean is faster and smoother than any other Android version. By boosting CPU and other technology mumbo jumbo, 4.1 has graphics, animations and transitions which are buttery smooth. See the connection?

Notifications

Before iOS 5, iPads and iPhones had a very poor notification system. That’s why they decided to use a drop down notification system, with no care in the world that it was a blatant copy of Google’s idea, used since the first Android phone, the G1. So, Google need a new notification update to blow Apple out of the water, and they have done just that.

Android Jelly Bean has an updated notification drop down menu which lets you interact with the notifications without even opening the dedicated applications. The windows are bigger, meaning if you have an alarm, you can snooze or disable it right from the drop down. If you’re late for a meeting, you can e-mail all of the attendees informing them, directly from notifications.

All this, and it looks incredible.

Widgets

According to the Android website, ‘Widgets work like magic’. This is quite an overstatement, in fact it seems like something Steve Jobs would say about the iPad. But the new widget system is pretty cool. Now, instead of having to make sure you have enough space on a home screen before moving a widget, you can just go ahead and drag it there. The icons that you have on that current page will move around so that you can fit the widget there, and if there isn’t enough space, it will make the widget smaller.

Camera and Gallery

Android Jelly Bean brings the same speedy update to the gallery, that Ice Cream Sandwich brought to taking photos. Now, after taking a very speedy snap, you can view the recently taken photos by swiping to the side. From here, you can edit the photo as well as share it via e-mail, social networks, messaging, bluetooth etc.

Keyboard

Poor SwiftKey. Just a matter of days after releasing the public version of SwiftKey 3, Google announce that their new default keyboard will feature similar abilities. One of the best features in SwiftKey is the prediction system, which basically guesses the rest of your sentence after you have typed the first word. Now, Android Jelly Bean has this as the default feature. Awesome for beginners who aren’t aware of other keyboards, but it’s probably bad news for SwiftKey.

Google Search, Voice

Android Jelly Bean sees a complete overhaul to how Google wants it’s users to search for content and information. Search has always been one of the primary features of Android since the very beginning, and it’s always done it very well. However, being several years since the last revolutionary update, Google have addressed this in Jelly Bean. Search is now done in the same way as it has always been done, tapping the microphone icon on the search bar and now dragging up the app drawer icon.

Google Search is now a true competitor to Siri. It’s done with cards of information. You ask it something, it responds (astonishingly quickly) with the information you need in the form of a card. Be it weather, sports, film times, news, information about random topics, Google will show you the information you need very fast.

Google now even predicts what you are going to do. For example if you follow the same route to a destination at a certain time or day each week. Eventually Jelly Bean will set a reminder for you automatically, as well as give you a route and get traffic reports.

What are your opinions of Android Jelly Bean? Personally I think it’s an incredible update, especially when compared to the very underwhelming iOS 6 update. Google’s new update make everything look better, and much easier to use., while still using the amazing holo theme that i’m sure nobody is tired of yet.