I've been digging into my old Android apps, trying to decide if I should reinvest in bringing them back to life. The general atmosphere for independent developers has been quite bearish for a couple of years. But I've seen these downturns transform and lead into new generations of apps & services - that's how we got Facebook and YouTube. Read more
With both iOS and Android sporting similar apps and features, it's creative design and clever animations that's driving competition between the platforms. Each platform is constantly updating with powerful tools and components to make up-to-date mobile apps really stand out. With the intense competition in the app stores and waning apathy of users, developing something striking is critical.
It takes an experienced creative developer to handle this challenge, which is a role I've held for the last six years. I'm an Android UI developer. Read more
Today we're releasing Kairo, a new theme with a ton of fresh new widgets. We're also excited to announce FREE versions of our theme packs. Last, but not least, we've created a new G+ Community for HD Widgets to share designs and ideas.
FREE themes packs? Yes!
Are they just sampler packs? No!
We're basically going to try a free / expanded pack approach to theme packs.
Free packs will have the fundamentals: plenty of widgets in all the popular sizes for most the most common uses. They'll have lots of features but won't be too advanced or overwhelming for casual users. People still have to buy HD Widgets to use them, but now they won't have to pay each time we do an major widget redesign.
Expanded packs (XP) will have everything in the free versions plus more: more widgets, more features, and more creative control over more details. It also gives us a way to provide for advanced users and unique use cases without bloating the basics. Want us to make a particular size widget with particular features? We can do it... in the expanded pack.
What does that mean for today? It means Kairo and Colourform now have FREE and XP theme packs.
We're very excited to share with you Kairo, our newest theme for HD Widgets. Kairo is super friendly and colorful, combining design themes from iOS, KitKat, and Colourform to create a refreshing new look for ultra-HD screens.
Our previous themes (Glass Gems and Colourform) are 1-2 years old at this point, so we made sure Kairo was robust enough to cover all of the essential widgets people use between those two themes. Kairo is also the beginning of a series of new theme packs rolling out over the next few months.
We created two packs, Kairo and Kairo XP:
Kairo is FREE and contains over 40 widgets ranging from 1x1 up to 8x2, including
new 1x2 & 1x4 column (tall) widgets
4x1 & 4x2 Smart Weather Stats widgets
current weather, 3-day forecast, and 5-day forecast
custom weather icons
color elements as groups (text, icons, active icon color, clock time, clock meridian, and background)
multiple clock fonts
background color and opacity
65+ utility switches / settings
Kairo XP is the extended pack with over 60 widgets. It has all of the features of Kairo, as well as:
Split "fancy" clock w/ Smart Weather Stat or custom indicator
Lots of indicator-based widgets
More color presets
Color individual clock parts (hours, dots, mins)
As you will see, we didn't make Kairo a small sample pack - it's actually very fully featured. Our XP packs are more for messing around and trying fun and interesting layouts beyond the basics. We also get a lot of requests for custom widgets sizes so we figure the extended backs are best for that.
Another way to look at it: the free packs are simple and clear so anyone can use them without a lot of clutter or getting overwhelmed by design choices. By contrast, the extended packs (XP) are for advanced users who simply want *more*. Easy!
HD Widgets 4 is rolling out from the Play Store starting today. There's some good stuff in there: updated UI, more weather information, and new widgets.
We actually have more, but there's a catch...
With over 800k active installs, we can't release HD Widgets to everyone all at once. It's just too risky for our small team. Instead, we're using Google's staged rollout system to release to limited portions of users per day over the next week or so.
After the rollout, there's even more coming. We just need to make sure everyone has access to HDW4.