When Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich first launched, I was ecstatic to see the changes Google had made to Android. For practically the first time ever, Android was absolutely beautiful. Since then, Google has tweaked Android into a mature, well-designed, powerhouse operating system. So what’s next for Android in the UI department? It’s time to take all of the changes made to Google’s apps and services, and apply them to Android itself to make for a clean, open, fresh UI.
Take a look at Hangouts. Or Drive. Or Play Music, the Play store, or Google Now. All of those apps are not bundled with Android anymore. They are updated independently of the core OS itself. And they all have beautiful new UIs. They’re bright, colorful, well organized and feature slick animations with sliding panels and clean menus. Now look at the settings app. Or the gallery. Or the calculator, clock or dialer. They all work well with Holo, and fit in quite nicely, but they’re closed up, stale and dreary compared to other Google apps.
Google has done a great job with Android from 4.0 to 4.3, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I’ve long been wondering how a reimagined Android would look in a post-Google Now, Kennedy design world. This concept video (via DroidLife) from Craig Tuttle nearly took my breath away:
The dynamic status bar, system wide Google Now integration and multitasking stacks are so incredibly well done, it’s hard to believe this is just a concept video. Take this concept, lighten up the gray bundled apps of today and Android would feel like an entirely new OS. Android apps don’t quite need to catch up with Android anymore; Android needs to catch up with Android apps.
When Android 4.4 is finally unveiled, we aren’t sure what to expect. It’s not a full number release, to 5.0, but that doesn’t mean we should write off the possibility of seeing some big visual changes. If you look at the leaked pictures of the Nexus 5, the status bar has been changed to include white text and icons. It looks like there’s been a few more tweaks as well. We know some things have been changed, but just how much more remains to be seen. Google, if you’re looking for inspiration on where to go with Android next, just check out the video above. It looks like a great place to start.