Google just made it easier for developers to build beautiful apps on big displays, and we're here for it

Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook
Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Material Design team published new guidelines for designing apps with adaptable layouts, particularly for tablets, foldable phones, and Chromebooks.
  • The announcement blog post mentions updated guidelines for responsive layout and scalable components.
  • Two Google I/O sessions are recommended for developers in the post, and I can't wait to watch them.

Google I/O starts on Tuesday, and there's a lot Google needs to get through in three days, which explains why the Material Design team is getting a jump on its many, many announcements by publishing new Material Design Guidance for Large Screens on the Material Design blog.

Material Design For Large Screens

Source: Simone Noronha / Google (Image credit: Source: Simone Noronha / Google)

The updated guidelines should help developers design more responsible, adaptable, and scalable apps so that whether their apps are on the best phones, new-fangled foldables, or cheap Android tablets, users get the best experience possible. It should better solidify developers' understanding of layout and component design in order to ensure that all UI elements properly fit the screen they are rendered on. It also serves as a sneak peek at the 5 things you can do to prepare your app for large screens and What's new in foldables, tablets, and large screens sessions next week.

We've long needed better guidance for large-screen apps — especially for Chromebooks — and given that this year's Google I/O looks to bring us the biggest design changes for Android since Material Design was first unveiled at Google I/O 2014, it's no surprise that Google is trying to lay the groundwork early and make sure the basics are updated and current before we jump into the alleged Material NEXT and that swanky new system theming system that still hasn't shown up in the Developer Previews. Here's hoping Google's just saving it for a big, on-stage debut next week, because the new theming system looks too pretty to be a fake-out.

Chromebooks weren't explicitly mentioned in today's announcement or guidelines — not terribly surprising given the Material Design team tends to focus on Android phones and tablets first and foremost — but when Android Central reached out to Material Design Advocate Liam Spradlin, who authored today's overview and worked extensively on the new guidelines, he said that this is just the beginning:

"In this update, we tried to establish layout guidelines that would scale from phones all the way up to computer screens, as well as guidelines for composition and component behavior that scales along the way. ... There's still more work to come that digs deeper into the unique specifics of certain form factors, though."

One thing's for sure: next week is going to be a banner week for Android and the Material Design teams, and I, for one, can't wait to see it unfold on Tuesday.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.