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Don’t Expect Developers to Update Apps for Material Design Just Yet

Android L Developer Preview SDK

During the Google I/O 2014 opening keynote, we caught our first glimpses of the radically different Android L. And when Google made an early developer preview available, many end users went ahead and installed L on their own devices. Unfortunately though, intrepid users were quick to find that the developer preview didn’t feature all of the UI goodies that we saw in the Android Design Guidelines and event keynote.

While part of the disconnect between expected and actualized features is due to the incomplete nature of the developer preview, an even larger part boils down to the lack of application support for Android’s new UI paradigm, Material Design. So we should all urge our favorite app developers to get with the program and update their apps, right? Wrong.

Alongside the release of the Android L Developer Preview images, Google also released the Android L Preview SDK. Using the L Preview SDK, developers are now able to make use of Theme.Material.* and give their applications this highly sought after theme. And in fact, this is only available when using the preview SDK. However, Google makes it very clear that applications created with the preview SDK should not be published to the Google Play Store:

The L Developer Preview gives you an advance look at the upcoming release for the Android platform, which offers new features for users and app developers. This document provides an introduction to the most notable APIs.

The L Developer Preview is intended for developer early adopters and testers. If you are interested in influencing the direction of the Android framework, give the L Developer Preview a try and send us your feedback!

Caution: Do not not publish apps that use the L Developer Preview to the Google Play store.

What’s more, users not running Android L can’t even install applications created using the L Preview SDK, even when the application is created with minSDK set to something lower than what’s supported by the target device:

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So where are we going with all of this? We should stop harassing our favorite app developers to update their applications to Material Design. This is because the Material Design theme is only available using the L Preview SDK, and applications built using it can’t be uploaded to the Play Store. So let’s give our developers a break  and let them use the Android L Preview SDK the way it’s meant to be used: as a way to get their applications ready for when Android L is released in the fall, rather than to create shipping applications now.

[Via Daniel Velazco]

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