As much as I like Android, let’s be honest; Android applications aren’t always the prettiest. It’s the downside of a open-app system with little to no quality controls. UI elements vary from application to application and bar a few (like BaconReader, a reddit app) it’s a cluster of mess. Applications tend to do what they are meant to do, but not in the nicest way.
Google aren’t oblivious; they know this is a huge problem for Android devices, so they’ve now updated their Market policy – if you use icons like the ones we give you, we’ll let you in. But if you avoid using them (and instead use some other, uglier, icons), we reserve the right to kick you out. Some developers may be annoyed at this; it goes against what Android is for – a open platform but after all, most good developers will want their application to blend in with the OS. Think about WP7 applications – they tend to use the Metro design to ensure fluency for the end user.
Android’s interface is called ‘Halo‘, presumably due to the Tron-like glowing blue accents around the icons. It looks far better than Froyo and Gingerbread, which were practical but a bit too bland. Honeycomb moved things in the right direction and now Ice Cream Sandwich looks really nice. Before I didn’t mind things like HTC Sense – it added to my phone. But once Ice Cream Sandwich arrived I didn’t want it; it does all the things I needed from HTC Sense and yet it runs smoother and helps battery life. It’s a excellent step.
If you’re a developer (or want to be one) then you can download these Ice Cream Sandwich Stencils from here (the Android Developers blog). If you’re interested in making a mock-up to send to a app-developer, it’s also worth using these icons – they’ll save you a lot of time and look really nice.
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