Ryan Whitwam/Android Salad
Android updates aren’t as exciting as they used to be, but there’s still some fun to be had if you’re patient. Google has started the process of fixing the Android user interface with Material You in Android 12, and the process Continue on Android 13. As with many changes over the years, the material will reach its full potential only with a purchase from the developers – this has always been Google’s Achilles heel. There’s reason to be optimistic about Material You, but it’s too early to consider it a success. Some pieces of the puzzle are still missing, and may not be put into place as Google envisions it.
There were plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the success of Material You once it came out of the gate. Google rolled out Android 12 on the Pixels with good but not so good first-party support. Most Google apps supported basic theme options, but some extremists took a few months to catch up.
3rd party support wasn’t there, but that was all on Google too. Android 12 has not officially supported most of the Material You features for third-party developers, and Google has not made the Monet color picker engine available to OEMs. Thus, some Android 12 phones don’t even have Material You, and those that did had questionable and limited color options. Samsung was one of the few companies that made any effort to adopt Material You, but it only supported first-party apps and not Google’s apps. So, that was a mess. With Android 13, Google has finally opened its Material You app in a meaningful way, and Samsung is collaborating with Google as it prepares for the launch 5 . single user interface With extended articles that support it.
Robert Treggs / Android Authority
With most device makers still weeks or months away from releasing Android 13, we can only speculate how fully they support Material You, but it certainly looks like things will be better than last year. Android 13 has Material You styles in AOSP. We should start to see more of the stuff it takes on as Android 13 expands. So far, Samsung has shown us what happens when saturation increases, but other OEMs can give the stuff to you its own way — no requirement in Android 13 CDD That they should imitate Google, after all.
The Spotify brand is closely associated with the nuclear green icon, so it’s surprising to see it coming to the fore with Material You Support.
Now, a few weeks after Android 13 debuted, some app developers are taking notice, and they may not be the ones you expect. For example, Spotify has already updated its app to support the icons theme. Color is an important element in most brands and Spotify’s identity is closely linked to the nuclear green icon, so it is Surprise to see it in the foreground with the material that supports it. The app also has a Material You!
Early selection of apps that support the Material You icon turns on the color gradient. There are financial apps like AmEx; Communication tools such as S.lack and Telegram. ESPN for sports news; and social apps like Reddit and the popular third-party client Sync for Reddit. Dropbox, another brand that leans heavily on its brand color, has added the Material Icon. WhatsApp, which is very popular outside the US, also has icon support. However, the rest of the Meta portfolio, including Facebook and Instagram, is leading the way in pretending Material You doesn’t exist. It’s the same for many other apps like Snapchat and Netflix. Until these hugely popular apps run, activating icon themes leaves your average home screen looking like a jumble.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
It’s easy to forget all the focus on the home screen features and system accents, but the stuff meant to standardize the look of apps, too. The same color palette that controls icons and buttons should ideally flow into the applications themselves. All developers need to support icons is to add a monochrome asset so that Android can apply themes, and that’s as far as most of them are going now. The same goes for widgets – almost no apps have adopted the new Google style outside of Gmail, Keep, YouTube Music, and other bundled apps.
The material supporting you throughout the application requires more work, and Google will likely see only limited success here. Many of the apps mentioned above that have given a hint of what material they support, such as Slack, Telegram, and Dropbox, have only gone so far as to add an icon. Sync for Reddit is one of the few apps that actually changed the UX based on your system theme, but this is an app that constantly pushes for compliance with the latest Android standards. Most app developers, especially those who work for big companies, can’t achieve the interface overnight (or maybe at all). Materials that may never creep into application interfaces in an important way. Third-party developers had the tools to adopt Holo and Material Design in previous iterations of Android, and on the whole, they didn’t. Seeing an app that uses Material You accents would be a pleasant surprise, not the default.
You can’t blame the developers for not immediately jumping at the chance to add material that supports them – Google seems to have trouble sticking to their design guidelines. While the company’s disparate development teams have successfully updated most of its popular apps with comprehensive material to support them, there are strange gaps.
Case in point: Google just released its first smartwatch after eight years of working on Wear OS — another story entirely — but the Pixel Watch has its own phone app separate from the standard Wear OS app. While Wear OS got at least initial support for the Material You icon, the Pixel Watch app didn’t. It’s just there on my home screen, and it mocks me with its unparalleled app icon. The app itself is also disconnected from the current physical beauty – it looks more like the Pixel Watch user interface, which has its charm, I guess. Although, why would I manually change the accent colors of the materials on the watch faces in the first place? Google missed a great opportunity to associate the watch face accents and the app’s user interface with Material You on the phone. It was right there, Google!
I really hope the developers will continue to expand Material You, even if the adoption isn’t universal. This is a completely personal aesthetic judgment, and you don’t have to agree with me, but Material You is the best Android I’ve ever seen. I know a lot of people really like the pre-MY Android 11 theme, but many used to say the same about KitKat back in the days of Material 1.0. Material You, as implemented in Android 13, is a much-needed breath of fresh air for smartphones. When an app supports the materials you use across the board – from icons to widgets to the user interface – it’s an exhilarating experience that gives Android the cohesion it’s always lacked. Unfortunately, it’s also rare that it’s up to Google to fix it.
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