When Google introduced Material Design a couple of years ago with the launch of ‘Android L’ it was clear that the Internet Giant wanted Android to go in a new, more colorful direction where interface design was concerned. Gone was the black and blue design of Holo and replaced with it a responsive, reactive and colorful flat design with the launch of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Since then, Material Design has hit a number of Google products online and in many Android apps, and some of Google’s partners have followed suit. A lot of Android manufacturers, such as LG and Samsung, were known for producing skins on top of Android with 3D stylized icons that tried to ape real-world objects. 2015 saw both LG and Samsung to soften things, but with the update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow it looks like Samsung could be taking things further.
Following a leak of what appears to be a test version of Android 6.0 on the Galaxy Note 5, screenshots from a Galaxy S6 running Marshmallow have surfaced from China. In these screenshots, a new icon design is shown off, that appears to embrace Material Design a little more, and flatten the interface a lot more. There are a number of reasons why Samsung might do this, beyond just cosying up to Google. In China and other parts of Asia where Samsung is struggling, users expect a certain style of icon and interface design, and adopting this new style could be the South Korean’s giant of offering these users something more familiar to get behind. Besides, the times are changing where interface design on Android is concerned, and while Samsung can do what they want to system apps and their own replacements, more and more apps in the Play Store are adopting rounded, softer designs and these would clash with older designs from Samsung.
Whether or not these leaked screenshots are real is unclear, but it’s not surprising to see a company like Samsung change things along with a new software update from Google, after all we’ve become accustomed to fancy new upgrades from our devices and Samsung has been a firm that consistently delivers where upgrades are concerned.