Holo - The New Look of Android
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Holo as a default theme has made a huge difference in Android application visual quality. Before the Holo apps that didn't have customised themes looked like this:
No wonder Android got a reputation of being (f)ugly. Fortunately, the platform has moved on. As mentioned above all devices shipping with a Android 3.0 or never now allow us to use Holo theme in our apps. There are two Holo themes: dark and light.
In this post I've gathered few apps that use Holo themes pretty much unmodified. While it is possible to custiomise the themes it is no-longer mandatory to avoid ugly UI. I recommend checking out Android niceties for many more screenshots of apps that use Holo, modified Holo or fully custom themes.
Tasks app is brilliant. I love the app design and using it is pure pleasure. The developers have utilised Android UI patters correctly where applicable making interacting with the app easy and predictable. On top of that they also have added very large screen support. The app uses plain uncustomised Holo.Light.
Notes for ICS
Notes app is simple and good. Easy to use and predictable. It is not as polished as the Tasks app above but still very good especially with the great tablet support. The app uses plain uncustomised Holo.Light.
Boid & TweetComb
These two apps should be one app. One of them works only on phones and one of them only on tablets. They look and feel very similar. The apps use plane uncustomised Holo.Dark.
Will Holo make Android boring?Jake Wharton wrote fairly provocative but well thought out post to Google+ about pure Holo apps making Android boring. The post started a great discussion about Holo and role of Holo in Android design. Read the post and discussion here.
Remember, it is only a starting point
Holo themes are not meant to be the only themes developer should use. It is not meant to be the ultimate look of Android apps. It is however meant to be the basis. When you start building your app's look use one of the Holo themes as basis. That way we still a way that Android apps look like without making them all look the same.
ConclusionAndroid apps used to be ugly by default. That no-longer applies. Now, leaving Android app without a customsed theme is an option.
Published at DZone with permission of Juhani Lehtimaki, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.