Monday, 16 May 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich, how does it effect UI design?


Google announced the next Android version named Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and a minor an update for the Honeycomb to version 3.1 in the Google I/O conference.

These versions will bring the fragmented Android versions together. First, Google is rolling out 3.1 update to all Google TV devices and tablets. Once ICS is released on Q4 2011 phones are joining the common Android version.

In ICS Android phones gain UI improvement that have this far been seen only in Honeycomb. ICS will also contain new APIs to combat fragmentation problems.





Google TV

As Google TV joins tablet under a common version of Android it should be much easier to target them. It is, however, a very different device. Most noticeably it lacks touch controls. Designing for non-touch devices requires different approach. Google I/O presentation Building Android Apps for Google TV has a lot of good tips.

An interesting detail to point out from the presentation is the use of action bar in Google TV. In D-pad operated device a top located action bar can be very difficult to navigate so in Google TV devices the system automatically places the action bar to the left of screen. 

Conclusion

Top prepare for future Android releases the best thing to do is to make sure that your app runs on Honeycomb. As the Honeycomb APIs will be available on phones in the next release now is good time to get to know the APIs and future proof your apps.