Android Seeks to Inspire Beautiful App Designs

Google has updated the Android Beautiful Design Collection with more examples of great app designs that app developers can emulate and build upon.

Google is again sharing a new collection of what it sees as beautiful app designs to help Android app developers integrate more creativity and beauty into their projects, making them even more striking.

The latest design examples were unveiled by Marco Paglia of the Android Design Team in a Dec. 26 post on the Android Developers Blog. The first Beautiful Design Summer Collection was revealed in July 2013 and is now being joined by the Beautiful Design Winter 2013 Collection, wrote Paglia.

"While beauty's in the eye of the beholder, designing apps for a platform also requires an attention to platform norms to ensure a great user experience," he wrote. "The Android Design site is an excellent resource for designers and developers alike to get familiar with Android's visual, interaction, and written language. Many developers have taken advantage of the tools and techniques provided on the site, and every now and then we like to showcase a few notable apps that go above and beyond the guidelines."

That first Beautiful Design collection last July was posted on Google Play. Now the new winter collection is also available on Google Play so that developers can be inspired by additional innovative and lovely designs, wrote Paglia.

"As a reminder, the goal of this collection is to highlight beautiful apps with masterfully crafted design details such as beautiful presentation of photos, crisp and meaningful layout and typography, and delightful yet intuitive gestures and transitions," he wrote.

Included in the new winter collection is Timely, which is "a clock app that takes animation to a whole new level," wrote Paglia. "Screen transitions are liquid smooth and using the app feels more like playing with real objects than fussing around with knobs and buttons. If you've ever wondered if setting an alarm could be fun, Timely unequivocally answers 'yes.'"

And there is Circa, which is "a news reader that's fast, elegant and full of beautiful design details throughout," he wrote. "Sophisticated typography and banner image effects, coupled with an innovative and 'snappy' interaction, make reading an article feel fast and very, very fun."

Also featured is the latest app from Etsy, the Web-based purveyor of hand-crafted and unique goods. The latest Etsy app "helps you explore a world of wonderful hand-crafted goods with thoughtfully designed screen transitions, beautifully arranged layouts, and subtle flourishes like a blur effect that lets you focus on the task at hand," wrote Paglia. "This wonderfully detailed app is an absolute joy to use."

Other included apps in the winter collection come from Airbnb, The Whole Pantry, Runtastic Heart Rate Pro, Tumblr, Umano and Yahoo! Weather.

"If you're an Android developer, make sure to play with some of these apps to get a sense for the types of design details that can separate good apps from great ones," wrote Paglia. "And remember to review the Android Design guidelines and the Android Design in Action video series for more ideas on how to design your next beautiful Android app."

In December 2013, Google released some useful new development features for game app developers, including the ability to add realistic physics actions to their games. The open-source release of LiquidFun, which is a new C++ 2D rigid-body physics library that includes fluid simulation, will make it easier for developers to add realistic physics to their games.

In November, Google launched an inexpensive language translation service to Android developers to help them get their apps translated so they can sell them in other countries. The new service is expected to cost about $75 for a small app to about $150 for a large app for each language translation.

Earlier this year, many app developers participated in the pilot program for the App Translation Service, which was previewed in May at the Google I/O developer's conference, including the developers of "Zombie Ragdoll," who used the service to launch their new game simultaneously in 20 languages in August 2013.

In July, Google began a push to encourage Android developers to create more games for tablets to attract game players to the popular devices. To help grow that market more, Google released its new Google Play Games app, which lets game players link up with friends online so they can see what they are playing and play together.