There have been an extraordinary amount of rumors and leaks over the last several months related to how Android and several key Google apps will look and work. We’ve heard rumors that Google will completely change the Android homescreen and multitasking experience, and seen leaked versions of Gmail and Google calendar that go against the Holo we’ve all come to know and love. All of the changes detailed in these leaks and rumors can fit under one massive initiative at Google called Quantum Paper.
So what is Quantum Paper? As Android Police, the source for this information, puts it:
Quantum Paper is the overarching name for a new, unified design framework intended to make experiences consistent across all platforms. According to information available to us, it represents Google's effort to both create (with Google apps) and encourage consistent, beautiful design that delights across all platforms. Quantum Paper is a hugely ambitious project, looking to unify and codify paradigms for visual, motion, and interaction design across all platforms, including web, Android, and iOS.Liam SpradlinAndroid Police
For as complicated as Quantum may seem, it’s actually rather simple. Google is going to be releasing the design tools necessary to make all software a cohesive experience from the web, to Android, to iOS. If Quantum is anything like Polymer, from Google I/O 2013, then we have a good idea of how Quantum will function. Take a look at the Polymer announcement from last year’s Google I/O below, and look at some of the leaks featuring Quantum elements that have popped up over the last several months. There’s a very good chance Polymer is essentially Quantum beta. If that’s true, Quantum will provide developers with assets along the lines of toolbars, icons and animations. Developers will be allowed to customize those assets to a certain extent while still maintaing a consistent experience between apps, developers and platforms.
Once Quantum is officially released, which is said to happen with Android’s “L” release, most everything Google will be built using Quantum following the Quantum Paper Spec. Just how far reaching Quantum will be remains to be seen. With the web as open as it as, and with Apple just releasing Swift, it’s not like every software developer making apps is going to jump on Quantum. But Google has a lot of pull in the development community. And if you want your software to work on the world’s most popular mobile operating system, you’ll be using Quantum too. Let’s hope we hear more on Quantum Paper at Google I/O just a couple weeks away.