Google’s Material Design aesthetic is supposed to be the new standard for Android design, but not all apps have made the transition to the catchy new look. That’s a shame, because it brings a level of beauty and polish to Android that hasn’t existed until the new design scheme was rolled out with Android Lollipop. Fortunately, several developers have put it into practice and cranked out some rather good looking apps. If you want to find out what Material Design is about, then grab one of the following apps or custom launchers from the Play Store to experience it for yourself.
Inbox by Gmail
While most of Google’s apps have gone material design in one form or another, Inbox is an excellent flagship. Emails are sorted in a card-style interface, which is a hallmark of material design. The app also uses a new slide-out menu to connect to other parts of the interface and has a floating button for creating a new message, reminder, or Inbox invite.
Field Trip is a clever app for when you’re traveling or just out and about and want to discover more about what’s around you. It will ping you with details about restaurants, sites of historical snippets, or other places that you wouldn’t normally pick up through just a Google search or perusal of Yelp.
It’s too rare to find a great “Android only” app that shows off the best of the platform. Weather Timeline has done this with its weather application. It also has excellent Android Wear implementation, pushing out weather alerts and putting the forecast on your watch.
SwiftKey has gone all-in on with themes, with choices ranging from the minimalist to the ridiculous (Frozen, anyone?). On the material design, front, however, there are two excellent keyboard choices that match the new design of Google’s keyboard but add in more functionality.
Action Launcher 3
Sure, there’s the Google Now Launcher if you want the Googliest home screen possible, but Action Launcher gives your phone or tablet a Nexus-style look with more customization. There are plenty of icon pack choices and the QuickPage, which is a custom home screen you can get by swiping in from the right edge.