Android was obviously a hot topic at today’s Mobile First CrunchUp (just ask Chamillionaire). There was a lot of discussion on the difficulty Android developers face when designing for Android. During an earlier panel, Tech Crunch even went as far asking why iPhone apps simply look better than Android apps. With the day winding to a close and during the last roundtable session Mike Isaac from Wired threw out another question to Matias Duarte, Google’s design lead, regarding the next version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich). He wanted to know how ICS would help developers produce better looking apps across the many form factors Android has to adapt to like Google TV, phones and tablets. Duarte explained that things will continue to get better as the Android platform evolves and becomes more mature.
Here’s a little paraphrased excerpt of Matias Duarte’s describing the next version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich:
Ice Cream Sandwich will continue the very challenging job of trying to create an embeddable platform that has the flexibility of the web. We’re trying to make one size fits all, and there are different products for different needs. That said, we know it is hard to design in that environment. Ice Cream Sandwich gives you a lot of tools to help you build one app that works more seamlessly across a variety of screen sizes and different form factors. And before that, we’re rolling out tools that help developers focus and optimize. We recently launched features that let you have multiple APKs and specific device targeting. We’re looking to make that transition easier and create really good-looking stuff on Android.
So there you have it, straight from Google’s design lead, Matias Duarte. Developing for multiple form factors will still prove a challenge for devs but Ice Cream Sandwich should help to alleviate some of that pain. I’m just excited to get a “mini” Honeycomb UI on my Android smartphone but lets hope it wont be at the cost of fragmentation.