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Holo Theme Is Now Mandatory For Android Devices 206

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the a-breath-of-fresh-tron dept.
tripleevenfall writes in about the new theme changes in Android 4.0. From the article: "Starting with Android 4.0, support for the 'Holo' theme will be mandatory for phones and tablets that have the Android Market installed. Holo is the stock Android theme, known for its sharp angles, thin lines and blue hue. Third-party developers can now create apps and widgets using the default Android aesthetic, knowing that's how it'll look on every major Ice Cream Sandwich device that has the Android Market. " This is not banning custom themes; instead it is merely giving developers a consistent theme that is guaranteed to be installed if they want a consistent look across all devices. There are even a few improvements to the style protocol to help developers deal with dark and light themes.
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Holo Theme Is Now Mandatory For Android Devices

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  • Re:Err (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:10PM (#38587002)

    Will the users be allowed to change the theme?

    "This is not banning custom themes; instead it is merely giving developers a consistent theme that is guaranteed to be installed if they want a consistent look across all devices."

    I think you missed that sentence.

  • Re:What's this? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wanderfowl (2534492) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:11PM (#38587022)
    There's no wall here at all, just a foundation. You can still do whatever the heck you want with your device as a consumer, and this is just saying that manufacturer's shouldn't completely break the underlying UI structure, even if they want to supplant it with some theme of their own. "Do what you want with the field, just don't salt the Earth so nobody else can use it".
  • bad subject line (Score:4, Informative)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:33PM (#38587276) Journal

    Holo theme is not mandatory, only support for the Holo theme for devices that use the Android marketplace. So applications can be written that use the Holo theme with some confidence that they will display correctly. This is a good thing. It gives developers a minimum standard look and feel that is required to work.

  • Re:What's this? (Score:3, Informative)

    by scot4875 (542869) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:03PM (#38587636) Homepage

    No, I think it's generally applied to people who are incapable of seeing the flaws in the things they like, and cannot have a rational discussion about them. It's people who somehow have an emotional investment in their chosen product being "the best" and anyone who chooses differently, for any reason, is "wrong".

    It's perfectly fine to have a favorite, it's not perfectly fine to be blinded to alternatives.

    --Jeremy

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:16PM (#38587782) Homepage Journal

    Actually if he wasn't disingenuous to his own damn post, maybe he wouldn't be branded a troll. First he quotes part of the article that hints at Google's plan to make the UI theme more accessible to app developers, and then he turns it on it's head and says this will increase fragmentation... Because nothing says "fragmentation" like making app developers have to do LESS to cleanly support the OS. Then he links to an article as a claim of faith (re: the Galaxy line not getting rev 4 software), and completely leaves out the article from approximately a day later that showed Samsung was reversing their position due to customer outcry. And to top it all off, to not sound too much like a anti-google shill he throws in the sentence "Requiring support for a theme is a step in the right direction" which makes no sense at all given the nature of the rest of his argument.

    He slapped together some canned flamebait responses and didn't bring anything about the actual article to this thread (or anything new at all for that matter) so yes he earned those downmods.

  • by nahdude812 (88157) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:22PM (#38587838) Homepage

    As I've observed in other comments [slashdot.org], the iPhone 3GS running the latest version of iOS by version number isn't that impressive since the major new functionality is still locked out of the device (typically for sales reasons rather than hardware reasons such as with Siri). It's cool that you get to see a number which is the same number on newer phones, but it only grants you a carefully selected subset of the most basic of the new functionality, so it's not really the same version after all.

    In contrast, on Android, if your device is at certain version, it has access to all the features from that OS version that your hardware can support (eg, you can't depend on a gyroscope if none is present).

    Your chart should be updated to indicate how far back all the new major features are supported. Apple's roadmap will suddenly terminate full-feature-support for each phone line on the first SDK release after a newer phone is launched.

    In the mean time, although you can still target back to iPhone 3 OS versions in XCode (letting you include people with a device that is more than two years old but excluding you from using any newer features), you can still download Android SDK's back to API level 3 (the first public api level). So you can target every commercial Android phone at once as long as you either stick within the feature set from those original devices or you're clever enough to write code that knows how to fail gracefully when a more modern feature is unavailable. For example, we do this with one of our apps which has an NFC option (first available I think in API level 10, Android 2.3.3), but has plenty of non-NFC functionality as well - targeting API level 7 (Android 2.1) and conditionally using more recent APIs if the phone's OS supports them.

  • Re:Bingo (Score:4, Informative)

    by WankersRevenge (452399) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:32PM (#38588528)
    *thankyou* I'm an ios dev and it's nice to see some rationale discussion about platforms instead of the typical feces tossing match that typically occurs here.
  • by Dahamma (304068) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @05:06PM (#38588892)

    but it only grants you a carefully selected subset of the most basic of the new functionality, so it's not really the same version after all.

    That's a pretty huge exaggeration. The only missing features for the 3GS are Siri and in-place photo editing. 2 features of 200+ added with iOS 5. Big deal.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @08:59PM (#38591262) Journal

    I used to believe that Apple products "just worked" - I assumed that they don't "just work" for me because I am not part of the target demographic, being a developer (and therefore a power user).

    Then I bought an iPad for my mom. A few days ago, I went through an experience of updating it to iOS 5.0, which ended up in it being messed up rather badly with some apps crashing on open - most notably, iBooks. Googling around, apparently it's a well-known problem, detailed descriptions of which include references to incorrect permissions in /var (heh) and the suggestion to factory-reset - indeed, nothing else worked, and restore from backup failed with some cryptic error message along the lines of "Cannot restore because error E008034 occured". So I had the joy of reinstalling all the apps and reconfiguring everything. In the process, I managed to erase all installed apps with a single misclick - apparently, if you have set up synchronization of apps with iTunes, and later disable it, all apps previously synced are erased from the iOS device in question - and had to redo it all again, which included about a gigabyte of in-app purchase downloads (English and Spanish dictionaries for a dictionary app).

    Teaching her to use it was also a very excruciating experience. In Windows or OS X, you really only need to explain the general principles (things like files etc) and a few common UI elements - icons, top-level and dropdown menus, and context menus - and they apply to all apps. Ribbon was an exception, but not a hard one to deal with. In contrast, with iOS you're in a "twisted maze of apps, all different". Sometimes the "Back" button is in top left corner, sometimes in bottom left, sometimes in top right; worse yet, it's often labeled differently. Sometimes it's not there at all, and you're expected to switch between app screens by iconified tabs at the bottom or some other way. Some data entry screens are auto-save/auto-apply, others have some kind of "OK" button you need to tap to save what you have entered; usually it has blue background, but not always, and usually it says "Done", but not always. Deleting items from lists is done in at least two different ways - most often you tap "Edit" and then click on what looks like little stop signs (what is the mnemonic meaning of this?) on the right, but sometimes you instead need to open the item details screen by tapping on that item, and then locate a big red button saying "Delete" somewhere at the bottom (or sometimes at the top). Ironically, I never actually noticed all those inconsistencies, because I could always guess where the controls are based on past experience with numerous other mobile platforms; but for her, it was a PITA, as she had no such experience to relate to, and had to learn to operate every app differently because of all the differences described above.

    The killer punch was when I explained to her what photostream is, and she asked me to enable it. Sure, it works fine - snap a photo on the iPhone, and in a few minutes you can view it on your iPad. Except when she accidentally pressed the button at the wrong time and snapped a bunch of pointless pics, and asked me to delete them. Guess what - you can't! just google for "photostream delete photos" to see what I mean, and to see all the ridiculous suggestions people asking this get on Apple fanboi forums. Needless to say, the feature was promptly disabled until Apple can do it right.

    Next time anyone will try to convince me that iOS "just works" for casual users, they'll take an iPad to the knee.

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