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John C. Bland II's profile photoC. Paul Courtney's profile photoEloy Sanchez's profile photoMichael Zimmermann's profile photo
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Eloy Sanchez
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Get Moto using stock Android and that will break the paradigm that needs most breaking
 
Or at least unlock the bootloaders
 
Google should seriously enforce stock Android more strongly. Android ICS on my Galaxy Nexus is great, but OEM skins on other phones just look bad. I doubt if that'll go away with ICS.

I understand that carriers and manufacturers like to "differentiate", but I doubt if users choose the Galaxy S II over the HTC Raider just because of the TouchWiz skin, for example. There are better ways to differentiate your offerings.
 
Beautiful article, I notice on my blog how much of a paradigm change Holo represents to Android users. They expect the best now (as they should). Btw great guide Matias ;)
 
Can a brother get a Sprint version!?!? My wife and I are both itching to get this phone.
 
Great article. I love the work you've done on the UI/UX (I own a Galaxy Nexus), and I can't wait to see what you do next.

I do have just one criticism though, the contact pictures - "the image takes prominence in the layout, consuming a third of the screen."

Please please please get Google to update Google Contacts so that the resolution is higher. At the moment, unless my contact has a Google+ account (most do not), the big image taking up a third of the screen is horrible and pixelated, and is the only thing that ruins the UI in my opinion.

Keep up the great work +Matias Duarte !
 
+John C. Bland II I don't know if you missed it but yes, Sprint will have a 32 GB, LTE version coming this summer. I can't wait!
+James Fancourt How do the integrated FB profile pictures look in your contacts?
 
+Matias Duarte Excellent article. I can't wait until my EVO 3D gets ICS but I'll likely be dumping it for the Sprint GN as soon as its released.
 
I am a big fan of the new android design. It looks a lot more like a modern website design than most OS's.
 
There's only a few things I dislike about ics, the main one being that on the galaxy nexus you dropped the search button, I mean that is the most used button on my phone .
 
+C. Paul Courtney Yeah, I saw that but did they say Summer? If so, that seems overly foolish seeing as the J-release will be out in a few months after that with a new Nexus. I want it now! :-D hehe. #impatient

+Matias Duarte You guys should never do an exclusive on a Nexus. Always throw it out on every single provider possible.
 
+RICHARD TALLEY at least its as easy to root as it could possible be and lots of roms support added menu and search buttons.
 
+John C. Bland II LTE will be up here in H-town and a few other cities by mid-summer. I can't imagine Sprint releasing the GN until their LTE network is in at least those initial cities.
 
IMO they screwed up with the menu button. You still don't know what functionality is behind the three dots, if any. Just now its in different locations for different apps and it has different levels of functionality depending on where you are within an app. It's poorly implemented and more confusing - not less.

Other than that quibble, ICS is amazing.
 
+Matthew Ghilarducci well the difference is that with a menu button always being there you never know when to press it, in ICS there will only be a menu if there is something there so it will only appear if its needed.
 
Love my galaxy nexus...EXCEPT for the low res gmail thumbnails for the many users who aren't on Google+ yet. +Matias Duarte any word on this? I know its a cross world (android/gmail) issue, but you guys have to be seeing this right?
 
Great work! Can't wait to see what you have in store for 5.0 and beyond!
 
I get that +Marc Emil Steen Munk Nielsen but I'd rather have a menu button that is always there and doesn't do anything on 3-5% of apps (if that much, I can't think of one app I use that doesn't have options) than have a settings button that roams around from app to app.
 
+Matthew Ghilarducci I think its simpler for new users this way. My mom barely know how to use the ctrl button on her computer to do anything and its not like she doesn't use a computer. Its just not obvious for people who don't know how to use it. Having it only be there when needed makes people notice it.
 
Android UX Design Chief Matias Duarte says, "We’ve had 2,000 years of development in visual communication, and mobile computers typically don’t take advantage of that".
How did he come up with that number? Does he think that Jesus invented visual communication?
 
My biggest issue is the one size fits all approach... it sucks.

I'm a highly technical person and say I don't want a big photo in my contacts I should be able to control that... I want all the settings available via a press of a button... I should be to control that. I don't want text under my icons... I should be able to control that. Someday one of the phone developers will realize the importance of this... until then XDA.
 
+Matias Duarte the next thing Android should focus on is better heap management of the VM's. Even on my Galaxy Nexus I run into issues where the VM's aren't dropped out of memory to avoid stuttering. There has to be a better way to manage memory. Besides that I love the OS and the versatility it brings!
 
I think stock Android is now far better than the other manufacturer custom skins.

I wouldn't want to see the end of custom skins though, it's a really powerful feature of Android, and some great ideas have come of it.

Perhaps Google could insist on manufacturers including a simple way to get back to stock Android.
 
+David Wilcox You implement stuff like that and Android becomes even more "user unfriendly" than its main competition. The one thing that the iSheep have going for them is that there's only ONE way to skin a cat in their OS. Meaning there aren't so many pathways to the same task - there's no confusion, there's always a clear sense of purpose behind everything on a iOS screen regardless of who designed the app.

ICS made leaps and bounds improvements on this and Android is now user intuitive enough to where I can safely recommend it to friends without having to worry about whether I'm going to be their personal smartphone consulting service.
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The low res profile pic in contacts is definitely annoying. I have to edit the profile and crop a new pic in the nexus to have the people profile pics res returns to normal, but I can't do this to all of my contacts... Please fix!
 
Great stuff Duarte but what is the percentage of Android users who have used it... Might want to start thinking about that else all of the above won't matter one bit.
 
Love your work so far. Looking forward to seeing how you standardize how the back button works in the user journey.
 
a agree with some of the comments that say there is a problem with the positioning of the options button. The visibility was bad on gingerbread (no UI element telling you about it) but at least you always knew where is was. Now I always have to be scanning the screen to find where it is! Sometimes is on the navigation bar in the bottom, sometimes is on the top right corner of the application (most ICS google apps have it there)
 
+Matias Duarte says. "We want the person to be the point of emotional contact." So the image gets emphasized, while the actual contact information recedes. It’s still there, of course, but the emphasis is on the visuals, not unlike, say, in a magazine.

Except this fails epicly when paired with Google Contacts sync feature that resizes contact pictures to 96x96(?). All I see is a pixelly mess. No emotional contact, no "Oh, wow!". Just, "Yuck!". You guys really need to fix that.
 
I agree +Denver Lobo
. I think this will become less of an issue when we start having true multisync social networking contact books with facetagging of each contacts public pictures. When this happens.. if someday will get some agreements between the big three. Google can just analize your contacts and provide you a list of thumbnails possible to improve
 
+Stephen Frank I believe google does not care about the phones people have now so much as the phones people will buy in the future. The big problem to me is when a new phone is released with old software
 
I see a lot of the same whiners on this thread are over in the comments section of the source site.

Typical, that the haters are always the ones that feel the need to spam multiple places with their complaints.
 
+Thaddeus Pecorak why you would feel the need to whine about the whiners is beyond me! I am one of the ones that is complaining but I do not know why you think this is bad... pointing out the weaknesses of something can and many times contributes to make it better and finding better solutions. I am very happy with ICS... but if something is wrong and should be improved why not talk about it? It is part of the idea of an Open Source OS. Maybe somebody agrees with the complains and is able to make improvements. I do not see a problem with that.
 
+Duarte Molha Yes but literally copying and pasting the same gripe into both places is just annoying.

Plus, Google already came out and told everyone how to "fix" the contact picture "issue". Which isn't an issue, more that its just people using low-res images for their contact pics.
 
+C. Paul Courtney in response to your earlier question, there isn't integrated FB contact pictures because of some disagreement between Google and Facebook - FB refusing to use the new API or something. Until they resolve it you can't add a Facebook account on ICS :(
 
+Thaddeus Pecorak Would you mind telling us how to fix it? I am an avid android fan and have not heard of that fix
 
I just replaced my contact pictures with new HQ ones. I don't know why people are complaining. It's a higher res phone to begin with...
 
+Christen Perey because when you have your contacts syncing with google (unless the contact is a g+ contact) it will sync with google contacts) and when it does , your high res picture gets resized to 96x96. After the sync is complete your highres thumbnails get replaced... the only way to prevent that is to not sync your contacts.
 
+Duarte Molha hmm, I did a (high res) fb photo look up of my friend, then fb app allows you to "set the photo as" contact picture. I set it that way and it didn't resize my contact picture to 96x96 res... and that's not sync with google+. it's just an individual contact that I set the picture of.
 
+Duarte Molha my contact pics appear beautifully on incoming calls, contact look up, faves tab, etc. I don't see anything that I set the pictures of manually (which is almost all my contacts since they don't have google+) that are pixelated.
 
Well, it's a workaround and not feasible one when you have 500+ contacts. And I'm skeptical about whether manually setting works. It might not work if you flash different ROMs. Also will probably not work if you re-sync your contacts on another device. You would probably have do it manually on the new device.

Bottom line: this should not be an issue in the first place.
 
+Denver Lobo my contacts are sync with google contacts. I got the photos on my tablet too and they weren't resized to 96x96 either they appear fine on my Sony Tablet S... and yeah, I only have 100+ contacts.
 
Like many said. I hope motorola gets ICS like it should be. Im running ICS rom on my SGS2 and i love it!
 
+Matias Duarte I recall that during an interview with The Verge during CES, you mentioned the possibility of attracting developers to stick to the Android Design guidelines with incentives or certifications. I think this is a great idea, and the same can be applied to OEMs to encourage them to use stock Android. I understand that OEMs need to make design differentiations to stand out. What about a Theme Engine that allows users to turn off OEMs' custom design? Also, what about a certification program in which OEMs are encouraged to use a certain chipset/CPU (like TI OMAP in ICS' case) so that the process of adopting the code of a new version of Android to an old phone can be quicker, or even automatic? Just thinking out loud...
 
+Matias Duarte Thinking about the ICS/HC tablet UI... As is done with the ICS app bar, with a large enough screen like tablets, there is no real reason to split things to top and bottom (including the main UI). It just lessens the efficiency of my hand/arm movements (too much travel for a large screen of single-user use). The app draw shouldn't be on the opposite corner of the back/home/recent. I think everything should be on the bottom, in the same corner.
 
Like many said. I hope motorola gets ICS like it should be. Im running ICS rom on my SGS2 and i love it!
 
Matias, I really love what you've done with Android. As a student and a wannabe UI designer, you are one of my biggest inspirations and heroes. Never stop dressing uniquely :]
 
I'm waiting for more ICS hardware choices. I'm itching to buy some new hardware.....I'd have to say the Asus padfone is looking yummie!!!
 
Well, if there's something in the Android that I really dislike is the App Drawer. I own a smartphone for the apps, why they're not in the "desktop" like the iphone?
 
+Gabriel Porto ummm, create a shortcut? different people want a smartphone for different things. and that's why android took off. i mean if you just want the apps to be in the homescreen then buy an iphone... or you could create shortcut for the apps you use a lot in android. I bet you don't use "ALL" you're apps every single day. i mean do you sit down and just click on you're apps one by one all day? and another thing is widgets. you can't possibly suggest that we put all the apps in the homescreen + all the widgets you'd like to use. that's cluttered and ugly.
 
1) Let's have the stock android UI so good that Sense, Touchwizz and others won't be required any more.

2) ICS seems at worst to be on the borderline of that. It's interesting that some companies' such as ASUS and Panasonic offerings seem to be stock UI's as opposed to some inhouse offering.

3) Ditching in house UI's must surely help speed updates to new Android releases for longer on smartphones.

4) This will help Androids to be the general computing smartphones of the market, general computing devices are an important issue that +Matias Duarte raised in an earlier article.
 
+Christen Perey I think you should check MIUI Rom. They combine apps and widgets in just one homescreen (with multiple screens), IMO it's the best looking Android Rom out there (off course I'm including all manufactures' roms) and it's so more productive.

And I'm not going to buy an iPhone. Did you read what I said previously? "...the only thing..."
 
+Gabriel Porto well, I'll be honest I forgot what we were talking about here and I don't plan on re-checking all 62 comments above. So cheers that you found what you need.
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