Back in the Android 2.3 Gingerbread days, the Android UI was quite ugly. The giant gray tabs at the top were especially off-putting. But with Ice Cream Sandwich came the new Holo UI (thanks to Matias Duarte). It slowly evolved into what it is now: an incredible, beautiful and, most importantly, versatile user interface design.
For the last year and a half, the Play Store has been flooded with apps adopting the Holo UI styling, and we couldn’t be happier about that. Beautiful apps that look like they belong on the OS is something Android users always wanted. So, why not have beauty paired with already existing functionality? A lot of these apps were built using Holo UI guidelines, but what happens to the apps that have a signature style?
They had nothing to worry about; Holo is incredibly versatile. That’s why it’s so amazing. You can make an app look unique while still retaining familiarity and unity with the OS. For example, the music player doubleTwist had a signature style, yet the developers behind it updated their app with Holo UI and made it look far better while retaining a familiar look.
Lately, big companies have finally come to realize this. One of the first companies to do so was Twitter. Twitter redesigned its app around Holo, and while it looks pretty similar to how it looked like before, it melds with Android far better and is more attractive. Vine for Android was also released sporting the Holo UI, making it an app an Android fan would be proud to have on their device.
What about the big boys that refuse to adapt? Look at Instagram. It has a strange UI, but its layout isn’t a far cry from Holo styling. An update to bring it up to spec would be so easy (I’ve personally seen some beautiful Holo mock ups that retain that classic Instagram look), yet they don’t do it. Facebook is another example. They have thrown in some Holo elements here and there, but their app still feels disjointed from the rest of the Android operating system.
The newest large corporation to update their app to Holo UI is Microsoft. To celebrate 100 million installs, Microsoft redesigned the Skype for Android app with Holo UI in mind, bringing it into a beautiful state. It has sliding tabs, an action bar at the bottom and everything a Holo app needs while retaining a classic Skype feel. It perfectly shows off the versatility of Holo UI, and we thank Microsoft for doing a good job (and Google, for making such a brilliant user interface design that can be adapted by nearly anyone).
Hit the source link to check out Skype’s blog and visit the Play Store to grab the newest version of Skype. The new UI will be present on all phones and is coming soon to tablets. Do you like what Microsoft did with Skype? Should companies continue embracing Holo UI?