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After all the predictable speculation about new features, discussions about troublesome bugs, and complaints about unsatisfactory upgrades, Android Lollipop 5.0 is finally here Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop is here, but only on Nexus devices. What exactly is new about this operating system, and when can you expect it to arrive on your device? Read More . Most (if not all) Nexus phones now have received their over-the-air update, and the other major manufacturers are either mid-rollout or about to start.

One of the biggest selling points about Lollipop is its design overhaul. Gone are the dark tones and electric blue effects, replaced with the use of ample white space, smooth transitions, and grid based layouts — branded as “Material Design”. The fresh approach is designed to give users a consistent look and feel across all their applications. Although Google has published Material Design style guidelines, many apps are still awaiting their latest upgrades and still have the look of Android KitKat.

Here we look at some of the best apps that have already been restyled using the concept of Material Design.

Pushbullet

Pushbullet is the biggest rival to the hugely popular Airdroid. While they do perform slightly differently, their core purpose is the same: to enable easier sharing and offer a more unified experience between your PC, Mac, tablet, and phone Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength Find out how you can keep your Android perfectly synced with your PC -- push your phone's notifications to your desktop, share files, and much more! Read More .

It received its Material Design overhaul with its version 15 update, and that has recently been polished with the v15.2.5 release. It now features a floating action button in the lower right-hand corner, stacked layers, and a more visually-pleasing way to push notifications and files.

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Moonshine – Icon Pack

Custom icon packs are a quick and simple way to give your smartphone or tablet a facelift 6 Gorgeous, Completely Free Icon Packs To Facelift Your Android 6 Gorgeous, Completely Free Icon Packs To Facelift Your Android Transforming the look of your Android device doesn't have to cost you anything. Read More . The choices are endless — with sport themes, rustic themes, black and white icons, and pure design-based concepts all available.

moonshine

The Moonshine Icon Pack is particularly impressive both for the breadth of icons available (there are over 660 to choose from!) and the fact that they released the Material Design upgrade in late October, before the official roll-outs had started. Their icons have all been flattened, had their shadow length increased, and had the Lollipop colour palette applied to them — and they look great as a result.

Remember, downloading a pack without a custom launcher Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Given the huge number of launchers available, there's something for everyone. Here are the best app launchers for particular needs, depending on what kind of user you are. Read More won’t allow you to change anything. Popular launchers include Nova Launcher, Smart Launcher 2, GO Launcher EX, Apex Launcher, and ADW Launcher.

Circle for Bitcoin

Bitcoin has become hugely popular over the last eighteen months. One of the new breed of crypto-currencies Better Than Bitcoin? 3 Crypto-Currencies That Aren't Just Copycats Better Than Bitcoin? 3 Crypto-Currencies That Aren't Just Copycats Not all crypto-currencies are equal though: here are 3 that I believe will have a future. Read More , the software-based online payment system has seen its value soar — with one Bitcoin being worth as much as $900 USD in late 2013.

Circle is the best-looking app for managing Bitcoins on your Android device; it was overhauled in November and now features the full Material Design interface. The redesign has had the effect of appearing to simplify many of the off-putting confusing technical aspects of the concept, making it a good choice for Bitcoin newbies and experienced traders alike.

Features include a way to send Bitcoins via email, the ability to add bank accounts and credit cards for easy transactions, payment-free conversions, and Bitcoin invoicing.

Google Play Music

All of Google’s native apps have received the Material Design treatment, and staples such as Gmail, Keep, Calendar, and Google Plus now not only all look great but are also much easier to use. The standout app from the new batch, however, is arguably Google Play Music.

google-play-material-design

The features of the free app are impressive: the ability to upload 20,000 songs from your own music collection so that they can be played back on any device, an iTunes-esque way to buy new music, and a way to save your songs and playlists for offline playback.

The redesign has made the whole app more intuitive, with libraries, playlists, instant mixes, and the shop now all available from the slide-out menu bar, and a way to Chromecast located in the top right. Even the way the menu icon transforms into an arrow when you’re using the menu has been thoughtfully planned out.

Asparagus – My Cookbook

Christmas is coming, which means even those for whom cooking means beans on toast might be forced into the kitchen to help peel sprouts and chop potatoes.

With that in mind, the makers of Asparagus – My Cookbook have jumped aboard the Material Design bandwagon to make sure their app is looking great for the festive season. Sporting Lollipop’s modern, colourful, and simple interface, the app is now compatible with all of Android 5.0’s features and makes good use of them.

Features include recipe clipping, cloud backup, and multi-device syncing. It’s even compatible with Android Wear and Pebble Smartwatch, meaning that if you get one for Christmas, you’ll be able to cook Christmas dinner with Asparagus on your wrist!

Reddit News Free

Stylised as being “the front page of the Internet”, Reddit is the most widely-used bulletin board/article discussion/chat forum website on the Internet. It’s the 36th most visited site in the world and has 174 million users (as of November 2014).

The first Reddit client for Android that has rebranded with Material Design is Reddit News Free. The app now boasts multiple themes, stories, comments that load at the same time, improved navigation, and multiple account support.

All of this combined with the new, sleek Material Design means it’s an extremely viable alternative to the more popular Reddit is Fun Reddit Is Fun - A Great Android Reddit Client Reddit Is Fun - A Great Android Reddit Client Browse Reddit, Android-style. Reddit Is Fun is a free app for putting the best of Reddit at your fingertips. Sign in with your account and flip through your front page and favorite subreddits, or search... Read More and BaconReader for Reddit.

Calorie, Carb and Fat Counter and Fitness – Home and Gym Workouts

The New Year is just around the corner, and that only means one thing: New Year’s resolutions! Research in the UK last year found that the top three most common resolutions were lose weight, get fit, and eat more healthily. If you’re planning to chase that holy trinity in 2015 and you want to avoid falling at the first hurdle, you’re going to need some help.

There are lots of online tools to help you keep your resolutions 5 Online Tools To Help You Keep Your New Year Resolutions 5 Online Tools To Help You Keep Your New Year Resolutions Read More , but a good first step would be to download Virtuagym’s Calorie, Carb and Fat Counter app. The app will ask you some questions about your lifestyle and goals, then give you a personalised nutrition plan for you to stick to. It features an expert-approved food database, nutrition tracking, and monitors carbs, proteins, and fats as well as the typical calories.

The app syncs with Virtuagym’s other app, Fitness – Home and Gym Workouts, which hosts 1,200 exercises, a 3D-animated personal trainer, and 30 trackable fitness variables. When used in conjunction, the two apps will leave you no excuses for failing to achieve those healthy goals!

Both apps have received the Material Design makeover, meaning they work seamlessly and look flawless against the Android Lollipop OS.

Flud – Torrent Downloader

With a 4.5 star rating from more than 13,000 reviews, Flud is one of the most reliable torrent downloaders for Android. There are no limits on upload and download speeds, there’s RSS feed support, magnet link support, and lots of smaller features that make the app so easy to use.

flud-torrents

Thanks to Material Design it’s also one of the best looking torrent downloaders. A new release on November 23rd saw Lollipop principles applied, with a redesigned menu, easier to find features, and new approach to monitoring download progress.

What are you favourites?

Which apps do you think have best exploited the new Android Lollipop style? Do you even like Material Design, or did you prefer the old look of Android 4.x?

We’d love to hear from you — leave your comments in the box below.

  1. ed
    December 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I have never been a fan of Google's UI/UX decisions. Web Gmail is horrible with the use of labels, but not folders. The display of emails as conversations is confusing. Buttons that aren't clear as to their function, etc...

    The same seems to translate across all Google products including Android. Their employees are PhDs, but have no concept of intuitive, easy-to-use design and layout that is best for average users. I still refuse to use gmail because of labels and conversation view (yes, I know you can turn off conversation view in web, but not in Android).

    That said, on just pure aesthetics, I do like the look of material design, I just don't like the user interface of most of their products ... I can't imagine the average user figuring out the settings of their camera app.

    • Daniel Price
      December 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Ed,

      Enforced conversations in Android Gmail infuriates me. Like you, I disable it everywhere, I don't see how it makes things easier to track and manage.

      That said, I rarely keep more than ~5 emails in my inbox. If you're someone who has 1,000s of unread mails, maybe it works better.

      Thanks!

      Daniel

  2. CHOPPERGIRL
    December 12, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Matrial Design sucks, and Im not alone.... the forums are over run by people who cant stand it and wished they had never been so foolish as to click yes to the 5.01 Lolipop upgrade.

    How do you revert the interface back to a Kitkat look and behavior. Kitkat was ecxellent, intuitive, fast, stable, and it just bloody damn worked.

    • Daniel Price
      December 16, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      I think the only way to restore KitKat effectively is to flash the factory image back onto your device. If you have Android Back-Up enabled, you won't lose settings or apps.

      Thanks!

      Daniel

    • neeuuh
      December 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Material design is incredible and the best thing to happen to Android ever. And I am not alone in this...

  3. DonGateley
    December 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Horrible, ugly trivialization of design. Intended only to remove any need for design expertise in creating applications, reducing the process to the least common denominator so that anyone can do it no matter how esthetically incompetent.

    And I say that as one who is particularly esthetically incompetent. Even I could makes apps like this which is cool but I wouldn't want to use them.

    We've been suckered for the sake of expanding the app space for Samsung, Apple, Google, etc. to increase their profit.

    • neeuuh
      December 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      "Even I could makes apps like this "

      No you couldn't.

  4. likefunbutnot
    December 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Material Design is a goddamned abomination. I don't want fly-out menus from multiple places on screen. I don't want worthless colored rectangles of wasted screen area just because some UX designer decided to express manly urges for whitespace, extra taps and downward scrolling on the entire Android userbase.

    I've not found a single usability improvement as a result of the new theme Google inflicted on us; "Material Design" is a perfect case of design winning over functionality.

    • Daniel Price
      December 11, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Hi,

      Interesting comments. For the most part I've found the newly designed apps to be easier to use than the old ones. Sometimes an app might see less intuitive because you've got to use it in a different way.

      I think it's also important to remember that the new designs are at the start of their life-cycle. No doubt usability will improve as app developers become more accustomed to what they're working with.

      Cheers!

      Daniel

    • likefunbutnot
      December 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      @Daniel Price,

      I bought devices with 2560x1600 and 1920x1080 screens for a reason and that reason isn't so headings can be surrounded by vast regions of unused space. Maybe someone is designing for 4k screens and if that's the case I'm sure everyone who has an LG G3 is very happy, but since there's no OS-tuneable parameter for the "material design-ness" of the theming as distinct from lowering the system font sizes, which is something that should be recognized as a non-starter for most users. I can't even imagine how the new theme works on low-spec devices with 1024x768 screens.

      Google ditched support for the menu button, leading to a new class of problem where devices that have that button may find that it either does nothing in updated apps (Gmail) or has some limited, arbitrary function (Drive) rather than bringing up the full, proper context menu. Even worse, several apps now have multiple places on-screen where different sets of options might be configured (most often there is now at least a distinction between view settings and the menu proper), or have multiple nested Settings buttons buried inside the menu structure. That's poor design. It creates inconsistency and increases user confusion, particularly when new, themed applications haven't full adopted the same visual semaphores Google is using this week. Android has just managed to reach the same shitty UI state that iOS apps always have, which is having to guess what icons that have no verbal cues might do. As someone who is often called upon to demonstrate or teach software on Android, these are the exact opposites of things that I want to see out of software.

    • michel
      December 11, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      I wouldn't care to have someone with such a crappy attitude "teach" me anything. If you don't like it, don't use it.

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