Android’s Matias Duarte: Ice Cream Sandwich Will Help Devs Cope With Myriad Form Factors

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As we closed out today’s Mobile First CrunchUp, all of our speakers took the stage for an extended roundtable discussing a variety of topics affecting mobile: design, gaming mechanics, and, of course, iPhone vs Android.

One of the last questions posed during the roundtable came from Wired’s Mike Isaac, who asked how the next version of Android, which is called Ice Cream Sandwich, would help developers produce applications that look nice across the multitude of form factors Android will spread to.

The difficulty developers face when designing for Android came up multiple times during the day (during an earlier panel I asked straight-up why iPhone apps look better), and Duarte’s message was consistent: things will be getting better as the platform becomes more mature. And the Android team is trying to do what they can to make it easier to develop for multiple form factors.

Here’s what Duarte had to say about the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich release (paraphrased):

Ice Cream Sandwich will continue the very challenging job of trying to create an embeddable platform that has the flexibility of the web. We’re trying to make one size fits all, and there are different products for different needs. That said, we know it is hard to design in that environment. Ice Cream Sandwich gives you a lot of tools to help you build one app that works more seamlessly across a variety of screen sizes and different form factors. And before that, we’re rolling out tools that help developers focus and optimize. We recently launched features that let you have multiple APKs and specific device targeting. We’re looking to make that transition easier and create really good-looking stuff on Android.