Google premiered the Material design theme at its big Google I/O conference back in June, but only recently have developers been sending out apps in accord with the new look for the Android operating system.
And it isn’t just Googlers who’ve been doing the work. Startups have launched Material-style apps, too. Some can help you at work, while others can come in handy at home.
Here’s a sampler of some of the better Material-compliant apps we’ve come across so far.
This app from Dutch design studio E-sites lets you add weather forecasts and and attach files to appointments on your schedule. You can throw in events from your calendar on Facebook, Outlook, and Microsoft Exchange, not just Google Mail. And the app lets you tie tasks lists into your calendar.
Battery Widget Reborn
This app from Tomáš Hubálek provides fine-grained information about how much of your device’s battery remains. And hey, the app itself is optimized to consume just a tiny bit of your battery power. So that’s good.
The app from startup Pushbullet does something that should be a default for all your devices but for some reason isn’t. The app reveals notifications from your mobile devices on your computer, so you don’t miss calls, and it lets you share files and links with all of your devices.
The Taskmanager app from Germany’s ByteHamster might look simple, but simplicity might be all you need for a tool that ensures your Android device isn’t running processes that are unnecessarily using up resources.
Thanks to Asparagus, you no longer need to keep all those random recipes from the Internet stored in one folder in your browser bookmarks. The Material-friendly Asparagus app brings them into one place, where you can organize recipes by food type.
With Ivon Liu’s Pedometer app, there’s no need for a FitBit or Jawbone if you just want to track how many steps you’ve taken. All you need is a device with a step sensor, like a Moto X or a Nexus 5. The app remembers specific walks and counts calories, steps, and distances.
Pocket stores all the articles you want to read later and videos you want to watch later. The newly released Pocket version 5.7 for Android features “delightful moments and smooth transitions” in line with Material design principles, according to a blog post from the startup. Also new: You can search for articles in your Pocket using your voice with Google Now.
Google itself has rolled out a handful of apps in line with its Material theme, and the new Google Calendar is probably one of the coolest. A significant update over the current version, the forthcoming Material-style Google Calendar will feature a new Schedule View that adds some pizazz to each event on your calendar for any given day. And when you’re entering a new event into your Google Calendar, Google makes suggestions about specific places where you’ll be doing your thing. Unfortunately, the refresh isn’t available on Google Play yet. It will become available “in the coming weeks,” product manager Ian Leader wrote in a recent blog post.
Google Maps will also look hip to Material soon as a result of an upcoming update. One new feature worth calling out: the ability to reserve a restaurant inside of the app. As is the case with the new Google Calendar, the Material version of Google Maps isn’t out yet, but it should hit Google Play soon.
The new Gmail, meanwhile, is available on Google Play today. It’s clean and neat, featuring plenty of white space and also a bold red line at the top. It’s the kind of app millions of people use every day, and it’s a welcome improvement on previous versions.