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  (Source: Android Police)
Android is looking to follow in Windows Phone's footsteps with new update

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and virtually every major phone operating system maker has been accused of imitating popular looks or features from the others' platforms over the last several years.
It's hard to deny that the market is shifting from the skeuomorphic (3D/gemlike) look that Apple, Inc. (AAPL) championed with the 2007 launch of the iPhone to the flat poster style icons championed by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) with the 2010 launch of Windows Phone.

iPhone to Windows Phone

Google Inc. (GOOG) was perhaps the first to pay homage to Microsoft's design shift, when it turned its web app icons -- including Chrome from skeuomorphic designs to flat designs.  Google's flattening has been ongoing from 2011 to as recently as last year, when it comes to its web apps.  Google Chrome was one of the first icons to go flat, getting posterized back in March 2011.  

Chrome new icon

This trend continued through till last August when YouTube got a new flat icon.

YouTube Icon update 2013

These icons weren't quite as flat as Microsoft's though, as they had hard shadows behind prominent design elements.  Google's flattening paradigm is described under its "Visual Asset Guidelines" documentation on

Google was not alone.  Apple too, parroted Microsoft's design direction with iOS 7 (which could also be viewed to a lesser extent as derivative of Google's flattened web icon look); a release that was rather controversial and which some Apple fans still refuse to embrace.

Apple iOS 7 flattening

But Google has yet to make the move to flatter icons on the mobile end.  Its core app icons in Android are still relatively skeuomorphic, with interior gradients, shines, and other chracteristic stylings.  Android Police has gotten its hands on a reportedly leaked set of Android icons for an update dubbed "Project Moonshine", which ports Android's icons towards the web-icons.

Android Moonshine

The same icons have popped up on a Google Partners Page, lending credence that they are indeed authentic, although its unknown whether the claim that they are coming to Android is the real deal as well.

Android Moonshine

One of the users has posted a version of the icons that can be seen below without the backing.

Android Moonshine

If accurate, this will mean that both Google and Apple will now have followed in Microsoft's lines in adopting flatter design cues.  Given the controversy surrounding iOS 7, we're guessing that Android fans will have mixed feelings regarding the shift in design direction.

Sources: Android Police, Google Partners Page, Imgur

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Inefficient GUI's
By littlebitstrouds on 4/16/2014 2:12:20 PM , Rating: 2
A welcome transition. The whole idea of 3 dimensions for "aesthetic" purposes in our GUI's has always annoyed me. If my processor is taxed 1% to show this crap, I'd love it to be disabled. I'm not buying computer components look at pretty things, I'm buying it to perform.

RE: Inefficient GUI's
By SAN-Man on 4/16/2014 2:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
So why aren't you posting/browsing in a text browser in Linux with no window manage?

RE: Inefficient GUI's
By inighthawki on 4/16/2014 2:17:50 PM , Rating: 4
Maybe he is ;)

RE: Inefficient GUI's
By Gondor on 4/16/2014 3:11:07 PM , Rating: 3
First of all, your CPU doesn't give a flying balloon about the style of your icons. It is the GPU that is shoving the bitmaps around and it doesn't give a flying balloon about their appearance either - a bitmap with transparent background and certain bit depth is a bitmap, no matter whether it is "flat", "3D", "shaded" etc. in appearance.

Any operation on such a bitmap takes the same amount of time regardless of how it looks, it's just that flat icons look uglier (and might be easier to compress - which is only relevant for loading those few KB images ... from a medium with tens of MB/s of throughput ...).

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