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When Android first emerged as a viable alternative to iOS, it was not an aesthetically-pleasing platform. It had features out the wazoo, but there was no cohesive design style, nor any guidance from Google about how an Android app should look. The story these days is very different, however, with Google having a set of design guidelines for the platform, showcasing a look that lacks the skeumorphism, and unnecessary UI flourishes of iOS, but has more personality than Microsoft’s purely-digital look.
In the interests of promoting good design for the platform we all love, and promoting the developers who embrace its unique features and style, we at Ausdroid have prepared a list of applications that we think are not only beautiful, but also functional.

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts

First up is Pocket Casts, a beautiful podcast application made by Australian developers Shifty Jelly. Pocket Casts makes excellent use of Android’s design guidelines, but adds its own identity with its use of colours and large tiles. The application has a great tablet UI, and has both dark and light themes.
Pocket Casts lets you add your favourite podcasts, which are updated automatically when new episodes become available. It supports cross-device syncing, variable speed playback, smart playlists, homescreen widgets and both video and audio podcasts.

[app]au.com.shiftyjelly.pocketcasts[/app]

SeriesGuide

SeriesGuide

SeriesGuide is a stunning application to track the TV shows you watch. By default, the application uses a dark theme with blue highlights, but there are a number of options, ‘SeriesGuide Light’ being my favourite, making good use of the Holo Light Dark Action Bar theme. The application automatically downloads information about the shows you select, such as episode synopses and ratings, DVD cover artwork and stills from individual episodes; and it syncs with Trakt to keep a list of watched episodes and shows you like updated across devices. If you watch any TV shows at all, this application is a must.
It includes a homescreen widget for upcoming/recent episodes, as well as DashClock support and tablet mode.

[app]com.battlelancer.seriesguide[/app]

Jiffy

jiffy

If you work in an industry that works by billable hours, it’s important to keep track of the time you spend on various projects. Jiffy is a beautiful timekeeping application, and is super straightforward to use. On the main screen, you simply tap ‘Add Project’, fill in the project and customer names and then you’re good to go. From there, you tap on the project name on the main screen to start and stop recording time. Couldn’t be easier!

The application also gives you a summary of the time spent on various projects, in either chart form, or overlaid on a calendar. It also has a neat tablet mode, allowing you to see more information at once.

[app]com.nordicusability.jiffy[/app]

Eye in Sky

Eye In Sky

The Play Store has no shortage of weather applications, but in my opinion, Eye in Sky is the best. It has a beautiful minimal design, with a variety of different weather icon choices, and it supports tablets, homescreen widgets and has a DashClock extension.

[app]com.citc.weather[/app]

HD Widgets – Colurform Theme

colorform

HD Widgets has been around for a long time, starting out as a clock and weather widget, heavily inspired by HTC’s clock widget, but has since evolved into a fantastic set of widgets in its own right. Android design has come a long way since HD Widgets was released though, and the widgets don’t really fit within the Android 4.x style any more. Enter the Colourform Theme pack, which provides a whole new set of widgets, which fit perfectly into Android’s style now. My homescreen doesn’t feel complete without a clock/weather widget, and the beautiful minimalist style of the Colourform HD Widget, with its myriad colour choices is perfect.

Found a great Holo themed app you’d like to share? Are you an Australian developer with a Holo themed app you would like reviewed? You can tweet us or email us.

  • deanomalino

    If anyone uses Beautiful Widgets and wants to have a similar “Colourform” theme, download one of the “Minimalistic” themes from the theme section within the app. Then also download a white coloured battery/weather theme.

    It’s close enough. :P

  • Sean Royce

    So happy to see that Android developers are taking advantage of the holo UI.

  • Nick Bryant

    Great post. For those looking for a running app, Endomondo has a terrific holo-themed design.

  • Max Luong

    Taking about Shifty Jelly, Pocket Weather is also with checking out. I only trust weather apps that scrape the BOM, and theirs is the nicest.

    • Simon

      Pocket weather is my favourite weather app but I wish it would rotate with the screen and it looks pretty bad on a tablet with a lot of wasted space

  • Max Luong

    Excellent article. More stuff like this, please!

    • http://ausdroid.net/ James Finnigan

      Thanks for the feedback, Max. We will definitely be doing more articles like this in future :)

  • NCHC

    Pocket Casts V4’s big tiles were introduced before Google released Play V4 which now also has large colourful tiles… so who’s taking designs cue from who? Compliments to the Shifty team they have come a long way in the Android ecosystem.