With the release of Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" Google finally gave a consistent look and feel to its mobile operating system. But now it's up to the army of coders jumping into app development to release well designed programs that are in harmony with the rest of the Android ecosystem. To that end, Google on Thursday unveiled Android Design, a guide detailing the principles and patterns for creating world-class Android user interfaces.

The guide offers suggestions on everything from how to implement different visual elements and when to display notifications, to how to utilize certain gestures so that applications behave in a predictable, consistent fashion.

The Android platform has long been criticized for having apps that are significantly clunkier and less visually appealing than their counterparts on Apple's iOS. Basically, the Android Design portal guide will help both first-time developers and Android veterans make apps that look and feel just as good as the stock system itself.

Google will apparently maintain its relaxed stance on the app submission process and won't reject apps from the Android Market just because they're ugly. But the company is trying to convince developers that good design will pay off.  Christian Robertson, who leads the Android visual design group, said in a recent blog post, "The Android User Experience Team is committed to helping you design amazing apps that people love, and this is just the beginning. In the coming months, we'll expand Android Design with more in-depth content."

Meanwhile, Matias Duarte, the man who oversaw the interface design of webOS and now acts as director of Android user experience at Google, called this the second part of Ice Cream Sandwich's launch and said he finally feels like ICS is complete. Of course, now they have to make sure as many devices as possible get the update to avoid fragmentation, and hope that developers align with Google's design vision.